Small Modular Reactors. SMRs.

The nuclear industry always has another scheme up its sleeve! They never solve the gargantuan problem of safely storing the insanely long-lived, extraordinarily toxic wastes their dirty industry has been busily creating for the past 70+ years.

“30 years after passage of the Nuclear Waste Policy Act, 37 years after the repository search began, 55 years into commercial nuclear power, and 70 years after Fermi first split the atom during the Manhattan Project, the U.S. still has no safe, sound, permanent storage plan for high-level nuclear wastes.” – Kevin Kamps from Beyond Nuclear (in 2012, I think)

** lots of dynamite quotes about nuke waste here

The latest scheme is Small Modular Reactors. SMRs. The claim is that these will help deal with climate issues.

As if!

What’s closer to the truth is, the industry wants to ensure that those lovely, fat paycheques (supplied by generous government, that is to say, taxpayer-funded subsidies) keep rolling in.

Keep those nuclear engineers employed! (& deflect attention away from other serious nuclear issues. Such as waste. Leaks. Corruption. War. Weapons. Etc.)

This posting is mostly a collection of some links you can pursue to get a more critical take on SMRs than anything you’ll hear from nuclear industry boosters (which includes Canada’s federal government, unfortunately. You can check out the recently-released SMR “Road Map” here. Note: it takes a while to download.)

Smokescreen Animation (2016): “The Fairewinds Crew created this special 2-minute animation to show you why building new nukes is a lost opportunity for humankind with precious time and money wasted on the wrong choice. At least $8.2 Trillion would be needed to build the 1,000 atomic reactors the nuclear industry wants – that’s 1 reactor every 12-days for 35-years. Watch the animation to see what it means and why!” (Note: Various additional resources can be found at this Smokescreen link.)

For the links below, note that they are listed chronologically, by date, with the topmost the most recent.

Small Modular Reactors not commercially viable, but nuclear companies want the government handouts (Nov. 8/18)

Are Thousands of New Nuclear Generators in Canada’s Future? (Nov. 7/18)

Bruce Power Joins Northern Ontario Research Group (April 2018)

Interest in Small Modular Nuclear Reactors Is Growing. So Are Fears They Aren’t Viable (March 2018)

Small Modular Reactors for Nuclear Power: Hope or Mirage? (February 21, 2018)

UK accounting firm found that Small Modular Nuclear Reactors would not be cost-effective (Nov. 8/17)

Small Modular Reactors: The Nuclear Industry's Latest Pipe Dream (04. 11. 2017. Now, does that mean April 11, 2017, or November 4, 2017? I believe it is the latter.)

Nuclear Energy Startup Transatomic Backtracks on Key Promises (Feb. 2017): “The company, backed by Peter Thiel’s Founders Fund, revised inflated assertions about its advanced reactor design after growing concerns prompted an MIT review.”

Sierra Club (U.S.) Fact Sheet on Small Modular Reactors (or ‘Squandering Money and Resources’). (2017)

Why New Nuclear Technology Hurts the Case for Renewables (2014)

Nuclear Roulette - The Case Against a "Nuclear Renaissance" (June 2011)

Greenpeace Note on SMRs (Undated)

** Many useful (& relevant) quotations, in a variety of different categories, can be found here

** A January 2017 DNA posting about Nukes & Climate here is entirely relevant.

** ++ a series of posters about SMRs here

Pickering Hearing: More

***** UPDATE: To no one’s surprise, the CNSC has granted the 10-year license OPG was requesting for the Pickering Nuclear Waste Generating Station. Since CNSC (a license-granting body) never turns down license requests, this was exactly what veterans of the process had anticipated. Find the CNSC news release with their decision here. And here, an Oshawa Express news item in which “Nuclear critics pan licence renewal for Pickering.” (Written transcript of the hearing can be found here. Webcast here.)

Next week (June 25-29) Canada’s nuclear “regulator” will hold a public hearing in Pickering, Ontario to hear all the pros and cons about OPG (Ontario Power Generation)’s plans to run this aging dinosaur of a nuclear generating station another 6 years.

Well, they are saying 6 years at this point. Who knows what they'll say when 2021 or 2022 comes along?? In all likelihood they’ll want to extend the license yet again.

