Radioactive Roads: this plan must be stopped!

** with various updates provided since that time. Most recent = July 6/18.

U.S. and Canadian nuclear officials are cooperating on a plan to send somewhere between 100 & 150 truckloads of extremely dangerous liquid nuclear waste along 2000 kilometres of roadways in Canada & the U.S. over the next several years. These trucks will take highly radioactive liquid waste from the Chalk River facility northeast of Ottawa, Ontario to the Savannah River Site in South Carolina. (Unless the brakes are put on the scheme, at any rate.)

To see a map of the possible routes these trucks would take, and to get an excellent summary of the project as a whole, you can review this slide presentation &/or take a look at this Web page.

There is a lot more to this proposed project than meets the eye – or that officials are acknowledging.

& I must correct myself. This is not just a proposed project; for all we know, these shipments may already be underway. The officials in question have obtained the necessary permits & approvals to proceed – in spite of the fact that there is a considerable amount of opposition from concerned citizens, activists, & some politicians – on both sides of the border. (See lengthy media items list under 'Resources,' below.)

** Note on June 20/17: indeed, the shipments are underway.

Container emits radiation during liquid nuclear waste transfer

Background

This scheme has been in the planning stages since 2008. Nuclear officials claim it’s necessary to do it in order to meet “non-proliferation” targets – but my colleagues believe it is nothing more than a “make-work project for the people down at Savannah River site in South Carolina.”

You have to ask yourself these questions:

Why are officials playing fast & loose with the real nature of the witch’s brew, as the slide presentation indicates?

Why do they not acknowledge the material can be safely handled in its current location? Indonesia has recently "downblended" its HEU (highly-enriched uranium).  (Backgrounder on HRLM). That can be done here as well.

Why would politicians who have been well-briefed on the issue (on both sides of the border) have said they do not want this scheme to proceed without proper scrutiny? (i.e., an Environmental Impact Statement, in order to assess possible risks & viable alternatives.)

& about those casks? They were “approved” for use in the past … but not for liquid materials, for solid nuclear waste. (Even a fan of nuclear energy can see that liquid waste will not behave as solid waste would in the event of an accident or spill.)

Did you know that accidents do happen with fuel waste falling into pools at reactor sites? (Read a Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission memo about this from January 2016 CNSC Memo-Jan'16-incident Nov'15Minutes-CNSC January 28, 2016 – the 2nd item also deals with a spill in Saskatchewan in early 2016.)

Doesn’t everyone know that transportation of nuclear waste on public roads is an extremely risky business? So risky that mayors in the U.S. have resolved they want to minimize these risks by seeing nuclear wastes treated as near as possible to their source location. U.S. Mayors 2014 Resolution on Nuke Transport

Finally, once you know that recent events have shown that accidents really DO happen (not even rarely!) – incidents like a burning bridge; a recent tractor trailer accident that resulted in a spill of toxic cargo, necessitating emergency response & later decontamination of the 1st responders,   and, a few years back, a burning truck containing nuclear material – an accident that was not even reported to the Canadian nuclear authorities! - you know you have to sit back for a bit & wonder...

Leading to this final question: Can we really trust the nuclear “authorities” when they say shipments are “routine” & “safe?”

Politicians in Niagara Region (Ontario) Have Taken Action

The regional government in the Niagara Region west of Toronto passed a resolution in June 2015 stating:

“That Regional Council EXPRESS opposition, in principle to any shipment of radioactive liquid waste over public roads and bridge, or on any navigable waterways, or by air, recognizing that such waste can be, has been and should solidified so that it is far less accessible to the environment and living things, and,

That Regional Council URGE the governments of Canada and the United States to halt the shipment of high-level radioactive liquid waste from Chalk river Laboratories to the Savannah river, pending the outcome of full public consultations on the advisability and the potential adverse impacts of the proposed shipments, as well as the alternative procedures to achieve the stated objectives for such shipments.”

You can read more about it in the article Regional Government Joins Women’s Council In Calling For Halt To Plans To Ship High-Grade Nuclear Waste Through Niagara To Border Crossings.

On the U.S. side, there is citizen opposition in Michigan, New York State & North Carolina. New York State Congressman Brian Higgins has been speaking out against the liquid shipment scheme for some time now.

What to do? What to do?

