Cameron Wigmore, Green Party Member: Outdated Nuclear Energy Technology Rest In Peace

December 27, 2007

Outdated Nuclear Energy Technology Rest In Peace

Before the year ends I'd like to post a few links to some information and news on nuclear energy, the outdated technology that won't solve our energy needs, won't lead to sustainability, won't ever be safe, won't solve the climate crisis, and won't ever be fiscally responsible. May it continue its slow disappearing act and rest in peace for the duration of this century and beyond.

Oh, we can't just walk away from nuclear energy and be done with it? We still have spend a LOT of money to 'safely' store huge amounts of highly toxic nuclear waste for thousands of years? Hmm... maybe we should ignore that and just keep building more nuclear power plants to meet our rising energy demands.

Energy efficiency and consumption reduction measures be damned; forget about renewable energies and green technologies and reinvest heavily in nuclear energy because our energy consumption is going up, up, up, and we're going to need more nuclear energy! Hold on, I see a pattern emerging...

Seriously though, here are those items I mentioned.

Dec 10th, '07
Child Cancer Risk Higher Near Nuclear Plants - Study

"Chernobyl taught us that technical deficiencies, human failure, and at present also terrorist attacks, may lead to a
catastrophe of unforeseeable dimensions. But did we learn from the catastrophe? That’s one of the questions we try to explore in this brochure."
Women Active Against Nuclear Energy (PDF)

By Joseph J. Mangano

"It should be a sobering thought for Canadians to face the grim facts that Canadian uranium particularly from Saskatchewan, is being marketed to countries that use the "waste" from nuclear power reactors to be sold or given away to manufacturers of depleted uranium."
Full letter to editor by Oscar found here at this forum.

Nuclear Weapons and the Link to Nuclear Power

Nov '07 Opposition demands debate on joining nuclear club
"...Elizabeth May, the federal Green Party leader, said she was furious that the decision to join a pro-nuclear group occurred in silence without any public consultation..."

Dec '07 Ireland Greens: Ryan refuses uranium mining licences

Video - Helen Caldicott at Uof Regina speaking on the dangers of the nuclear industry, including nuclear power, mining, waste and weapons.

Canada’s role in depleted uranium weapons worldwide

DU weapons & war crimes
After 3 years of investigation by 60 expert witnesses and jurists at a cost of $1 million raised by Japanese citizens, the International Criminal Tribunal For Afghanistan at Tokyo on March 10, 2004 found President George W. Bush guilty of the war crimes of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes for the use of depleted uranium (DU) weapons by US forces in the 2001 war against Afghanistan.

Experts agree that a substantial portion of the depleted uranium in the DU weapons used by the US in Afghanistan came from Canadian uranium. Had the Tokyo Tribunal been diligent, it could have found Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chr├ętien, who resigned as Prime Minister on December 12, 2003, guilty as an accessory to genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes, for failing to enforce Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission regulations, and the Canada-US Nuclear Cooperation Agreement, both of which prohibit Canadian uranium from being used in DU weapons.

Dr. Gordon Edwards, president of the Montreal-based Canadian Coalition for Nuclear Responsibility (CCNR) says, “Canada may have the policy, but it’s not enforced. The Canadian government is taking directions and orders from the nuclear industry… “The uranium industry has a vested interest in ensuring its depleted uranium waste makes a profit and is not just left in storage. That’s why some of Canada’s depleted uranium is ending up in weapons, Edwards says. “The Canadian government can’t even think for themselves.”

"We Are Living Through Another Hiroshima," Iraq Doctor Says

Nov '07 'Safe' uranium that left a town contaminated

UPDATE: (Feb 18th '08) Out Of Commission
Story from the UK telling us how nuclear power plants will never 'rest in peace'. At least not without rapidly increasing cost to decommission them, and not without massive cleanup efforts.

From the story:
...As costs for decommissioning appear to spiral out of control - rising sharply from £56bn to £73bn over just a few years - the burden on the taxpayer grows ever more. And it doesn't end there...

UPDATE #2 (July 2008)
UK's nuclear clean-up industry in turmoil, report reveals
Chaos at the heart of Britain's nuclear clean-up industry has been laid bare by an internal audit undertaken by the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (DBERR), following embarrassing cost overruns that forced the department to find £400m worth of emergency funds from other budgets to balance the books.

The department admits that there are now "inherent risks" associated with the financial affairs of the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) and reveals that budgetary problems were exacerbated by misunderstandings, unminuted meetings and lack of sufficiently trained staff.


Rhotel1 said...


As a life long environmentalist, I wonder why so-called Green party members are so scientifically ignorant. Going to geology field camp made me intensely aware of the environment. Being a geologist also made me aware that the anti-depleted uranium crusade which you so liberally quote on your blog is a bunch of malcontent scientific frauds and charlatans. Have you bothered to do any independent research by talking with your local Chemistry, Geology and Physics department professors? If not, you really should before you slog pure BS on to the internet.