That would not be the first time they've gone down that road.

At any rate, next week = Pickering hearing time.


Details, Details

Details from the “regulator” can be found here. Including the revised agenda.

You can click on the ‘Download hearing submissions’ button, & I recommend you do!

You’ll find many incredibly intelligent, enlightening submissions there. More on that in just a moment.


Why do I say this license is “already in the bag”?

2 reasons:

1.     CNSC (Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission) never turns down a license request. It’s documented. By the CNSC! Here.

2.     I read the CNSC staff CMD Executive Summary. (CMD stands for Commission Member Document.) It states:

“In 2010, OPG announced that Pickering NGS would continue operation until 2020, at which time the station would shut down. In January 2016, OPG was requested by the Province of Ontario to plan for safe and reliable continued operation beyond 2020. In response, on June 28, 2017, OPG informed the CNSC that all Pickering units would cease commercial operation on December 31, 2024. Following the permanent shutdown of the units, the station will be transitioned to a safe storage state.”

You don’t need to be a rocket scientist to see that OPG is calling the shots here … not the CNSC. (CNSC receives 70% of its funding from its nuclear licensees. In general, one does not bite the hand that feeds one, right??)


You can find that CNSC staff CMD here.

Read it for yourself! That gem of a paragraph (which certainly reveals a lot right off the top) is on page 9 of the pdf (pg. 1 of the Executive Summary).


Submissions Worth a Read!

I promised I’d return to this…

There are many “intervenors” (this just means human beings who decide to speak up at one of these intimidating shindigs) who have plenty of intelligent things to say.

On a variety of fronts.

On technical/safety issues, check out:

  • Canadian Coalition for Nuclear Responsibility

  • Michel Duguay

  • Frank Greening

  • Greenpeace

  • Sunil Nijhwan

  • Anna Tilman

  • & likely others.

On health

  • CAPE (Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment)

  • Ian Fairlie (radiation biologist)

Impacts to Lake Ontario

  • Swim, Drink, Fish (Lake Ontario Waterkeeper)

Possibly others.

Inadequate emergency planning

  • CELA (Canadian Environmental Law Association)

  • DNA (Durham Nuclear Awareness) ** DNA has been calling on the provincial gov’t to do better nuclear emergency planning ever since the late 1980s. See this letter the group sent to the Province in 1997. DNA's submission can be found here & our supplementary here.

  • RNAO (Registered Nurses Association of Ontario)

  • Toronto District School Board & likely many others

  • Note: a short collection of media stories from 2011 - present day, about inadequate nuke emergency plans, is found down below.

 IT issues

  • Louis Bertrand ++ one intervenor whose submission has unfortunately been excluded.


  • Northwatch

  • Ontario Clean Air Alliance &

  • possibly others

There is simply tons of good information in these submissions!

Of course too, there are many submissions (& there will be many presentations next week) from folks/bureaucrats/bureaucracies/companies that profit in some way financially from the operation of the Pickering nuclear station. It’s pretty easy to spot these for yourself.

It doesn’t take the discerning citizen very much energy or time to figure out who is speaking the truth, & who is parroting phrases & lines that may very well have been fed to them.

“It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon his not understanding it.” – Upton Sinclair


But there will be lots of intelligent truth-telling over the five days. While little of it is liable to have any (or much) impact on the outcome (as previously explained); still, there is power & inspiration in speaking the truth & in hearing truth spoken powerfully and well. So, if you can get there to support the brave intervenors, please do!

(You can also watch the hearing via live Webcast.

From CNSC: "The public hearing will be webcast live and available on the CNSC website at")


Rally to Close Pickering

This will take place on Tuesday, June 26th, during the lunch break (12:30-1:30 approximately).

Check out the Facebook event page for details.

Who knows who-all may wind up attending?

The timing (middle of a weekday & a work day for many) is not exactly ideal.

But there may be some unexpected participants who will liven things up. We shall see!


Whatever happens,

Whoever shows up,

No matter that we mere citizens seem to hold no sway whatsoever over “the powers that be” & the forces that really run things in our culture/province/world/on Planet Earth …

The rally will be fun.

And there will be music!