If this project has been in the works for darn near 10 years already (it has), & the scene vis-à-vis “downblending” has changed (it has), & knowing that the transportation of nuclear waste carries tremendous risks (we know it does)

& if the plan is so safe that it really ought to be able to proceed…

Why not put on the brakes & initiate a public process that will involve public agencies (including those in charge of emergency response) … & the public … taking a very thorough look at this plan, the necessity of moving ahead with these 100-150 truckloads, and a careful examination of viable alternatives?

Transparency – & public scrutiny – are surely called for here … are they not??

 

What can be done?

Make noise!

“Transportation is the Achilles’ heel of nuclear security and everyone knows that,” said Bruce Blair, a retired Air Force missile officer, Princeton University researcher and founder of Global Zero, a nonprofit group that seeks elimination of nuclear weapons.

The danger is not a traffic accident — even a fiery crash is not supposed to explode a warhead — but a heist.

“In an age of terrorism, you’re taking a big risk any time you decide to move nuclear material into the public space over long distances via ground transport,” Blair said. “Bad things happen.”

From this recent article:

This troubled, covert agency is responsible for trucking nuclear bombs across America each day

 

PETITION

** A petition regarding this dangerous, unnecessary project is now before the federal government.

PETITION TO THE GOVERNMENT OF CANADA

We, the undersigned, Citizens of Canada draw the attention of the Government of Canada to the following, that

Whereas:

  • The nuclear regulators of Canada and the United States have approved the shipment of 23,000 litres of highly radioactive liquid – to be trucked over 2000 kilometres from Chalk River, Ontario to the Savannah River Site in South Carolina;
  • These shipments are to utilize casks never physically tested for liquid contents;
  • The nature of the liquid material has been mischaracterized by the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) as “Uranyl Nitrate Liquid,” whereas the liquid solution contains dozens of radioactive waste materials collectively more than a thousand times more radioactive than uranyl nitrate;
  • This project is projected to consist of between 100 and 150 truckloads over a period of several years;
  • There is considerable opposition to this project in both countries by both citizens and elected officials;
  • Calculations show that one litre of this liquid is sufficient, in principle, to ruin the drinking water supply for any city in North America;
  • There is no need for these shipments, given that the highly enriched uranium can be eliminated by “downblending” at the Chalk River site; and
  • The radioactive liquid can also be solidified at the Chalk River site as has been done for similar radioactive liquids at Chalk River over the past 14 years.

Therefore, your petitioners call upon the Government of Canada to suspend these shipments immediately, pending an independent environmental assessment that will consider alternatives such as down-blending and solidification of the liquid, as originally planned.

NOTE: To nobody's surprise, an utterly lame response arrived in due course (as they say) from Canada's Minister of Natural Resources. You can read it for yourself, here.

·

Resources

Fukushima Nuclear Disaster: 6 years in

March 11th marks six years since the beginning of this nuclear disaster (though really, catastrophe is the more accurate word to describe the situation). Nuclear disasters are notable for never going away. They never get “better.” They never end.

Fallout is forever.

Just ask the people for whom, for example, the Chernobyl disaster of April 1986 is still a daily reality. Do the math; this accident occurred 31 years ago now. (Exiled scientist: 'Chernobyl is not finished, it has only just begun')

And the people of Japan, now 6 years into their own nuclear nightmare.

For six years now, the radioactivity spewed by the triple meltdowns that took place on Japan’s coast – in an area of the world hit frequently by earthquakes (any of which might make the nuclear situation even worse) – has been poisoning the people of Japan – who are now being obliged to accept higher levels of radioactive exposure as “acceptable” – the creatures in the Pacific Ocean (tons & tons of radioactive water from the plant gush into the ocean daily, & radiation is now detectable in fish on the west coast of North America) and, is also spread around the globe via air currents, .

One doesn’t hear much in the mainstream media about the situation on the ground for the Japanese people. Those of us who do hear about it rely mostly on alternate rather than mainstream news sources.

(Why should this be so, you ask? Mainstream media outlets determine their editorial policy (i.e., what they consider “fit to print”) around the source of their revenues, i.e., advertising dollars. It has ever been the case that “He who pays the piper, calls the tune” … has it not?

And the nuclear industry has deep pockets, very very deep pockets - often using mainstream media to print their advertising inserts as though they were news (you have likely been fooled by this yourself. Always read the fine print!)

Then there is the collusion of the nuclear industry with the rest of the nuclear “establishment” – which means government & bureaucracies of all kinds, at all levels, and it is a global problem. (WHO & IAEA & all those big agencies? All involved in the collusion. This item describes why we hear nothing about negative health impacts from the use of nuclear energy. Yes, I know. It’s shocking.)