Cameron W said...

It's a tough reality that Canadian uranium ends up in DU weapons. I understand your aversion to accepting this fact, but avoiding the truth won't make it go away.

Please review my many posts on nuclear energy. You will see that I am concerned with the scientific studies and facts, and I've been inclined to criticize both the pro-nuclear lobbyists and the anti-nuclear activists for their use of rhetoric.

For many years I've worked and spoken with a number of scientists and experts, some who have masters degrees in sedimentary geology, and I'm an intelligent, informed and well educated individual. Your hostility is misdirected, and it's sad that a 'so-called' educated person like yourself would be so misinformed and hostile to those working for a better world.

There are 'scientists' who claim that climate change is a hoax, even in the face of mountains of evidence to the contrary. While the scientific community agrees that climate change is happening, it's human caused, and it's effecting serious negative consequences, a few members of the 'flat Earth society' are still hanging onto misinformed 'scientific experts' and their denial of reality.

Would this also describe you?

Are you aware that we can phase out nuclear energy if we want to? Please review my blog posts on energy efficiency and nuclear, and read all of the comments, and then once you're informed and educated on the subjects, we can discuss this further.

Anonymous said...

From Monday's Globe and Mail EDITORIAL

Alberta should take the nuclear path

December 30, 2007 at 9:36 PM EST

There may be obvious political reasons why Alberta Premier Ed Stelmach has refused to take a stand on a proposal to build a nuclear power plant in Peace River. After all, on the brink of an expected election, Liberal Leader Kevin Taft blithely maintains that “there should be other ways to go,” such as solar power. That unrealistic stance seems to have prompted Mr. Stelmach to dodge the controversial issue, postponing the day of reckoning until public hearings are held.

But, sooner or later, whichever party wins the next election needs to recognize that nuclear power is the cleanest way to extract heavy oil and to supply the province's increasing energy needs. Energy Alberta Corp., which Ontario-based Bruce Power purchased last month, filed an application in September for a federal licence to prepare its Peace River site, about 500 kilometres northwest of Edmonton, for a 2,200-megawatt twin-reactor complex. Such a complex could increase the province's current power supply by roughly 20 per cent. But Mr. Stelmach told The Globe and Mail late last week that his government is taking its time, and that it will release guidelines for the public-hearing process in January, with the hearings scheduled for coming months.

There is little time for such hesitancy. Some experts predict that Alberta's power requirements may jump by more than 60 per cent by 2018 because of industrial demands and population growth. The first stage of the Peace River proposal has a targeted in-service date of 2017, and delays in the regulatory and construction process are inevitable.

Meanwhile, in the oil sands, companies now burn valuable, and relatively clean, natural gas to extract the sticky bitumen from the ground. If those companies could switch to nuclear power for some processes, the gas could be saved for home heating – and that would reduce greenhouse-gas emissions.

Alberta's vast heavy-oil reserves are becoming more valuable by the minute. Oil prices are hovering just below record highs, largely because of instability in Southwest Asia and strong U.S. demand. Nuclear power might not solve all of Alberta's energy needs, but it should be tapped as soon as possible.

Cameron W said...

Hi anon,

When posting an article, please link to the original and quote only one or two paragraphs. I request this for copyright reasons.

As for the editorial, it states that "nuclear power is the cleanest way to extract heavy oil and to supply the province's increasing energy needs." This is incorrect, unless one refers to nuclear waste as 'clean'. It seems in Alberta they also consider coal to be 'clean', so I can see how some people might mistakenly confuse dirty nuclear waste and the problems of no solution to permanent disposal with a clean source of energy.

The author also refers to the energy 'needs' of Albertans, conveniently ignoring the unglamorous but highly effective strategy of reduction in consumption through efficient measures. Reducing the 'needs' through conservation have proven the most effective ways to meet our energy needs.

From the article: "If those companies could switch to nuclear power for some processes, the gas could be saved for home heating – and that would reduce greenhouse-gas emissions."

This is a logical error, as the consumption levels will not decrease. Energy consumption will continue to rise & GHG's will continue to be emitted. It would reduce the total GHG emissions of the tar sands, but not Alberta's overall emissions. Also, if you review my previous posts on how nuclear is not a solution to climate change, you'll see that to claim otherwise is ridiculous.

The editorial closes with the suggestion that "Nuclear power might not solve all of Alberta's energy needs, but it should be tapped as soon as possible." Oh should it? This is based on the assumption that absolutely no effort will go into efficiency or conservation measures. I see. But wait - we haven't even begun to explore the myriad problems with nuclear energy.

Viewing the 'need' for nuclear through these tunnel vision goggles will prevent people from acknowledging that the negatives regarding nuclear far outweigh the benefits.

Anonymous said...


When I was reading this column today, to be honest, I thought of you.