** Media Stories about Inadequate Nuclear Emergency Planning

** just for the record. Most recent first


**** Be sure to check out this great new collection of nuke quotes!!










Chernobyl Nuclear Disaster: 32 Years Young

32 years ago tomorrow – April 26, 1986 – the Chernobyl nuclear disaster began. Since nuclear accidents never actually end, we’ll never be able to record its end date (or that of any of the other myriad nuclear disasters, most of which you’ve almost certainly never even heard of).

They just go on & on & on – radioactivity doing its forever thing. In the air. The water. In the ground, and the critters that walk, fly & swim. In the plants, & in our food,

And in our bodies. Down through the generations. (Watch this documentary Chernobyl Heart  about long-term heart issues among the young, post-Chernobyl accident.)

I can still remember being out at the clothesline, as a young(ish) mother, 32 years ago, wondering “Gosh. Will my sheets be contaminated by fallout from this nuclear accident happening halfway across the world?”

Then catching myself, & telling myself I was being a ninny to have such thoughts.

A brilliant article in Counterpunch a year ago quoted the U.S. EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) from a May 1986 Duluth Herald article:

“Airborne radioactivity from the Chernobyl nuclear accident is now so widespread that it is likely to fall to the ground wherever it rains in the United States, the EPA said.”

As the 2017 Counterpunch writer goes on to comment,

“This warning should never stop being flabbergasting, and should have been the death knell for nuclear power.”

I guess I wasn’t being such a ninny after all, was I? And heck, I was still about a quarter of a century away from becoming an anti-nuclear activist.


Some things we just know in our guts, hmmm?


A Few Resources I Recommend on the 32nd Anniversary

& finally, but definitely not least!!

Nuclear Hotseat’s April 24/18 podcast – Chernobyl 32 Anniversary SPECIAL

& very special it is, too, featuring enlightening interviews with

  • a woman who was a teen-ager in Bulgaria when Chernobyl went postal
  • scientist Timothy Mousseau, talking about his research exploring the consequences of radiation fallout exposure in Ukraine & Belarus, & also Japan (YouTube of 2016 lecture by Dr. Mousseau here & his Web site is here).
  • Dr. Janette Sherman (M.D.) & her surprising revelations about health impacts from Fukushima fallout in the U.S. AND elevated cancer rates in eastern Pennsylvania (yes: Three Mile Island)

... & more.

Sooo very worth 60 minutes of your time!!


Previous Years’ Chernobyl Postings on this Site

31st Anniversary of the Chernobyl Nuclear Disaster (1 year ago today)

Chernobyl: 30 years. The ongoing disaster. Tons of links (2 years ago)

Chernobyl: 29 years (3 years ago)


Book VERY Highly Recommended!

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


What to Do? What to Do? What to Do Now?

Well, Dr. Janette Sherman (from the Nuclear Hotseat podcast) figures the only sane response is to shut down the nuke plants.

Heck, even shut-down plants carry plenty of risks, what with all the wastes stored on-site!

But it’s clearly a great place to start.

Our own friendly (not) neighbourhood nuclear plant is right in Toronto’s backyard.

Nukes - distance to Chern Fuk.jpg


8 reactors, 6 of them functioning (2 in shutdown mode) – & their bosses, as it were, the folks who make so much money (& so much nuke waste!) want to keep them operating for at least another 6 years (maybe longer; who knows? They just don’t seem to know when to quit, & they just keep moving the goal posts).

The current licence for the Pickering reactors run by OPG (Ontario Power Generation) expires August 31, 2018.

However, only a very great deal of (LOUD) noise-making in upcoming months will cause them to be shut down.

The previous posting on this site provides information about the upcoming licensing hearing.

Join the party!

Raise a ruckus! Many, many, many people in the Greater Toronto Area want to see this nasty, risky, dangerous, nuclear-waste-producing dinosaur shut down. You can read about that on the Ontario Clean Air Alliance’s Close Pickering page.

Help make it happen.

Join the party!


p.s. Just for the record, this article ‘Risk of another Chernobyl or Fukushima type accident plausible, experts say provides a list of the costliest nuclear accidents – & a 1983 spill at Pickering comes in at # 14 in the list of 15. Here's yet another (short) accidents list.