Some Recent News / Commentary About the Fukushima Situation

Beyond Nuclear

Six years after Fukushima began, “normalizing” radiation exposure risks the health of women and children; evacuees are given few options but to return to contamination

Counterpunch

Fukushima Catastrophe at 6: Normalizing Radiation Exposure Demeans Women and Kids and Risks Their Health

Fairewinds

It could have been worse

 The heartbreaking legacy of Fukushima Daiichi

** you’ll find plenty more Fukushima material on the Fairewinds site

Greenpeace

*** Fukushima - a warning to the world - must-see short YouTube (10 minutes)

Interviews with 2 Japanese women who describe the high levels of radiation people are being forced to live in / return to and, in the case of children, attend school in. Mention is also made of the reactors in the U.S. that are the same type as the Fukushima reactors & carry the same risks.

New Radiation Readings in Fukushima Reactor 2 Are ‘Unimaginable,’ Lethal in 1 Min.

Nuclear Hotseat

Nuclear Hotseat Fukushima Episode featuring ‘Voices from Japan’

** so good to hear the voices of the people most directly affected tell us what’s really going on…

NIRS - Nuclear Information & Resource Service - Telebriefing with Arnie Gundersen(1 hour recording from April 5th - covers all the major nuke accidents)

Simply Info - Fukushima 6th Anniversary Report

6 years after nuclear disaster, residents trickle back to deserted towns (Japan Today)

What Can You Do?

You can work in your own local community to help get your local nuclear plant(s) shut down. Nuclear accidents can happen anywhere, and if one were to happen here in Ontario, there is no reason to suppose it would play out any differently than the way it has in Chernobyl & Fukushima.

In other words, it would be ugly … very, very ugly indeed ... in a whole variety of ways.

Sign the Close Pickering petition & offer to help deliver fliers to your neighbours, friends, family & colleagues.

If you'd like to help the children of Japan, here is a group that raises funds to send affected children away for vacation time to Hawaii, in order to give their immune systems (& themselves!) a break from the radiation they are now routinely bathed in at home.

Fukushima Kids Hawaii

Greenpeace has a petition you can sign.

p.s. need a reminder about the causes of the Fukushima Catastrophe?

Nuclear ‘Elephants in the Room’

** Note: this was first posted in February. It's being highlighted once again in time for the OPG emergency "exercise" taking place this week, December 6th & 7th. Not much has changed! There are still plenty of elephants in the room. See article here about the meeting coming up tonight.

Pickering’s nuclear generating station is the 5th largest in North America and 4th oldest in North America (it’s been operating since 1971) … & is located within 30 kilometres of 2.2 million people. All of Toronto is within 50 kilometres of the Pickering station. (& don’t forget, Darlington is just down the highway too!) The plant is licensed by the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) until August 2018.

Ontario Power Generation (OPG) wants to push the licence out another 10 years.

But there are elephants in the room that hardly anyone seems to be talking about.

 

The Elephants (in alphabetical order)

Canada’s Nuclear Regulator = unreliable

 In 2016, both a whistleblower letter from CNSC staff & a federal audit revealed sloppy practices inside Canada’s federal nuclear regulator.

This Globe and Mail article from last October sets the stage about the heat the regulator is facing – with as yet no apparent signs the federal government is listening.

According to a CBC news item “[Commissioner of the Environment & Sustainable Development] Gelfand said 75 per cent of site safety inspections were carried out without an approved guide, and compared that scenario to a pilot taking off on a flight without going through a safety checklist.

“’I think it’s pretty serious,” she said Tuesday at a news conference across from Parliament Hill.’” (refer to the article link above)

As it happens, CNSC receives 70% of its funding from the nuclear industry in “cost recovery” fees. This means CNSC would actually appear to have a vested interest in keeping the Pickering plant operating.

& puts into question how likely it is CNSC can/will provide a truly independent & unbiased review when OPG sends the agency its license request for a renewal.

Very few of us will “bite the hand that feeds us” … will we??

 

Inadequate Emergency Planning

A DNA posting here remains relevant. (All that’s changed is some KI pills have been distributed to people within the so-called ‘Primary Zone’ (i.e., 10 kilometres) of the plant.)

A Toronto Star article from January 2016 asks whether Toronto is ready for a radiation emergency – & is also as relevant now as when it was published a year ago.

As a matter of fact, this Toronto Star item from 2011 – Is Ontario ready for a nuclear disaster? (published one week into the then-new Fukushima nuclear disaster) – still also remains timely!