Here's a quote worth noting:

"The human understanding when it has once adopted an opinion ... draws all things else to support and agree with it," Sir Francis Bacon wisely observed almost 400 years ago.

"And though there be a greater weight of instances to be found on the other side, yet these it either neglects or despises, or else, by some distinction sets aside and rejects, in order that by this great and pernicious predetermination the authority of its former conclusion may remain inviolate."

The tendency Bacon identified is what modern psychologists have dubbed "confirmation bias." Once we have an opinion of any sort, we seek to confirm it. It is a universal human tendency.

People promiscuously embrace information that supports their views, while ignoring, belittling or severely scrutinizing anything that disputes them.

See if you see also yourself in this column:

Cameron W said...

Interesting article.

I personally have posted thoughts and articles that promote nuclear energy, and I've debated and examined the arguments supporting nuclear energy. Rather than avoiding the arguments supporting nuclear, I've engaged them head on and explored the subject thoroughly.

In the case of nuclear energy, there are no convincing arguments that should be able to draw further support. All things considered, nuclear energy is a horrible thing to pursue, and it seems that only ill-informed people, or those working within the nuclear industry are supportive of nuclear energy.

I can see how this article and the 'confirmation bias' might apply to those promoting nuclear energy. They fail to see the lack of sustainability, they fail to see the costs to current and future generations, and they minimize the safety issues, etc, etc.

If you look through my other work here on my blog, I hope you'll see that I'm an open minded person, always willing to explore all dimensions of an issue, to discuss and debate subjects with people who disagree with me. I have even, on occasion, been known to change my opinion in the face of convincing arguments.

Anonymous said...

This section of the article seems worthy of quoting at this time:

Look at the blogosphere. With few exceptions, political blogs are written by people of fixed views for others who share those views. Contradiction is not welcome in these warm baths of confirmation and so readers are only exposed to information that reinforces their views -- which makes those views stronger and leads many to the extreme conclusion that only fools and scoundrels could disagree. Psychologists will never devise a better demonstration of confirmation bias and its pernicious effects on rational discourse.

Of course, as Bacon insisted, we are not slaves to our biases. With effort, we can be more rational.

The first step is recognizing the problem. We are biased. I am. You are. Everybody is.

The next is to get out of the warm bath. Look for information that contradicts your views and give it real consideration -- while remaining aware that the brain that is doing the considering is biased against it.

You just stated:

All things considered, nuclear energy is a horrible thing to pursue, and it seems that only ill-informed people, or those working within the nuclear industry are supportive of nuclear energy.

The IPCC , the IEA, Dr. Mark Jaccard, Dr. Andrew Weaver and many many eminently qualified scientists and economists support the increasing use of nuclear energy.

You may think your blogs on this subject promote the Green Party.

I think you are grossly misinformed and mistaken, your first commenter here illustrating the point.

I wonder how many just don't bother returning, or share similar views.

Cameron W said...

Your efforts to stereotype me and dismiss my research and studies are certainly persistent.

Please review my posts and discussions here at my blog in my other posts.

If you read all of the text you will see that nuclear energy 100% the wrong way to go. I've been working on this subject for over a year, and I've looked at it from all points of view. I've had many detractors come here to try to argue in favour of nuclear energy, but so far none have convincingly promoted nuclear energy, no matter what their ill informed angle was.

And yes; I'm biased against nuclear energy.


Cameron W said...

As for the IPCC, their report earlier this year stated that "The report acknowledged the role of nuclear energy as an option for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, but said that safety, weapons proliferation and waste remain as constraints."

Not a ringing endorsement.

This paragraph I spotted from another site sums it up nicely:
"Environmental impacts aside, nuclear economics preclude its use to combat global warming. It is not the cheapest of the non-fossil fuel alternatives; nor is it the cleanest. A host of renewable technologies have outstripped nuclear power in development and performance, while energy efficiency measures remain the most cost effective way to address the need for new power."

As for the IEA, here's a good exploration of their position by Greenpeace. Yeah yeah, I know, I'm backing up my argument with friendly data. You'd do well to step outside of your filtered pronuclear world and have a look at info that challenges your own beliefs and values. ;)

International Energy Agency calls for 200 new nukes

It's not just Greenpeace that's talking this way. If you go over my older posts on nuclear energy you will see that a great many experts agree with much of this.

I have Mark Jaccard's book 'Sustainable Fossil Fuels'. In the book he talks about nuclear energy, but again his thoughts are hardly a ringing endorsement. More of a theoretical 'what if' sort of examination of nuclear energy. He doesn't discount it, but he doesn't promote it.

Just to show that I don't always cite articles that support my position, here's a critical review of this book by Jaccard.

Review: Mark Jaccard’s Sustainable Fossil Fuels

Please don't succumb to confirmation bias. Please read the information with an open mind, and consider that we don't need nuclear energy, nor do we want it. It will do nothing for us, and will leave our descendants with a very real reminder of how short sighted and selfish we really could be.