Relevant Quotations

“The lesson of TMI (and Chernobyl, and Fukushima)? Shut ‘em down before they melt down!” – Kevin Kamps, Beyond Nuclear

“…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 on March 27/14.

“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

“Nuclear power is an idea whose time has never come, except at Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Three Mile Island, Chernobyl, and Fukushima. It almost came at Fermi 1. It’s up to us that it never happens at Fermi 2 or 3, and that we get to Solartopia–a green-powered Earth–before it’s too late.” — Harvey Wasserman

“Today no task is more pressing and noble, not only for a scientist, but also for any sober-minded individual, than to prevent nuclear insanity.” – Valery Legasov, head of the former Soviet delegation to the IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency). He was upset over both the Chernobyl disaster & its handling at the IAEA & United Nations, & later took his life over it.

“Nobody really knows how to clean up radiation.” – day labourer in Japan working on clean-up in village 20 miles from the Fukushima Daiichi reactors (source)

** lots more quotations about nuke accidents & inadequate nuclear emergency planning here

No Nukes-RB Warriors.jpg



Pickering Hearing. Again!?

I’ve lost track by now of how many times OPG (Ontario Power Generation) has said the Pickering reactor complex (8 reactors, 6 of them operating, 2 in “cold shutdown,” right beside Lake Ontario, just east of the City of Toronto) is going to be shut down - only to change their minds later, & keep pushing it beyond its "design life."

Too many!

But now the plan is to run this aging complex yet another 10 years (or rather, another 6 years, but the request is for a 10-year licence). They refuse to let it die!

Hearing time is coming up!

See links below for hearing details from the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission or CNSC, Canada’s nuclear “regulator.”

Date (Part 1): April 4, 2018

Place: CNSC public hearing room, 14th floor, 280 Slater Street, Ottawa.

Time:  As set by the agenda published prior to the hearing date.

** note: this part is for the proponent (i.e., OPG) to tell CNSC tribunal members what its plans are. Some might call it a kangaroo court.*  See below.

** See THIS page on the CNSC site for relevant documents, including the transcript of the April 4th, 'Part I' hearing. The archived Webcast of the April 4th hearing is here.

Date (Part 2): June 25–29, 2018

Place: Pickering Recreation Centre. [note on May 24/18: the location has been changed! Some folks laid into the CNSC for planning to hold the hearing 30 K away from the location of the generating station. Some activists + a local MP weighed into the fray, & blessedly, the location has been changed from Courtice to Pickering. Sometimes it really does pay to speak up, make a fuss, etc. Hmmmmm??]

Time: As set by the agenda published prior to the hearing date.

** note: this is the part the public gets to participate in, & say their piece. Some might call it a kangaroo court.*  See below.  

** In both cases, you can watch the hearing via Webcast. Go to the CNSC Web site & look around in the top middle section or upper right-hand corner for how to do this.

** Find the (revised) hearing notice here. *** Note: May 7th is the deadline for written interventions

***** You can now download ALL of the submissions here.

&/or, use this link to access hearing notice, (revised) agenda & for downloading submissions.

Very Important Note!!

CNSC is a licensing body. An organization that exists to license nuclear operators. (That's even how they obtain 2/3 of their funding! So there's little incentive for the organization to bite the hands that feed it, hmmmm?)

They never turn down a licence request.

So this licensing hearing is liable to be the usual slam-dunk for the industry.

Listen, don’t trust me on this (though I’ve been attending CNSC hearings for 12 years now, have lost track of how many I’ve attended (TOO many), & have yet to see them refuse a licence request).

Here’s the word from the horse’s mouth, okay?

Never a single licence they’ve ever wanted to turn down.  Here.  

** Be sure to scroll down for a super-relevant quotation about nuclear hearings!


Information Relevant for this Hearing **

** with more to be added as the days & weeks roll on

Ontario Clean Air Alliance has a Close Pickering campaign. Check it out!

Other OCAA materials:

** plenty more on their site too! Including a series of short YouTubes by a retired Ontario Hydro scientist, an M.D., the head of OCAA, a radiation biologist, & others … on why the Pickering station should be shut down.

Greenpeace Q & A: What you need to know about the Pickering nuclear reactors

More great info from Greenpeace.