*** We are still waiting! The Fukushima disaster began 6 years ago now … & still there are no revised emergency plans in Ontario.

 

Nuclear Waste On-Site

14,000+ tonnes of it! (NWMO 2017 report on waste)

According to figures published by the NWMO (Nuclear Waste Management Organization) –  a nuclear industry body – as of June 30, 2017 there were 399,703 used fuel bundles in “wet” storage and 337,114 in “dry” (see page 3 in the linked report). For a total of 736,817.  The longer the plant is operating, the bigger the numbers become.

 

Safety issues

 

Tritium is released routinely into air & water

 

((((Oh & btw, your home is not insured against a nuclear accident.

A Scarborough resident speaks about this here.)))

 

** These are just a few of the “elephants in the room.” There are more!

 

And if the plant is closed?

The Ontario Clean Air Alliance has studied alternatives & claims that closing the plant, & replacing the energy generated there with hydro power from Quebec can lower our electricity bills by $1 billion.

 

Learn more about the Ontario nuclear scene:

 

 

Nukes & Climate Change

Do you think nuclear power can ever be considered "green"? Some kind of "solution" in the fight against climate change?

Here are some thoughts on this topic:

"Jim Hansen is a very knowledgeable person on a lot of subjects. He is not knowledgeable on nuclear power. And it is unfortunate because he's a person of tremendous stature, but he is very poorly informed on this subject. And he does not appear to be interested in becoming better informed. I think that's unfortunate." – Gregory B. Jaczko Chair, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (2009 - 2012) Source
 

p.s. you might also want to check out these 15 Nuclear Mythbusters

p.p.s. +++ some great quotes on this topic in the Nukes Quotes Collection posting

Close Pickering Campaign in High Gear! Greenpeace weighs in...

** More information added to this post on Dec. 7/16. See below!

The campaign by the Ontario Clean Air Alliance to ensure that the Pickering Nuclear Generating Station (PNGS) is shut down at the end of its current license period (2018) is in high gear. Ontario Power Generation (OPG) has made it clear they want to run the plant for yet another 10 years, & will be asking for a license out to 2028.

Pushing a very old nuclear plant (situated in the midst of a huge population base, on the shores of Lake Ontario, drinking water source for millions) with a variety of safety & environmental concerns, & a very checkered history indeed, long-long-long past its "best before" date.

Let's not forget to mention emergency "plans" that would be about as much use as a sheet of wet tissue paper in the event the proverbial you-know-what hits the fan.

You'll find a recent update from OCAA here.  It's got plenty of useful information in it!

** be sure to check out their info on tritium. Also added in to this site's Tritium section.

Be sure to take a look at these short YouTubes they've created, too:

 

*** Greenpeace weighs in with 3 reasons to close Pickering

 

“A major factor that contributed to the accident was the widespread assumption in Japan that its nuclear power plants were so safe that an accident of this magnitude was simply unthinkable. This assumption was accepted by nuclear power plant operators and was not challenged by regulators or by the Government. As a result, Japan was not sufficiently prepared for a severe nuclear accident in March 2011.” [August 2015 Report of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Foreword by the Director General]

“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.” -Toshimitsu Homma of the Japan Atomic Energy Agency in April 2013 at an international conference on Emergency Management held in Ottawa

“The Commission has verified that there was a lag in upgrading nuclear emergency preparedness and complex disaster countermeasures, and attributes this to regulators’ negative attitudes toward revising and improving existing emergency plans.” – from The official report of The Fukushima Nuclear Accident Independent Investigation Commission http://www.nirs.org/fukushima/naiic_report.pdf  (pg. 19)

“A “manmade” disaster: The TEPCO Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant accident was the result of collusion between the government, the regulators and TEPCO, and the lack of governance by said parties. They effectively betrayed the nation’s right to be safe from nuclear accidents. Therefore, we conclude that the accident was clearly “manmade.” We believe that the root causes were the organizational and regulatory systems that supported faulty rationales for decisions and actions, rather than issues relating to the competency of any specific individual. (see Recommendation 1)” — from The official report of the Fukushima Nuclear Accident Independent Investigation Commission (pg. 16)

“…What part of Fukushima don’t you understand? If you don’t make the modifications [re: safety & emergency planning] you run the risk of destroying the fabric of a country. It happened at Chernobyl, and it’s happening right now in Japan…” – Arnie Gundersen in an interview about the 3rd anniversary of the Fukushima accident, in March 2014.    http://tinyurl.com/ntuvzmd