Rather than dismiss any anti-nuclear items you happen upon, investigate them. Rather than assume that anti-nuclear activists are scientifically ignorant, consider the possibility that many well educated experts around the world are outspoken about how terrible it would be to invest in more nuclear energy.

Anonymous said...

You continue to use techniques employed by climate change deniers.

It's quite apparent.

Cameron W said...

Hi anonymous,

I assume you're the same anonymous person who continues to post here. Every time I post on nuclear the discussion gets hostile. If you review my past posts you'll see that I've thoroughly explored the subject, providing time for study of both the reasons to support nuclear and the reasons to not support it.

Please review my other posts on nuclear energy and comment on the subject matter in those posts. By avoiding the subject and instead focusing on me, you've lost track of the issue.

A friend recently pointed out that this particular issue isn't simply a technological one; it's a social issue as well, and debate isn't reserved for only energy specialists or economists but also the general public and experts in other related areas as well.

My friend points out that
"We live in a democracy, not a technocracy, and as Kristin Shrader-Frechette says, "Because [risk] assessments have consequences not only for knowledge but also for public welfare, the public has a right to participate. If my ox is in danger of being gored, I have the right to help determine how to protect it, even if I may be wrong.""

He continues, "...the debate is lop-sided to the extent that it fails to compass non-specialist narratives about risk or the perception of risk. The question is not a scientific one, per se, but a much sloppier and more difficult question of how to weight the different interests, both technical and non-technical. We live under the rule of law, not of science, and the law is beholden to a much broader array of interests than alleged expertise alone."

As for your accusation that I 'use techniques employed by climate change deniers', I find your decision to avoid the actual debate troubling. Telling me I'm unfit to debate you doesn't automatically make that so, and it certainly doesn't make you right. I would not simply say that you are unfit to discuss this subject with me, and that therefor your position is wrong. That sort of dismissive and non-investigative technique is not something I'm a fan of, and you'd do well to stop practicing it yourself.

Discuss the subject and stop insulting me. You're doing nothing positive for the pro-nuclear lobbying interest group.

Anonymous said...

Why don't you log onto the GP site and debate with a Professional Engineer who supports nuclear energy if you feel so strongly?

Taking the position that you are absolutely correct based upon what you've read somewhere seems quite unreasonable to most observers.

Here's another perhaps ex-GPC supporter who also raised the same issues as your first poster:

Cameron W said...

At your second link the subject was already debated, and I'm inclined to agree with this comment.

As for Mike Sherrard, I'm contacting him right now to see what he thinks of my info on nuclear energy. Will keep you posted.

There is a lot of debate going on about how much uranium is out there that can be used, how long it will last, and how much we can ramp up consumption while still attempting to brand it as 'sustainable'. The numbers vary widely, and in the end the discussion of uranium reserves doesn't even touch on the other factors such as safety (often minimized by the pro-nuclear lobbying groups) or irrelevancy in the face of other options such as renewables and conservation.

Cameron W said...

While we wait for a response from Mike S, feel free to review my older posts, and the dozens of links in them, on nuclear energy here.

I recommend starting with older posts, reading the articles at the links provided, and combing through the discussions and debates in the comment sections of each post. There's lots of material.

Cameron W said...

Some pro-nuclear lobbyists prefer to avoid issues of social justice relating to DU weapons and Canada's role. Others have argued that we simply 'need nuclear energy', which is a false statement, unless we collectively avoid renewable technologies and efficiency/conservation measures, and we assume that our consumption rates will increase evermore unsustainably. Other nuclear advocates have tried to say that nuclear energy is cheap and safe, but both points are relative, meaning we have to decide for ourselves if continued government subsidies of taxpayer dollars and frequent accidents qualify as 'cheap' or 'safe'. Don't believe the hype if you're told that nuclear is a solution to climate change. One can easily dig up articles and studies on why nuclear is not a solution to climate change.

Nuclear energy is NOT a good option for our current or future power needs.

Regarding greenhouse gases, a lot is emitted in the production of materials to build, shipping of materials, and building of nuclear power plants. Then there is a large amount of greenhouse gases produced in the further transporting, storage and reprocessing of nuclear waste. The energy is not entirely emissions free unless one unrealistically removes all indirectly related emission from surrounding activities.

An interesting side note is that it would take about twenty nuclear power plants to replace the level of energy used from natural gas to fuel operations in the Athabasca tar sands, and that's just so that they can get the oil out of the ground so it can be shipped to the U.S. to be processed.

In the future the grid distribution system may prove so inefficient that it will be entirely unusable. Decentralized local energy generation will likely be the solution, but with limited and declining amounts of oil, we'll have trouble even maintaining and replacing those systems. So, how easy will it be for our future society to maintain, replace or decommission nuclear power generators, or to ensure that radioactive waste continues to be stored in a safe and secure manner?