On THIS site:

  • Nuclear ‘Elephants in the Room’ – a posting with information about a few of the “elephants in the room” with respect to the PNGS (Pickering Nuclear Generating Station).
  • Nuclear Emergency Plans in Ontario (‘PNERP’) Update - about the province’s not-very-robust, newly-revised nuclear emergency plans. (By all means, download & read the PNERP for yourself, on this page here.)
  • many links in that posting above, to other matters relating to nuclear emergency planning & plans.
  • KI: truth or Lies?  There is quite a lot of B.S. afoot on the subject of KI (potassium iodide) pills - this posting from October 2015 remains relevant.

** Lots of great quotations / insights about nuclear accidents on the DNA site, here. The Fukushima disaster in particular,  & an ever-important, still-utterly-relevant article about Nuclear “Regulatory Capture” – A Global Pattern.

Nuclear Liability-GP.jpg

Mousseau-Chernob & Fuk Damage copy.jpg


Super-Relevant 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>

2 Fukushima Anniversary Events! March 12 & 15/18.

On Facebook

From Fukushima to Toronto
Monday March 12, 7 p.m.
Sydney Smith Hall, 100 St. George St, Rm. 2118, U of T

On March 11, 2011, the world’s largest industrial accident occurred – a triple nuclear meltdown – in Fukushima, Japan. An area up to 50 km was evacuated and 160,000 people displaced, most whom have yet to return. Plants and animals are genetically damaged . Hundreds of thousands of bags of radioactive soil are stranded around the countryside with no waste solution in site, and 300 tonnes of radioactive water flows into the Pacific Ocean daily, contaminating the food chain. The catastrophe is expected to cost the Japanese economy between $200 and $500 Billion.

At this anniversary event we'll address a new report by Dr. Ian Fairlie, radiation biologist from the UK. His report considers what would happen if a serious nuclear accident, similar in extent to what took place in Fukushima, were to happen at the Pickering Nuclear Station just east of Toronto. The answer is alarming, exacerbated by the fact that Pickering is surrounded by millions of people. Greenpeace is also releasing a new report about Fukushima that will be shared at this event. We'll also discuss viable alternatives to nuclear power in Ontario, and brainstorm how to achieve a renewable future.

Speakers include: Kyoko Yokama, Japanese citizen and filmmaker; Angela Bischoff and Jack Gibbons, Ontario Clean Air Alliance; and Shawn-Patrick Stensil, Greenpeace. There will be lots of time for questions and comments from the floor.

Co-sponsored by: Toronto Undergraduate Geography Society, Ontario Clean Air Alliance, Durham Nuclear Awareness (DNA)

Free. All welcome!

On Thur. March 15, there will be a similar event in Pickering (see below)

 & please sign these petitions: and

This is a Joint Human Geography and Environmental Geography Streams Seminar. Human Rights are Environmental Rights, and Environmental Rights are Human Rights too.


From Fukushima to Pickering
Thur. March 15, 7 p.m.
Pickering Public Library, 1 The Esplanade


On Facebook

On March 11, 2011, the world’s largest industrial accident occurred – a triple nuclear meltdown – in Fukushima, Japan. An area up to 50 km was evacuated and 160,000 people displaced, most whom have yet to return. Plants and animals are genetically damaged. Hundreds of thousands of bags of radioactive soil are stranded around the countryside with no waste solution in site, and 300 tonnes of radioactive water flows into the Pacific Ocean daily, contaminating the food chain. The catastrophe is expected to cost the Japanese economy between $200 and $500 Billion.

At this event we will address a new report by Dr. Ian Fairlie, radiation biologist from the UK. His report considers what would happen if a serious nuclear accident, similar in extent to what took place in Fukushima, were to happen at the Pickering Nuclear Station just east of Toronto. The answer is alarming, exacerbated by the fact that Pickering is surrounded by millions of people. We'll also discuss viable alternatives to nuclear power in ON, and brainstorm how to achieve a renewable future. There will also be a theatrical performance and short film.

Speakers include: Kyoko Yokama, Japanese citizen and filmmaker; Angela Bischoff and Jack Gibbons, Ontario Clean Air Alliance. Theatrical performance by Broadleaf Theatre. There will be lots of time for questions and comments from the floor.

