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

 

TAKE ACTION!

PETITION

No Nukes News

 

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