Nuclear energy is NOT an option for our power needs.

Nuclear power will never be completely GHG free. There are so many other things that we need to do before we try to promote nuclear energy as some kind of solution to global warming. Isn't it completely possible that our society would simply continue to consume fossil fuels at the same pace, regardless of how much extra energy for other purposes is from nuclear power? If we build nuclear power plants, will we drive less? Ship goods by truck less? Heat our homes less?

The waste issue which is thoroughly understood by the anti-nuke community is a very big issue. Waste can be reprocessed, but as France is discovering, eventually the leftover waste that cannot be reprocessed will build up and huge amounts will have to be dealt with. Nuclear waste could be put back in the ground, but there will always be a risk of contamination. This process has been utilized by the French for many years and they are starting to realize that there are issues with the sustainability of this strategy that is simply burying the problem and delaying the inevitable.

Radiation release is a concern with nuclear plants. No one has experienced radiation exposure from working in a solar panel or wind turbine factory.

I lived in Toronto many years ago when it was discovered that the Pickering Nuclear Power plant was not living up to promises.

Ontario Hydro failed to report decades of copper and zinc emissions from steam condenser tubes 1,800 tones into Lake Ontario, Southern Ontario's and northern New York States drinking water. Ontario Hydro admitted that groundwater at Pickering nuclear power plant has been contaminated with high levels of tritium since 1978. Ontario Hydro disclosed that up to 150,000 liters of waste oil had been illegally dumped in a landfill in the late 1970s. Both the tritium contamination and the oil dumping were brought to light by whistle-blowers not Ontario Hydro.

In October 1997 it was revealed and widely reported in the media that the Pickering nuclear power plant had 30 fires the previous year thats more than two a month. This nuclear power plant is just outside Toronto in a densely populated area on the shores of Lake Ontario. The water of Lake Ontario is used as a coolant in the reactors and then pumped back into the lake - the drinking water of Southern Ontario and Northern New York.

Also, terrorist attacks weren't on the top of peoples minds back then, but we seriously need to consider the fact that a nuclear power plant is a possible target for terrorists. They wouldn't need to try to break in to get the fuel rods to try to make bombs, as some might suggest. There is a concern about the nuclear plants themselves being possible targets.

Nuclear plants are very expensive to build. There is a tremendous amount of concrete and steel that goes into their construction. They are heavily subsidized with taxpayers money and the ongoing costs including the costs of decommissioning a nuclear plant make nuclear energy one of the most expensive forms of energy.

Some might try to say that only small amounts of fuel are needed to yield huge amounts of energy, and while this is technically true, 'small' does not equal safe, or manageable, or responsible, or even adequate, meaning that we will need 'large' amounts of fuel if we are to try to attempt to run the grid on nuclear energy. Very large amounts.

A lot of those who are pro-nuclear mistakenly dismiss people who are anti-nuclear as being uninformed or not in possession of the facts. I'm not 'crying out' that we'd all need a power plant in our backyards. In my well informed opinion, one more nuclear power plant is one too many. We'll all be leaving behind highly toxic waste for our children's children's lives and beyond.

Cameron W said...

From the "Frying Pan of Global Warming into the Nuclear Fire":
Five reasons to oppose the uranium and nuclear industry
– April 2007 By Jim Harding, Ph.D.
Nuclear power is aggressively being promoted as the magic bullet for global warming, and the Canadian Nuclear Association (CNA) is again on our national airways bombarding us with the totally misleading message that nuclear is "clean." Here are five reasons to reject the nuclear propaganda.

1. Nuclear produces greenhouse gases
The nuclear industry is very energy-intensive, using massive fossil fuels, from mining, refining and enriching uranium to transporting and storing nuclear wastes. The most potent of the greenhouse gases - the otherwise banned ozone_depleting CFC's - continue to be released through uranium enrichment. And Saskatchewan's uranium, which accounts for one-third of world production, is enriched in the U.S. using a coal-fired plant.

At best, a nuclear plant is responsible for one-third of the green-house gases of an equivalent gas-fired plant. And an expanding nuclear industry will increasingly be forced to use lower grade uranium, requiring even more fossil fuels along the nuclear fuel system, with less and less net energy gain.

2. Nuclear is a Cancer Industry
Calling nuclear "clean" is Orwellian and obscene. Nuclear power spreads radioactivity in the earth's biosphere, and these radioactive particles will continue to bio-accumulate in the food chain long after nuclear power plants have shut down. Radiation released from the 1986 Chernobyl accident spread cancer and suffering widely, leaving some areas in Europe unsafe for growing food for as long as 600 years.

Fuelling the 435 reactors worldwide leaves hundreds of thousands of tonnes of radon-generating radioactive tailings in mining regions, such as Northern Saskatchewan. Reactors "legally" release hundreds of thousands of curies of radioactive gases and elements yearly. Each reactor produces ever-accumulating radioactive wastes as spent fuel that will have to be managed for millennia. Ever since the industry began in 1945, we have been asked to make a very risky and costly "leap of faith" that the storage problem will be solved. No safe and secure system of storing nuclear wastes in perpetuity has been created.