Co-sponsored by: Ontario Clean Air Alliance, Durham Nuclear Awareness (DNA)

Free, all welcome! 

And please sign the petitions: and

Nuclear Emergency Plans in Ontario ('PNERP') Update

Just before Christmas (2017), the Province of Ontario released its long-awaited, very overdue update of the PNERP – Provincial Nuclear Emergency Response Plan. (The Fukushima disaster began nearly 7 years ago now – March 11, 2011 – & the PNERP, which is supposed to be updated every 4 years, had not been updated since 2009. So it was about 4 years overdue when it finally came out.)

The announcement was made without fanfare on December 21, 2017 – when all was growing quiet on the government/bureaucratic/personal front for most people – right before the long Christmas break. No media coverage … by design, perhaps?

The announcement is here & within that item, you can click on a link to download the updated PNERP.

Or find it here.

There was a Toronto Star article published on December 28th. ‘Ontario’s long-awaited new nuclear emergency plan falls short, Greenpeace saysWhile other countries have strengthened public safety since Fukushima, it’s taken the Ontario government six years to maintain the status quo,” said Stensil."

N.B. A very recent article here, also: Are Ontario’s nuclear emergency plans dead in the water? (Feb. 5/18)


Nuke Emergency Planning in Ontario: who (REALLY) runs the show?

Technically, it’s the responsibility of the Office of the Fire Marshal & Emergency Management (OFMEM) within the Ministry of Community Safety & Correctional Services.

Technically, Ontario Power Generation (OPG) is only responsible for nuclear emergencies out to the fence line of the plants they run at Pickering & Darlington – in Durham Region, just east of Toronto. (Pickering is right in Toronto’s backyard, pretty much … just over the back fence, you might say, really, while the Darlington plant is only another 30 K down the lake (& highway). A hop, skip and a jump are we in the Greater Toronto Area, or GTA, from 2 gigantic nuclear facilities (6 reactors operating at Pickering, 4 at Darlington). Yes, it’s pretty sobering – but shoot – only if you’re paying attention of course...)

However, anyone who follows nukes in Ontario knows who really runs the show. OPG does. If you take a look at this old item (a presentation made to the Durham Regional Council in June 2014), one thing you’ll observe (on pg. 3) is how very many agencies, both provincial & federal (& regional & municipal as well, in fact) are “at the table” when nuclear emergency plans are made.

Fact is, OPG dominates the whole show.

DNA attended one of these meetings, back in November 2013. Who was around that very big table? A lot of very quiet bureaucrats, with OPG & CNSC sitting like head honchos at the head table. Minutes of the meeting (& all of these NEMCC – Nuclear Emergency Management Coordinating Committee – meetings) can only be obtained through time-consuming Freedom of Information requests.

So it’s all quite a bit less than transparent, shall we just politely say, & gives every appearance of having the provincial government agency (theoretically) in charge of emergency planning in actual fact entirely subservient to OPG.

But listen. I’m making this all sound like a dysfunctional family, with a lot of “He said, she said,” and me sounding all sour grapes. (I do see what I see, mind you, & know what I know.)

However, one need not really “buy into” my take on this.

You can deduce for yourself whether or we are properly prepared for a serious nuclear emergency here in the GTA … or, for that matter, up near the Bruce Nuclear plant on Lake Huron.


Nuts and Bolts

The Province’s “discussion paper” is here. It was released in mid-May 2017, & people were able to provide comments on it until July. My understanding is that around 1500 responses to the plan were sent in to the provincial government.

CELA – the Canadian Environmental Law Association – widely recognized for deep & wide expertise on all matters nuclear emergency in Canada, gave the proposed plan a ‘D.” You can see the CELA report card here.

40+ civil society groups endorsed a Call for Public Safety.

Take a look at that here.

Motions calling for better emergency planning were passed last year by municipal/regional Councils in

  • Ajax
  • Amherstberg
  • Brockton
  • Durham Region
  • Essex County
  • Windsor
  • Toronto

With plenty of attendant media coverage – most of it listed here.


So … Then What Happened?

Well. We all waited. & waited. (We’ve all gotten pretty good at waiting, by now, hmmm?)