“Complacency and hubris are the worst enemies to nuclear safety.” - Najmedin Meshkati, an engineering professor at USC who worked on the National Academy of Sciences July 2014 report http://goo.gl/xw6BHE

“What Dr. Gerstein shows is that reasonable people, who are not malicious, and whose intent is not to kill or injure other people, will nonetheless risk killing vast numbers of people. And they will do it predictably, with awareness …  They knew the risks from the beginning, at every stage … the leaders chose, in the face of serious warnings, to consciously take chances that risked disaster … Men in power are willing to risk any number of human lives to avoid an otherwise certain loss to themselves, a sure reversal of their own prospects in the short run.” – Daniel Ellsberg, quoted in the Marc Gerstein book Flirting with Disaster – Why Accidents Are Rarely Accidental (also quoted by Arnie Gundersen in the Greenpeace report Lessons from Fukushima) More great quotes

Nuclear “regulatory capture” – a global pattern

 

Nukes. 'Perfect Storm' A-Brewing?

** note on November 23/16. An item has been added in below, to the section on the CNSC Whistleblower letter. Lately, the news about glaring lapses in nuclear “safety” (an oxymoron if ever there was one!) seems to be coming thick & fast.

Failure of “regulators” to actually regulate.

  • Leaks. Spills
  • & whistleblowers!
  • A rising chorus of whistleblowers

Some who are being listened to (one hopes!); some who are not.

This will be by absolutely no means a thorough list.

But one with enough information to surely make even the most die-hard nuclear supporter give pause.

NRC Petition

In March (2016), 7 electrical engineers employed by the U.S. nuclear “regulator,” the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) put in a petition alleging dangerous safety issues at U.S. reactors, & calling on the NRC to either fix the situations, or shut the plants down.

* Read more about this here

Canadian Groups Call on Prime Minister Trudeau

Also in March (2016), more than 10 groups called on the Canadian federal government to do a review of the Nuclear Safety & Control Act, alleging that “Modernization of the NSCA is urgently needed in light of the lack of institutional independence on the part of Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) and lessons learned from the Fukushima disaster.”

* Full letter here

CNSC Whistleblower Letter

CNSC “specialists” submitted an anonymous letter to the President of the CNSC (Michael Binder – appointed in 2008 – after its previous head, Linda Keen, was fired) alleging “Our primary concern is that CNSC commissioners do not receive sufficient information to make balanced judgments.” And, “because insufficient information is made available, other branches of government cannot make informed decisions. For example, the government of Ontario cannot make a good decision about financing the refurbishment of Darlington without knowing all the facts.” Going on to cite several specific cases where tribunal members rendered decisions based on incomplete information; for example, allowing Ontario Power Generation (OPG) & CNSC staff to use out-of-date seismic risk data in a Darlington hearing.

cnsc-anon-letter-to-binder

textbook-example [Quick read! Textbook case of what the whistleblowers were complaining of.]

Federal Commissioner of the Environment & Sustainable Development: Audit Results

QUOTE: “The audit found that the CNSC conducted site inspections, identified instances of non-compliance, and followed up with plant operators. However, the Commission could not show that it has a well-documented planning process for site inspections at nuclear power plants. It did not carry out a quarter of the inspections it had planned over a two-year period, and three quarters of the inspections it did conduct went ahead without an approved inspection guide, though the Commission’s own procedures requires one. In other words, the Commission could not demonstrate that it is conducting the right number and type of inspections to provide the coverage required to confirm that compliance is sufficient.”

Audit report here

Media Items about the audit commissioner-audit-media-oct-416

 

Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources: feeling the heat!

Critics accuse nuclear safety official of acting as industry cheerleader

 

& let’s not forget:

 

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, as they say…

Risk of another Chernobyl or Fukushima type accident plausible, experts say

 

Let’s face it. Claims about nuclear “safety” have always been fraudulent.

(Very partial list of nuke accidents.)

 

One can only hope now

that there are some people in “authority”

who have common sense

integrity

& some, well, let’s just call it chutzpah, shall we?

 

Who are paying attention

 

And take appropriate action.

Soon.