Cameco and other nuclear proponents tell us a majority of Saskatchewan people support uranium mining for the "economic development." But this is not informed consent. And even if a majority actually supported the export of this carcinogen, this would not make it right.

3. Nuclear is Not Peaceful
A 1,000 megawatt reactor yearly produces 500 pounds of the very carcinogenic element plutonium, which has a half-life of 24,400 years. That means that in 24,400 years - over 800 generations from now - it will still be half as radioactive. Only ten pounds of plutonium is required to make an atomic bomb, and Canada's CANDU reactor has already played a part in nuclear proliferation, most notably in the arms race between India and Pakistan.

Saskatchewan uranium was a primary source for thousands of American and British nuclear weapons in the arms race between 1953_66. Since the 1970 Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) depleted uranium (DU) -left from enriching Saskatchewan's uranium exported for U.S. nuclear power plants - still remains available to the military for producing nuclear weapons, including H-Bombs. DU Bullets used in Yugoslavia and Iraq continue to spread radioactivity and cancer. As the world's major uranium-producing region, Saskatchewan is directly complicit in this low-level nuclear war. Our ever-denying governments and corporations will likely be seen as "war" and "ecological" criminals by future generations. They should be brought to account now.

France is the most nuclear-dependent country at 70% electricity. It has an interlocked military-industrial nuclear system and only recently stopped aboveground nuclear tests and signed the NPT. It relies on Saskatchewan uranium. The largest single source of uranium for the U.S. military-industrial nuclear complex is also Saskatchewan.

4. Nuclear Is Impractical
Nuclear electricity has been massively subsidized by a handful of nuclear weapons powers (mostly France, the U.S, Britain and Russia) which now try to profit through exporting nuclear technology to the industrializing (mostly Asian) world. Yet after 60 years nuclear power only supplies 17 percent of electricity, while coal produces 64 percent of electricity, worldwide. Even if coal dependent China built 30 new nuclear plants, nuclear would produce only 5 percent of its energy, which wouldn't mitigate its rising greenhouse gas emissions.

Also, uranium, like oil, is nonrenewable. If nuclear power could replace all coal presently used for generating electricity, we would run out of accessible uranium in less than a decade. Spending money on expanding nuclear therefore just postpones the inevitable - the need to convert to sustainable, renewable energy. And it squanders capital needed for this transformation, while increasing the burden of toxic radiation and huge decommissioning costs for future generations. This is immoral in every sense of the term.

Conservation, energy efficiency and perhaps "clean coal" are the realistic, cost-effective means of transitioning to sustainable, renewable energy to address global warming. This conversion, however,

continues to be stalled by huge taxpayer's subsidies to nuclear, which distort the energy market. George Bush's 2005 Energy Bill, for example, committed U.S. $13 billion to help the fledgling nuclear industry, something Helen Caldicott rightly calls a "theft from the production of cheap renewable electricity."

According to Ontario's Energy Probe, when you consider debt and interest costs over the last five decades, the Canadian nuclear industry has received $75 billion in public subsidies. Think what this scale of investment could have achieved if it were invested in renewables?

5. There's a Revolution in Renewables
Renewables include wind, solar, biomass, co_generation, geothermal, and kinetic energy. They also include "marine energy" (tidal and wave) which the British government-created Carbon Trust has said could produce 20 percent of the U.K.'s electricity. Amory Lovins of the Rocky Mountain Institute has calculated that in the year 2004 alone, the amount of electricity supplied by renewables (excluding large hydro dams) added 500 times the total capacity worldwide that nuclear contributed. A political and techno-logical revolution towards ecological sustainability is currently underway.

The EU is now committed to reducing greenhouse gases by percent by 2020 through increased reliance on wind and solar power. In Canada, hydro produces 60 percent of our electricity, coal produces 22 percent and nuclear produces 14 percent. Between them, conservation and renewables can phaseout both nuclear and coal. Meanwhile the Harper Federal & Calvert Provincial governments continue with nuclear expansion. With support from the Sask Party,Calvert's NDP is promoting a uranium refinery, and Harper's Conservatives fantasize using nuclear power to increase the extraction of the west's heavy oil - the dirtiest of all oils.

If we continue on this destructive and dangerous path, we could become an international nuclear waste dump. We need a fundamental redirection of energy policy to address global warming and truly contribute to sustainability and world peace. Accepting the deception of the nuclear industry amounts to jumping from the frying pan of global warming into the nuclear fire.

Produced with research from Helen Caldicott's "Nuclear Power is not the Answer" (2006), and Jim Harding's "Canada's Deadly Secret: Saskatchewan Uranium and the Global Nuclear System" (forthcoming, Fernwood, 2007).This was originally produced for the Non_Nuclear Network and can be used by any environmental/ non_nuclear group.