And then there was a nuclear emergency “exercise” out in Pickering on December 6 & 7.

And the very day the “exercise” began, Ontario’s Auditor General released a report indicating that Ontario’s nuclear emergency planning is seriously deficient.

Sarnia mayor weighs in after auditor’s less-than- glowing review of provincial preparedness'

“Neither Ontario’s emergency preparedness nor its nuclear response plans has been updated in almost a decade and budget cuts have trimmed staff and programs at its emergency management office, Auditor General Bonnie Lysyk, the province’s spending watchdog, reported.

And there aren’t enough people trained to staff Ontario’s emergency centre for a crisis longer than two weeks, a cabinet committee overseeing emergency management hasn’t met in years and few ministry-level practice tests in the last five years involved simulations.

The weakness in Ontario’s emergency planning and oversight make the province “vulnerable if a large-scale emergency were to occur,” the report said.

“It is essential in a province the size of Ontario that the government be ready to act in the event of an emergency,” Lysyk said in a statement.”     London Free Press, December 7/17.

& then, on December 21st, the Province quietly released the revised PNERP.

Greenpeace’s reaction?  Here.


TVO Show on Nuclear Emergency Planning

This took place last week. A four-person panel with two pro-nukers (basically) & CELA & Greenpeace spokespersons Theresa McClenaghan & Shawn-Patrick Stensil.

You can watch it for yourself here.

Nobody explained why OPG was on the panel, when their responsibilities (theoretically) only extend out to the fence line at their nuclear plants.

(See what I mean?)

Or why the Province – i.e., the Office of the Fire Marshal & Emergency Management (OFMEM) within the Ministry of Community Safety & Correctional Services – was not on the panel. I’m still scratching my head about that. (One possibility is that OFMEM knows perfectly well they can’t really defend their wishy-washy, about-as-good-as-wet-tissue-paper emergency plans. Especially up against McClenaghan & Stensil, who understand the issue inside out, upside down & backwards. Better than the politicians or the bureaucrats. So many people know this.)

Couple key points brought out by the latter two:

It's a slippery slope, alright....


Speaking of Evacuation…

Though the government doesn’t seem to like to…

Some recent items on the subject of evacuation – which one needs to know a bit about, given the possibility (& necessity) of evacuation after a major nuclear accident.

Dr. Ian Fairlie (radiation biologist) released a report just a week ago (January 27/18), about the ins & outs of evacuation.

Evacuations after Severe Nuclear Accidents

“This article discusses three related matters –

  • The experience of evacuations during the Fukushima nuclear disaster
  • Whether lengthy evacuations from large cities are feasible?
  • Some emergency plans for evacuations in North America”

And concludes

And how long would evacuations need to continue….weeks, months, years, or decades? The time length of evacuations is usually avoided in the evacuation plans seen so far. In reality, the answer would depend on Cs-137 concentrations in surface soils. The time period could be decades, as the half-life of the principal radionuclide, Cs-137, is 30 years. This raises the possibility of large cities becoming uninhabited ‘ghost’ towns like Tomioka, Okuma, Namie, Futaba, etc in Japan and Pripyat in Ukraine.

This bleak reality is hard to accept or even comprehend. However, it is a matter that some Governments need to address after Fukushima.

Wheatley et al (2017) comprehensively examined the historical records of 216 nuclear accidents, mishaps and near-misses since the mid-1950s. They predicted the future frequencies and severities of nuclear accidents and concluded both were “unacceptably high”. Wheatley et al (2016) also concluded that the relative frequency with which nuclear events cascaded into nuclear disasters remained large enough that, when multiplied by their severity, the aggregate risk to society was “very high”. It is unsurprising that, after Fukushima, several major European states including Germany and Switzerland have decided to phase-out their nuclear reactors.”


Another item I ran across recently, regarding evacuation:

MIT No-Evacuations Study Debunked (you really have to watch this, believe me!)

My take is this: What our governments are up to (as they listen over-much to the nuclear "authorities")

.... is letting the nuke plants keep running, even in the face of a multiplicity of overarching reasons why they should be shut down … pretending they actually have nuclear emergency plans worthy of the name … & simply raising the amount of radioactivity to which it is “acceptable” to be exposed (“acceptable:” a favourite weasel word in the industry; along with “robust,” of course) – & letting us all rot in our houses, sucking up the fallout, should a serious accident occur.