 

** Quotes on the causes of the Fukushima accident

** Japan’s atomic disaster caused by “collusion”: panel report

** Nuclear “regulatory capture” – a global pattern

** Is Ontario ready for a nuclear disaster? (2011 article; still utterly relevant)

** Is Toronto ready for a radiation emergency?   (Jan. 5/16 Toronto Star article. Still as relevant as when it was written)

Provincial Growth Plan & Nuclear Plans on Collision Course

* N.B. Press release below. Oshawa Express article Nuclear safety, intensification don’t mesh. September 27, 2016 (Toronto)

Environmental groups asked the Minister of Municipal Affairs Bill Mauro today to respect international safety guidelines and protect public safety by restricting population growth around the ten aging nuclear reactors operating in the rapidly growing Greater Toronto Area (GTA).

“The government’s growth plans put public safety at risk. Encouraging population growth around nuclear reactors makes it difficult to evacuate people in the event of a Fukushima-level nuclear accident,” said Jacqueline Wilson, counsel with the Canadian Environmental Law Association (CELA).

CELA, Durham Nuclear Awareness (DNA) and Greenpeace say the government has ignored international safety standards, the Fukushima disaster, and repeated advice from experts over the past thirty years, which all say high populations densities will undermine the province’s ability to safely evacuate the public in the event of a nuclear accident.

Ontario encourages residential growth in downtown Pickering and Oshawa, which are both less than 10 kilometres from the aging Pickering and Darlington nuclear stations. The Fukushima accident caused a 20 km zone around the station to be evacuated.

The groups are concerned by the disconnect between the government’s growth policies and its recent decision to extend the lives of Pickering and Darlington reactors. Next month, Ontario Power Generation begins a decades-long $12 billion project to repair the Darlington reactors to keep them operating until mid-century.

“Ontario’s growth plans are on a collision course with its plans to keep the Pickering and Darlington nuclear stations operating. Operating reactors in the GTA was a bad idea in the first place, but to then encourage growth near these reactors is sheer folly,” said Shawn-Patrick Stensil, a senior energy analyst with Greenpeace.

The groups formally asked the Ministry to review its current growth and land use policies, including the Places to Grow Act, under Ontario’s Environmental Bill of Rights. The province has three months to respond.

An article published by a group of European risk specialists in the journal Risk Analysis this month estimated another Fukushima-scale accident somewhere in the world within the next century.

Despite its responsibility for public safety, Ontario has yet to modernize its offsite nuclear emergency plans five years after Fukushima.

- 30 –

Information:

  • Shawn-Patrick Stensil, Senior Energy Analyst, Greenpeace, 416-884-7053, shawn.patrick.stensil@greenpeace.org
  • Jacqueline Wilson, counsel, CELA, 416-960-2284, ex 7213, jacqueline@cela.ca

Close Pickering!

The Pickering nuclear generating station was built during the late 1960s. It’s old.

Like any machine, any human-built installation, it’s deteriorating. It is not exactly in its finest hour, shall we just understatedly say.

The nuclear industry wants to keep it running.

Why?

Because they rake in very considerable profits from it on a daily basis.

Nuclear industry salaries are high. High-high-high. Through the roof, actually. Taxpayer-funded, here in Ontario, no less!

Why close it?

  • Too risky
  • Too costly
  • Too close to huge urban populations
  • Unnecessary
  • Jobs

Okay. So I’m stealing the bullet points in the Ontario Clean Air Alliance’s Close Pickering campaign brochure.

A huge (& growing) number of voices with plenty of knowledge & technical expertise behind them are calling for this aging plant to be shut down.

DNA couldn’t be more on board.

Check out some of the resources listed/linked in here, & decide for yourself!

Let’s stop risking the health & safety of the people of Ontario (not to mention the folks on the U.S. side of the border, downwinders in the event of an accident).

Resources

Recent Articles

YouTubes

Podcast

40 years of being a good neighbor? (nuke engineer/expert Arnie Gundersen)

https://vimeo.com/71502130

 

Web Resources

 

p.s. gosh, I plum forgot to mention a teeny-tiny additional issue, applicable to ALL nuclear installations, everywhere.

The waste.

The tons & tons of dangerous, extremely toxic & unimaginably long-lived wastes. That will be around for longer than we mere humans can even (begin to) imagine. Yup.

& for which no solution has yet been found.

Maybe it’s time to stop making more of it. You think? (Plenty of useful info on waste here)

p.p.s. Oops. One more tiny "little" thing. Utterly inadequate nuclear emergency planning. This Web site has plenty of information on that topic. With links to plenty more.

No new nuclear emergency plans in Ontario post-Fukushima disaster. Revised plan now 3 years overdue … & nowhere in sight. Gee. What could possibly go wrong??

p.p.p.s. don't forget to SIGN THE PETITION!