Cameron W said...



Sure, nuclear power is safer than in the past - but we still don't need it

It's true that another Chernobyl couldn't happen in a new reactor, but the case against is as strong as ever

George Monbiot
Tuesday July 11, 2006



Cameron W said...

From The Oil Drum

Uranium Depletion and Nuclear Power: Are We at Peak Uranium?

"...So it looks like Peak Uranium for this reserve estimates arises before 2040 at the latest, even though reserves will still be available beyond 2100..."

Anonymous said...

Interesting. I thought this blog was second on your home page - now it seems to be buried well down.


Cameron W said...

On blogs there's no 'homepage', only the main page where the most recent blog posts are made. I guess one could call it a homepage. Most people have their blogs set up so that every time they make a new post it goes to the top of their blog, so posts are forever being pushed down, and eventually off the main page.

Right now the last post on my main page is one that I wish to keep on the main page, so I've made adjustments in my blog program (blogger) in order to keep it on the first page for a bit longer. Some people have the entire content of their blogs on one page, but have so much content that I try to keep the first page down to a half dozen posts or less.

As for this post, it was shuffled down the page when I moved the post about recent videos of Elizabeth may up on the page. This post will still be on the first page, until my newer posts bump everything here off into the archives that are accessible through the menus on the right of the page.

Hope that explains things.


Anonymous said...

I think the more believeable explanation is that you buried this one down from position two to five so that people wouldn't read negative comments - another form of censure.

Elizabeth's interviews have been up for quite some time. This is well beyond coincidence.

Sorry, don't buy your spin. BS. You haven't changed. Go back to screening or deleting entries.

Good bye, this time for good.

Cameron W said...

What do you mean I haven't changed? Do I know you?

Well, your mistaken, but I guess you're not coming back anyways. I'm sorry to hear that.

If this was your blog I'd expect you to give it whatever colour scheme you like, and I'd think it was appropriate for you to post whenever and on whatever subject you wish... it would be your blog after all. The idea that I tried to hide this post due to critical or nasty comments is silly. If I wanted to hide it, it would not be on my front page, but here it is, a post about nuclear energy that you haven't had much to say about.

My friend, this post isn't buried; it's on my front page. I've told you already that I like a good discussion, and I've been waiting to get one going in this comment section. You're free and welcome to post a comment at any time on my blog, and if that's your idea of censorship I'd like to know what you'd think if I invited you to a party.


Now, would you like to comment on the subject matter of this post? Surely you don't just come here to tell me you don't like me. If that's so, I get it. You can now move on.

Cameron W said...

Once in a while I'll get sudden repeated frequent visits from an anonymous friend who sees fit to avoid the subject matter and make judgmental comments about me as a person and how they don't like my blog, and so on. I've tried very hard to make people feel welcome here, and I do my best to respond to and address most every comment, both supportive and argumentative.

I'm aware that there are some partisan anti-green people out there who will never be supportive of me or my efforts, but being of the 'big tent' philosophy, I don't feel comfortable giving up on them. I will continue to show my visitors the same level of respect I'd hope for if I was visiting their blogs or websites. Hopefully in time the few visitors who are repeatedly trying to disrupt the productive communications here will choose to engage in meaningful debate and they'll cease their efforts to dishearten me through personal attacks.

It certainly shows the character of a person when they choose to remain anonymous while making repeated trolling attacks on how or what another person blogs. It's not difficult to be nasty when you're anonymous.

It is difficult to admit when you're behaving badly, apologize, and try to make amends by changing your behavior.

These comment sections will remain free and open, and I fully expect that my friend who stalks me on my blog anonymously will read this comment and post more in the future.

Cameron W said...

Green Party demands full inquiry into nuclear fiasco

OTTAWA – Following Natural Resources Minister Gary Lunn's appearance before the House Natural Resources Standing Committee, Green Party Leader Elizabeth May, who attended the session, demanded a full public inquiry into the nuclear industry in Canada.

"Despite Minister Lunn's attempts to make the President of the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission the scapegoat for the medical isotope crisis, the real culprits are within AECL. Minister Lunn must resign if he is to take responsibility for his inappropriate interference with a quasi-judicial independent regulator. Canadians need answers to a number of key questions: why was AECL allowed to operate NRU without meeting its license requirements? Are other reactors out of compliance? Why has AECL been unable to open the Maple reactors, designed specifically to manufacture medical isotopes? With billions of dollars received by AECL in tax subsidies, why is the agency allowed to operate without direct oversight of Parliament?"

The Green Party maintains that the mismanagement of this crisis rests primarily with AECL, and secondarily with the Minister. The CNSC is, of all those implicated, the least responsible for the mismanagement of NRU.

Cameron W said...