I only wish I were making this all up… But, as previously referenced, I see what I see, & I know what I know.



A friend of mine used to have a funny saying: “Porch light’s on, but nobody’s home.”

We could paraphrase this, vis-à-vis nuclear emergency planning in Ontario, to

“The porch light is OFF, & NOBODY’s minding the store.” Nobody.


Keep those fingers crossed, everyone!

And hope the proverbial you-know-what does NOT hit the proverbial fan here in the GTA.

(or on the U.S. side of the Great Lakes, where there are several nuke plants … or up in Bruce Nuclear territory. If you go to this page, you'll see a map of nuclear sites around the Great Lakes.)


It sure wouldn’t be pretty….

But after all,

“It can’t happen here” … eh?


A Few Resources

Auditor General report

Emergency planning section of the AG report. Media reports here (Sarnia mayor) & here (Windsor Star) & here (Amherstberg Fire Chief)

Call for Public Safety

CELA gives the plan a ‘D’

Evacuation: Report Evacuations after Severe Nuclear Accidents (Fairlie)

& YouTube MIT No-Evacuations Study Debunked

Bottom line? Ever since the Fukushima disaster began in March 2011, the nuclear industry has been working to increase the levels of radioactivity considered "acceptable" for people to be exposed to. Looks as though the real plan behind the scenes is, if there is a big nuke accident, "the authorities" will just tell everyone "Nah, no worries! Just stay home. The levels of radioactivity are nothing to worry about. Sit tight."

That idea is explained, and debunked, in the 17-minute video.

Fukushima: the story of a nuclear disaster (fabulous book!)  This very detailed, very helpful book outlines the progression of the Fukushima nuclear disaster thoroughly – and also lays out very carefully how U.S. nuclear regulators have carefully promulgated the “It can’t happen here” myth – ever since the Three Mile Island meltdown in March 1979.

Fukushima: accident / emergency planning quotations

Gundersen’s 4 Critical Lessons from 5 Meltdowns (Powerpoint presentation) 

Grossman on ‘regulatory capture’ - a worldwide problem

Linda Keen (former head of the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission) quoted in this article in March 2011: “I still believe (evacuation planning) is one of the most unplanned things,” Keen lamented.”

Media reports on resolutions passed in 2017, calling for better EP in Ontario

Provincial Growth Plans & Nuclear Plans on Collision Course

The value of nuclear emergency exercises (from Fukushima: the story of a nuclear disaster)


A Few Relevant Quotes

“It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon his not understanding it.” – Upton Sinclair

“Evacuation zones/planning are inadequate all over the world.” – 2013 comment by Dr. Maureen McCue (M.D., Ph.D.), Physicians for Social Responsibility

“In 1979 the NRC admits the Rasmussen Report ‘greatly understated’ the range of chances for a nuclear accident. The proper translation is what nuclear critics have been saying all along, before and after the Rasmussen Report: no one has the foggiest notion what the probability is of major nuclear power accidents.” – Dr. John Gofman, M.D., Ph.D.  in “Irrevy” – An Irreverent, Illustrated View of Nuclear Power

“I have examined the arguments of the promoters of nuclear energy, and they always boil down to the same absurdity: If everything goes perfectly, then everything will go perfectly.”  Or, “Trust us! Even though we have come close, we still have our first major city to knock over.” – Dr. John Gofman, M.D., Ph.D.  in “Irrevy” – An Irreverent, Illustrated View of Nuclear Power

 “I still believe (evacuation planning) is one of the most unplanned things,” Keen lamented.” – Linda Keen, former head of the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, quoted in this article 'Is Ontario ready for a nuclear disaster?' in March 2011, a week into the Fukushima disaster.

“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

"For a successful technology, reality must take precedence over public relations, for nature cannot be fooled." — Nobel physicist Richard Feynman after 1986 space shuttle Challenger explosion

"Chernobyl has once more demonstrated, as did Three Mile Island, that a nuclear accident anywhere is a nuclear accident everywhere." — Alvin Weinberg

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