Last week (April 13-16), a Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) hearing took place in Kincardine, Ontario, at which Bruce Power was trying to make its case for a new 5-year license. & how is this relevant for Durham Region, you ask? CNSC will later this year conduct a hearing on the request of the Darlington Nuclear Generating Station (DNGS) to obtain a 13-year license. Some patterns seem likely to recur.
I was unable to take in the whole hearing (one is able to watch CNSC hearings live via Webcast), but did take a good look at the agenda, at who-all was taking part, & watched some key presentations.
A few things stood out for me, bearing in mind that I’m a veteran of CNSC hearings by now, having watched &/or taken part in a significant number of them over the past 9 years.
One thing that quickly became clear is that Bruce Power is quite liberal in providing financial resources/assistance to a rather large number of organizations in the area. One wonders how objective all these organizations are in giving assessments of the “hand” that is “feeding” them, as it were, when it comes time to present at the hearing.
A second notable circumstance: there was a long parade of corporations in attendance, corporations that stand to take in considerable revenues from the continued operations of the largest nuclear plant in the world (so it is said; who knew?), making their cases for the CNSC to license Bruce Nuclear to go on operating.
These quotations ran through my mind during the hearing:
- “It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon his not understanding it.” (Upton Sinclair)
- “It is hard to imagine a more stupid or more dangerous way of making decisions than by putting those decisions in the hands of people who pay no price for being wrong.” (Thomas Sowell)
- “It’s not really fair to ask for an objective opinion from anyone who has a vested interest in what they’re selling.” (Alan Cassels, pharmaceutical policy researcher, in an article in August 2014 Common Ground magazine)
Reflecting on the most important lesson of Fukushima being that, before the accident, “There was an implicit assumption that such a severe accident could not happen and thus insufficient attention was paid to such an accident by authorities.” (So said Toshimitsu Homma of the Japan Atomic Energy Agency, at an international conference on Emergency Management held in Ottawa in April 2013.)
+ a significant one on the value of big biennial emergency exercises, here.
Alright. Moving along.
While watching parts of the hearing, a few key information links came to mind:
- American Thyroid Association 2014 brochure on thyroid & KI distribution issues
- Collusion between nuclear regulators & industry = global issue
- Fukushima Report to Japanese Parliament (2012)
- 7-minute YouTube about health concerns around nuclear reactors (that & more)
- IPPNW (International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War) report in response to the UNSCEAR (United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation) report on Fukushima
(You can listen to an interview on this topic here.)
- Q & A on Bruce NGS
- Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment (CAPE) presentation
- Canadian Environmental Law Association (CELA) presentation
- Greenpeace presentation Q & A
- Greenpeace blog posting ‘Five Things I Learned at My First Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission hearing’
- Jutta Splettstoesser's presentation re: emergency planning
- Archive of CNSC hearing here & here
I cannot resist concluding with one final quotation:
“There has not existed the slightest shred of meaningful evidence that the entire intervention process in nuclear energy is anything more than the most callous of charades and frauds.” – Dr. John Gofman, M.D., Ph.D. in “Irrevy” – An Irreverent, Illustrated View of Nuclear Power <pg 125>