By Joan Bryden

January 28, 2008


Opposition parties are accusing the Harper government of manufacturing last month's medical isotope crisis.

The parties levelled the accusation Monday based on a report that the government did not speak to alternative European suppliers of isotopes until Dec. 10 - 19 days after the research reactor at Chalk River, Ont., was shut down.


Green party Leader Elizabeth May said she suspects AECL and MDS Nordion kept mum for as long as possible about the extended shutdown because they didn't want to "spook" clients about how insecure the supply of isotopes is from the 50-year-old Chalk River reactor.

"They gambled and they won. They gambled that they could basically play chicken with the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission and that the Harper government would come in on their side and force the reactor to reopen," May said.

She added that AECL and Nordion wanted to "hobble" the nuclear watchdog - and Keen in particular - because it is insisting that any new reactors must meet more onerous international safety standards.

Natural Resources Minister Gary Lunn reiterated the government's contention that Keen was fired because she unnecessarily refused to bend on her safety concerns and "was willing to put the lives of thousands of Canadians in jeopardy."

Full article also found here.

Cameron W said...

Fired regulator suing government

Former nuclear safety boss goes to court over firing

Some interesting comments at the G&M link.

Anonymous said...

To view the 10 minute BBC report go to Scroll down to find the icon titled "WEST" on the right hand side. Click on the link "Watch the latest edition in full" to run the video on your computer.

The following press release is from England; but applies directly to most areas of the United States. There are 104 big power reactors and hundreds of smaller "research" reactors around the US.

All the reactors leak all the time. The National Academy of Sciences has stated that there "is no safe level" of exposure to radiation.

Civic leaders and investors in each community have determined that a few human sacrifices is an appropriate trade for some electricity, though.

Dr. Chris Busby is a part of Green Audit and an acknowledged specialist in radiation exposure and radiation poisoning. I recommend the report to you highly.


Bob Nichols
San Francisco

Leaks and peaks
"Error of judgement" kills babies

Increased infant mortality after radioactive leak points to fault line in radiation risk model

A BBC Inside Out documentary broadcast yesterday (29th February 2008) features new research by Green Audit (sponsored by Stop Hinkley). Leaks of radioactivity from Hinkley Point nuclear power station near Burnham on Sea, Somerset, UK in 1994 preceded a peak in infant mortality. This is based on official health data.

Earlier studies in Burnham on Sea showed increased breast cancer after the accident.
The first leak was caused by corroded pipework. The second was caused by a failure to replace one part of the suspect pipe. When prosecuted for this "error of judgement" in 1995 station operators Nuclear Electric described the leaks as "insignificant" and "at the bottom of the scale".

The conventional radiation risk model predicts no discernible impact on cancer at such levels of exposure. Infant mortality is not officially considered as an effect of radioactive pollution.

Radiation is thought to cause anomalies in the sex ratios of births — the proportion of boy babies born compared with girls. Normally, in England and Wales five percent more boy babies are born. The Green Audit report studied sex ratios in the data for Burnham North, the ward nearest to the most contaminated mud in the study area. The sex ratio was found to be abnormal, with nineteen percent more boys born, similar to the ratios found in the Hiroshima atom bomb studies.

To view the 10 minute BBC report go to Scroll down to find the icon titled "WEST" on the right hand side. Click on the link Watch the latest edition in full to run the video on your computer.

You can see Dr. Julia Verne, the current head of cancer registrations in south west England, claiming she found nothing when she re-tested the data "using the best methods". Her predecessor, Dr. Derek Pheby, disagrees: "This is a serious finding, and most unlikely to have arisen by chance. The likelihood is that something happened environmentally at the beginning of the period in question and it is very likely, although this would be difficult to prove, that the accidental releases of radioactive material in 1994 to which the authors [of the study] draw attention is implicated in this. Clearly this is a serious matter, which warrants further investigation. The South West Public Health Observatory [formerly the SW Cancer Registry] ought to take this seriously."

Julia Verne has denied the existence of radiation effects before and had ignored refutations of her own flawed analyses. Curiously, after her earlier reports, she was appointed to COMARE, the UK Government's advisory Committee on Medical Aspects of Radiation in the Environment.

The Green Audit study is on

A local newspaper report of the 1995 trial of Nuclear Electric is on

Stop Hinkley report
(Stop Hinkley sponsored the Green Audit study.)

Western Daily Press report

Anonymous said...

120% more child leukaemia near German nukes

A German study has found children under five are at 60% greater risk of getting cancer and 120% greater risk of getting leukaemia if they live within five kilometres of a nuclear power station. The case-control study covers the 16 locations of German nuclear power stations over a period of 24 years.
It was initiated by the German section of International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW) and carried out by the Office for Radiation Protection (BfS), which reports to the German environment ministry.

The study shows that the closer children live to a nuke, the more they are at risk of contracting leukaemia.

Anonymous said...

Problems at French nuclear construction site for company seeking Ont. contract