Chernobyl. 30 years. The ongoing disaster: tons of links!

Many of us have vivid memories from the time when the Chernobyl nuclear disaster occurred. April 26, 1986 (though of course notification about its occurrence was delayed – to its own people, & to the world).

30 years ago, now.

There remains a 30-kilometre “exclusion zone” around the site, though there are people who have chosen to return & continue living within that area & also, as I learned to my surprise recently, many people who now live outside the zone (many who were evacuated from the Pripyat area, to a new town), but who commute to the plant for their work.

Nuclear accidents. They just never really go away, do they??

Fallout is forever, both literally in terms of what goes into the air, water & soils – and also in terms of long-term health consequences.

Many children born today in the areas of highest fallout (Ukraine, Belarus & Russia) suffer significant health problems ... way above & beyond thyroid cancer (the only health impact ever acknowledged by the nuclear industry).

Genetic damage comes down through the generations – as the people most affected by the Chernobyl & Fukushima nuclear disasters are learning firsthand.

What many Canadians don’t seem to realize is, this could happen here. This could be us.

A catastrophic nuclear accident could happen at one of Ontario’s nuclear plants, poisoning air, water (Lake Ontario, for example; then, what would we drink??) & the soils in which we grow our food.

I only wish it weren’t so.

Well.

EVENTS

There will be at least 5 events in the days ahead, in the Toronto area, being held to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster that began on April 26, 1986.

April 22nd Echoes of Chornobyl event  - Facebook page

Poster of 3 documentary showings: April 24th, 25th, 27th (please visit Facebook page here & scroll down; having IT issues attempting to attach the poster; apologies!?)

Half-Life in Fukushima - documentary showings May 2, 4 & 8 (Toronto)

Upcoming event in Washington, D.C. Lessons from Fukushima and Chernobyl: The Risks of "Normalizing" Radiation: A Special Event

Links to Recent News Items

15 things you don’t know about Chernobyl [Greenpeace]

30 Ways Chernobyl and Dying Nuke Industry Threaten Our Survival [Wasserman]

Blind Mice and bird brains: the silent spring of Chernobyl and Fukushima [The Ecologist. Timothy Mousseau's work]

Chernobyl, and Cesium, at 30

Chernobyl's children of hope [Greenpeace]

Chernobyl Disaster 30 years on: what do you remember? [the Guardian]

Chernobyl Disaster - 30 years later. Photos

Chernobyl - timeline of a nuclear nightmare

Chernobyl, 30 years on [from Truthout. Good info on medical/health stuff, IAEA / WHO duplicity]

Chernobyl is not safe for humans but animal populations are booming [Globe & Mail]

Chernobyl and Fukushima: Illuminating the invisible  [Greenpeace]

Children of the fall out: Belarus youngsters feel effects of Chernobyl nuclear disaster 30 years on [Daily Record]

Demystifying Nuclear Power: Chernobyl's Forgotten People/Casualties of Atomic Breakdown [from Fairewinds]

Exiled Scientist: 'Chernobyl has not finished, it has only just begun'

Mikhail Gorbachev 30 years after Chernobyl - time to phase out nuclear power

Radiation harm deniers? Pro-nuclear environmentalists and the Chernobyl death toll [The Ecologist]

Radioactive Chernobyl Forest Fires: a ticking time bomb [Greenpeace]

Ruined Chernobyl nuclear plant will remain a threat for 3,000 years

The next Chernobyl may be intentional

The Shadow of Chernobyl Looms Large 30 Years Later [Huff. Post, Greenpeace]

TORCH 2016 -Chernobyl Health Report

http://www.ianfairlie.org/news/30-years-after-chernobyl/

Ukraine Children Eat Food Tainted by Chornobyl Radiation  [Toronto Star; great quote from pediatrician Dr. Yuri Bandazhevsky]

‘We have a chance to show the truth’: into the heart of Chernobyl [The Guardian]

We’ve had enough of eating and breathing Chernobyl [Greenpeace]

Audio / Films / Video Recommended

Book VERY Highly Recommended!

