Clean Green Saskatchewan

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.

Ottawa accuses Cameco of multi-million dollar tax dodge

Posted Thu, 09/19/2013 – 00:00

  1. Cameco Canada mines uranium and sells it to Cameco Switzerland at the 1999 price. The uranium never physically travels through Switzerland.
  2. Cameco Switzerland processes the paper to sell uranium at market price to customers around the world.
  3. The profits are recorded and taxes paid in Switzerland.

Saskatchewan may have missed out on $300 million in corporate tax

One of the largest companies in Saskatchewan is in the midst of a multi-million dollar tax court battle with Canada Revenue Agency (CRA).

Cameco has publicly estimated that it could end up owing $800-850 million in Canadian corporate taxes for the years 2008 to 2012, if it loses the case.

Wall silent on Cameco tax move, Murray Mandryk, Star Phoenix

Read the full CBC report

Cameco uses dummy corporation to avoid taxes

Why Does A Canadian Company Pay Its Taxes to Switzerland? Huffington Post article

Nova Scotia now national leader in cutting energy waste – by Tim Weis and Leslie Malone

Posted Wed, 09/18/2013 – 18:46

Published in Halifax Chronicle Herald (Aug. 7, 2013) – These days, there is no shortage of discussion about energy in Canada, but the conversations and headlines typically focus on controversial projects like pipelines and fracking. Rarely do we talk about success stories that are good for the environment, the economy and energy customers.

Amid debates on energy development, Nova Scotia has quietly emerged as a Canadian leader when it comes to reducing energy waste. As discussions about a national energy strategy continue across Canada, more eyes will turn to Nova Scotia for ways to reduce pollution, cut energy costs and drive economic development.

Nova Scotia climbed to the top quickly as a result of a number of best practices in energy efficiency. Though public consultations and engagement, the province has developed a unique energy efficiency program that works, and works well.

Efficiency Nova Scotia is Canada’s only regulated, non-profit energy efficiency utility that is independent from both government and the power generation utility. That means Efficiency Nova Scotia is entirely dedicated to saving energy, and it has a series of accountability measures to monitor its effectiveness.

Equally important is how Nova Scotia funds energy efficiency programs. It costs money to find and stop wasted energy, but if you didn’t save that energy, you would have to pay Nova Scotia Power to generate it. So it makes sense that ratepayers buying electricity also pay to find the savings. That’s why you see it on your electricity bill in the same way you pay for power from coal, natural gas and other resources. The good news is that on average, energy efficiency costs only three cents per kilowatt hour saved, whereas generating coal or natural gas-fired electricity can cost anywhere from six to 15 cents per kilowatt hour.

Not only is energy efficiency a bargain up front, but it also has long-term and large-scale benefits. In fact, Nova Scotia ratepayers are getting a great return on their investments. In 2012, Efficiency Nova Scotia’s programs reduced electricity consumption by enough to power 16,000 homes annually, saving over $150 million in future electricity costs.

This level of savings is equal to a 1.5 per cent reduction in annual electricity demand, which makes the province the current national leader in energy savings. By comparison, electric energy efficiency programs in B.C. saved approximately 0.8 per cent in 2012, while Ontario and Manitoba both reduced demand by 0.6 per cent.

While Nova Scotia leads the way in Canada, it still has room to improve. Massachusetts — considered the leading jurisdiction in North America — recently adopted a three-year plan that requires electric utilities to reduce demand by 2.5 per cent this year, and increasing to 2.6 per cent in 2015. Rhode Island and Vermont have similar targets. In these states, there is broad support from Republicans and Democrats alike for investing in energy efficiency, because it saves ratepayers money while creating jobs and reducing pollution.

Nova Scotia has developed an innovative and successful model — nowhere else in Canada will you find an independent energy efficiency utility that is accountable directly to ratepayers. Efficiency Nova Scotia ensures that you do not have to spend any more than necessary on expensive electricity generation.

Going forward, organizations and governments across the country will keep looking to Nova Scotia for its expertise and leadership in this area. Nova Scotia should celebrate this success, and also take advantage of opportunities to build on it by investing more in efficiency.

Leslie Malone is the Canada program director at ENE, a non-profit organization that researches and advocates innovative policies that tackle our environmental challenges while promoting sustainable economies. Tim Weis is the director of renewable energy and efficiency policy at the Pembina Institute, a national clean energy think tank.