Clean Green Saskatchewan

Cameco continues to infiltrate our public schools

Posted Thu, 01/16/2014 – 00:00

This time Bedford Road Collegiate in Saskatoon, to the tune of $585,000 for a program teaching technical skills to students. It seems increasingly corporations like Cameco are taking over funding obligations and curriculum development. Citizens need to be asking the public school board why science programs designed to get students “excited about mathematics and excited about science” are being funded by the nuclear industry and not the public purse. Maybe if Cameco paid its fair share of corporate taxes in the first place, public schools could be properly funded.

Cameco’s president and CEO Tim Gitzel competes in building the tallest structure out of spaghetti, tape and string at Bedford Road Collegiate on Wednesday.

Star Phoenix article

Canada’s carbon emissions projected to soar by 2030

Posted Tue, 01/14/2014 – 17:32

Stephen Leahy
Tuesday 14 January 2014 15.55 GMT

Canada’s carbon emissions will soar 38% by 2030 mainly due to expanding tar sands projects, according to the government’s own projections.

In a new report (pdf) to the United Nations, the Harper administration says it expects emissions of 815million tonnes of CO2 in 2030, up from 590Mt in 1990. Emissions from the fast-growing tar sands sector is projected to quadruple between 2005 and 2030, reaching 137Mt a year, more than Belgium and many other countries, the report shows.

Worse, Canada is likely under-reporting its emissions. An investigation in 2013 found that Canada’s reported emissions from its natural gas sector, the world’s third largest, could be missing as much as 212Mt in 2011 alone.

“Canada appears to have vastly underestimated fugitive emissions (leaks) from gas exploration,” possibly because of “inadequate accounting methodology ” according to the Climate Action Tracker analysis done by Germany’s Climate Analytics, the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research and Dutch-based energy institute Ecofys.

Bill McKibben, founder of the grassroots climate campaigning organisation, told the Guardian: “Who’d have imagined that digging up the tar sands would somehow add carbon to the atmosphere? That Canada watched the Arctic melt and then responded like this will be remembered by history.”

The Harper government pulled out of the Kyoto Protocol in 2011, promising instead to meet a weaker target of cutting emissions 17% by 2020, against 2005 levels. But an Environment Canada report last autumn revealed emissions would likely be 20% higher in 2020, leading environment minister, Leona Aglukaq, to say “we’re getting results” when asked about the likely gap.

The EU, by contrast, is considering carbon cuts of around 40% by 2030.

The Canadian government has never attempted to implement the policies or slow the rapid expansion of the tar sands that could have enabled Canada to meet its 2020 target, said Mark Jaccard, an energy economist at Canada’s Simon Frasier University and former Harper government appointee.

“Now it’s too late. The government is not telling the truth to Canadians about the climate impacts of its energy policies,” Jaccard told the Guardian. “We in Canada are living an Orwellian nightmare when it comes to our government and climate.”

It is “simply irresponsible for a country like Canada, given the impacts of climate change that are already taking place,” to increase its emissions or even maintain them, said Canadian scientist Corinne Le Quéré of the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research and co-chair of the Global Carbon Project.

Canada has become an “outcast amongst its negotiating peers ” at recent UN climate summits, said Liz Gallagher head of the Climate Diplomacy Programme at E3G, a UK-based NGO.

“It’s a travesty that a prosperous country with such a rich history of international cooperation is now turning its back on the world,” she said.

Original article

Wild rice and high water – A northern harvest under threat

Posted Mon, 01/06/2014 – 00:00

Northern Saskatchewan produces the majority of Canada’s wild rice.

“Wild rice is particular about where, when, and how it grows. The chemistry and acidity of the soil, sediment, and water matter, as do water levels. The plant grows in 60 to 120 centimetres of water, and while some natural water circulation is ideal, significant fluctuation in the water levels during the growing season is not.

“We’re very susceptible to high water…If it comes up at a certain time of the year, it drowns the wild rice. And we’ve had that more often lately. It might have something to do with climate change. I don’t know.” With more than 30 years of experience, Lynn Riese, a long-time wild rice grower and current chairperson of the Saskatchewan Wild Rice Council (SWRC), says he notices changes.

In the past, says Riese, heavy rains and high water would cause damage one year out of every five, on average. “It’s more like two years out of five now [that] we have problems with the higher water flooding, with the water coming up in our lakes.”

Dale Smith, a wild rice harvester, brought a motion to the 2013 Saskatchewan Wild Rice Council conference, proposing the SWRC oppose plans for the storage and transportation of nuclear waste in the northern region…The resolution passed unanimously.

Read the full article by Sandra Cuffe in briarpatch magazine

Nuclear Waste Storage by Gordon Edwards, Canadian Coalition for Nuclear Responsibility (CCNR)

Fri, 12/20/2013 – 00:00

Nuclear proponents often argue that a permanent walk-away solution to the nuclear waste problem is required so as not to burden future generations. If such a solution is not available, however, then in fact future generations have already been burdened. In such a case NRC has a responsibility to address itself to the task of laying out a program of Rolling Stewardship that will make the burden manageable for future generations.

The NRC also has an obligation not to add to that burden unnecessarily. For this reason the NRC policy allowing licensees to use high burn-up fuels should be thoroughly reexamined and reconsidered with an opportunity for full public input.