Voices from Chernobyl – The Oral History of a Nuclear Disaster, by Nobel Prize for Literature winner Svetlana Alexievich

On the DNA site

 

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Quotes that spring to mind

“Chernobyl is a word we would all like to erase from our memory. But more than seven million of our fellow human beings do not have the luxury of forgetting. They are still suffering, every day, as a result of what happened…The exact number of victims can never be known.” – former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan

“Uranium is the mineral of the apocalypse.” – Donald Weber

"What Dr. Gerstein shows is that reasonable people, who are not malicious, and whose intent is not to kill or injure other people, will nonetheless risk killing vast numbers of people. And they will do it predictably, with awareness … They knew the risks from the beginning, at every stage … the leaders chose, in the face of serious warnings, to consciously take chances that risked disaster … Men in power are willing to risk any number of human lives to avoid an otherwise certain loss to themselves, a sure reversal of their own prospects in the short run.” – Daniel Ellsberg, quoted in the Marc Gerstein book Flirting with Disaster – Why Accidents Are Rarely Accidental  (also quoted by Arnie Gundersen in the Greenpeace report Lessons from Fukushima)

“Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the face.” – Boxer Mike Tyson

** many more here

Three Mile Island. 37 Years. What have we learned??

On March 28, 1979 there was a meltdown at the Three Mile Island (TMI) nuclear plant in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, U.S.A. - though this meltdown was not actually understood and acknowledged by the industry until a few years later. The denial was very big & very stubborn. Risks to the local population were completely downplayed, denied & minimized.

Like so many people, I was pretty much asleep at the time of the TMI accident. I don’t mean literally asleep; I mean I was too busy with my own little life to really pay attention to what was going on in the big world around me (a perhaps somewhat typical citizen absorbed in my own work & personal life, at that time).

But “the authorities” lied to the public so completely about what was really happening in Pennsylvania that day that even if I’d been less self-absorbed, the accident would likely have barely registered on my (or most people’s) personal radar screen.

One thing the accident did contribute to was a chill on new nuclear plant construction (although in the documentary mentioned below, Arnie Gundersen explains that it was actually economics that did in new nukes. That is to say, they are just too damn costly).

Rather than building new reactors in North America, what we do now, mostly, is keep pushing geriatric ones well beyond what they were designed for. Like the ones at Pickering, hmmm? (Many relevant Pickering postings listed on this page). Darlington too, of course. Billions to “refurbish” (i.e., rebuild) them. Refurbishment: what you need to know.

Well. I could go on.

Let’s just say, here are some links I can recommend you check out on this 37th “anniversary” of the TMI meltdown.

Must-see?

The 2012 documentary The Atomic States of America

Really. You must watch!

It will inform, educate & surprise you … possibly even break your heart (learning about young children who contracted serious, deadly cancers on Long Island, due to tritium leaks/plumes that ended up in their families’ wells).

Interview clips with

  • Arnie Gundersen (Fairewinds)
  • Helen Caldicott (M.D. & decades’ long opponent of nuclear power)
  • David Lochbaum (Union of Concerned Scientists)
  • Alec Baldwin (well-known actor who lives on Long Island)
  • Writer Kelly McMasters (on whose book Welcome to Shirley – a memoir from an atomic town, the documentary is loosely based)
  • Eric Epstein, a stubborn, feisty & articulate activist who lives near TMI & has been educating the public for 31 years (his group: Three Mile Island Alert) --- see Nuclear Hotseat link above!!
  • Randy Snell (Shirley resident, father of a daughter who got cancer very young & miraculously survived; he did a ton of work on Long Island to connect the dots & educate others) ... & please note, it was not just children who got cancer at astronomical rates.
  • & others in another community deeply affected by tritium leaks from a nuke plant
  • Politicians who still say we need nukes.        Info about the waste issues involved.

++ much, much more.

Just watch!!!!

 ** At the end of the film, it’s mentioned that

  • It cost $1. billion to defuel Unit 2 at TMI in 1990
  • It’s estimated it will cost $836.9 million to decommission & decontaminate it
  • The reactor operated for 90 days.

Other Relevant Postings on this Blog

Well, most of them, really!

But maybe these ones in particular:

 

p.s. the 4 common elements to the 3 big nuke accidents? From the Fairewinds item mentioned above?

Four Lessons from 5 Meltdowns (18 minute video from April 2015 at the Uranium Symposium)

Key overarching one? Expect the unexpected

The 4: 1. Safety systems will fail 2. Emergency planning will fail 3. People will die 4. Risk is grossly underestimated

p.p.s. what have we learned?? Nothing, really. We just keep doing the same damn stupid stuff, over & over, year after year, decade after decade. We think we're so darn smart, eh? But we are not. We are really, really not.

It's shocking, really.