In any event, the existing DGEIS is inadequate as a basis for NRC rulemaking.

CCNR recommends that NRC elaborate a set of rules and policies related to the concept of Rolling Stewardship as applied to the intergenerational management of irradiated nuclear fuel, including detailed mechanisms for transferring responsibility for managing the wastes from one generation to the next, mechanisms for funding the long-term management of the waste including monitoring, retrieval, recharacterization and repackaging of the waste and reinstructing each successive generation.

CCNR recommends that the current suspension of licensing decisions by

the NRC be continued indefinitely until the NRC has established detailed plans for the long term management of irradiated nuclear fuel that is not based on the unwarranted assumption that a safe permanent walk-away disposal method will become available within a few decades

CCNR finds that it is imprudent for NRC to base its entire analysis on the assumption that a geologic repository will become available within a few decades. To provide a thorough analysis of potential environmental impacts of spent fuel storage, NRC needs to analyze the consequences of an indeterminate delay in the availability of such a geologic repository, as well as the implications of such a repository never becoming available. Anything less than that would be tantamount to basing policy decisions on wishful thinking.

This text was submitted to the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission on December 20, 2013, by Gordon Edwards on behalf of the Canadian Coalition for Nuclear Responsibility. It addresses the nuclear waste question head-on.

Virginia Uranium Inc. is suspending its campaign to attempt to overthrow the 30 year long moratorium on uranium mining in Virginia

Posted Sat, 12/14/2013 – 00:00

Newly elected Governor Terry McAuliffe said during the election campaign that he would not support lifting the state’s decades-long ban on uranium mining and he reaffirmed that position after his election.

Full-scale uranium mining has never been conducted on the East Coast and opponents said Virginia would be a poor place to start, citing its wet climate and the fierce weather that often rakes the state.

The Associated Press article

next time someone tells you that wind turbines kill birds…

Posted Tue, 12/03/2013 – 00:00

You can tell them that nuke and fossil power stations kill more birds per unit of electricity generated. This study estimates that wind farms are responsible for roughly 0.27 avian fatalities per gigawatt-hour (GWh) of electricity while nuclear power plants involve 0.6 fatalities per GWh and fossil-fueled power stations are responsible for about 9.4 fatalities per GWh.

Nuclear power and fossil-fuelled power systems have a host of environmental and wildlife costs as well.

Therefore, as a low-emission, low-pollution energy source, the wider use of wind energy can save wildlife and birds as it displaces these more harmful sources of electricity.

The Avian and Wildlife Costs of Fossil Fuels and Nuclear Power – – Read the full paper on Social Science Research Network: Tomorrow’s Research Today

World Bank says no money for nuclear power

Posted Thu, 11/28/2013 – 00:00

World Bank president: “we don’t do nuclear energy”

Money raised for providing electricity to poorest nations will only go to new power sources United Nations, Nov. 28, 2013

The World Bank and United Nations today appealed for billions of dollars to provide electricity for the poorest nations but said there would be no investment in nuclear power.

Read the full story in the Business Standard

Uranium’s Chilling Effects

Posted Thu, 11/21/2013 – 00:00

There’s not as much fishing as there used to be, says Smith, and the traditional land-based lifestyle has been waning in the community.

But fishers, hunters, trappers, berry pickers, medicine gatherers and wild rice growers still use the lakes and lands in the boreal forest in northern Saskatchewan, at the edge of the Canadian Shield.

The uranium industry is rapidly expanding its sphere of control in northern Saskatchewan, and the impacts of its widening footprint aren’t limited to the lands and waters.

Residents of affected communities are speaking out against an increasing corporate influence that is altering local governance and diminishing opportunities for critical public participation.

The northern village of Pinehouse entered into a Collaboration Agreement with Cameco and Areva on December 12, 2012. English River First Nation (ERFN) followed suit on May 31, 2013.

In exchange for signing agreements with industry, Pinehouse and ERFN have agreed to support Cameco and Areva’s existing operations and existing authorizations,

Read Sandra Cuffe’s full Media Co-op article

“radioactive cleanup” suggests that we can somehow “get rid” of radioactive contamination — but we cannot do so

Posted Mon, 11/11/2013 – 00:00

Gordon Edwards states: Radioactive materials continue to emit atomic radiation at a rate which cannot be influenced by any of the usual factors: heat, pressure, chemical reactions, absorption, dilution, compaction — NOTHING can be used to speed, up, slow down, or stop the process of radioactive disintegration from occurring.

This central fact means that “radioactive cleanup” is a very misleading phrase. It suggests to ordinary folks that we can somehow “get rid” of radioactive contamination — but we cannot do so, at least not in any absolute sense.

All we can do is move the contamination from one place to another.
If you “decontaminate” one site, you must be contaminating another site. The contamination may be repackaged, or consolidated, or managed, or made less available to the environment of living things, but it cannot be eliminated.

Governments and their electorates have been misled by the nuclear industry into believing false notions about nuclear waste.

Laws have been passed, billions of dollars spent, nuclear expansion plans approved, based on the erroneous impression that nuclear scientists know how to “clean up” and “dispose” of nuclear waste. They do not know how to do so, except in a temporary and superficial manner.