Monday, February 23, 2009

Haldimand "Keep Alberta Nuclear Free"

This is a good read.

Response to response on nuclear plants

Tuesday February 24, 2009
Letter to the Editor,
An earlier letter from Elaine Nowak-Wheeler seems to have really irked Bruce Power, to warrant a rebuttal from their Manager of Media Relations.

I’d like to elaborate on what Elaine said about plans for several nuclear plants in Alberta – though they were not specifically proposed by Bruce Power. It is common knowledge from the Internet that a “White Paper” was put forward to a group of “influential conservatives” in October 2006.

This recommendation was authored by one Cosmos Voutsinos, a mechanical engineer who has worked in the nuclear industry in Canada, the USA and Taiwan. It suggested that the tar sands could best be exploited by construction of a nuclear reactor by the year 2013, with an option for 10 more nuclear reactors between 2019 and 2023, and spaced about 40 kilometres apart across northern Alberta. The report said these could be financed privately or by the government, with the option later for the oil industry to purchase such.

It should be noted that when Bruce Power states it only has plans for one nuclear plant in the Peace Country, such a plant would include four nuclear reactors. Hence the idea that northern Alberta could become home to about 14 nuclear reactors.

The Alberta Government is awaiting the overdue final report of its Expert Nuclear Panel to decide if nuclear power will become part of the provincial energy mix. Given that this panel had no representation from the human health or environmental sectors, we can expect the recommendations will be based on economic criteria, and the need to distract the world from looking at our “dirty tar sands”.

We are all aware that the nuclear industry is conducting an elaborate and expensive propaganda campaign to make us believe that nuclear power will be a “good mix” in our electricity supply in a “bid to combat climate change”, just like the Media Manager says.

If one considers the full nuclear cycle from mining, refining and processing, to construction of nuclear facilities – a plant must operate for 10 years just to break even on its production of greenhouse gas emissions.

The Canadian Nuclear Association is like the Chamber of Commerce of the nuclear world – promoting business for its members. For a nuclear company such as Bruce Power, with over 1,000 employees, the annual fee in CNA is $350,000 which would help pay for big promotional projects.

The Alberta Electric Systems Operator (AESO) has told the public of the 20 year plan in place for this province, to provide electricity from a variety of better alternate forms of energy – there is no need whatsoever to introduce nuclear power to our “mix” of energy.

Nuclear power has had no improvements in its 50 years in Canada so common sense says to let it die a natural death.

Let’s look to modern technology like solar, wind, or small hydro projects, and let’s make an effort to conserve energy so we don’t require immense increases in power generation.

To clarify a second point made by Elaine about there being seven attempts to develop nuclear power in Saskatchewan – it is accurate that these attempts were not by the fledgling Bruce Power – but by various other segments of the nuclear industry.

Saskatchewan people rejected the following: 1965 – a heavy water plant at Estevan; 1971 – a uranium enrichment plant for Estevan; 1973 – another attempt at a heavy water plant in Estevan; 1980 – proposal for a uranium refinery at Warman; 1985 – a Slowpoke reactor at the University of Saskatchewan; 1989 – proposal for a Candu-3 reactor; and 1991 – proposal by Cameco to build a nuclear waste site. (Cameco is now a major shareholder in Bruce Power – who incidentally, is only the operator of the nuclear plants at Kincardine in Ontario. Bruce Power has not built and does not own any nuclear facility anywhere.)

This factual information is from “Canada’s Deadly Secret – Saskatchewan Uranium and the Global Nuclear system” by Dr. Jim Harding of Saskatchewan.

None of the above proposed phases of the nuclear cycle have succeeded in Saskatchewan so it makes one wonder how Bruce Power managed to win favor there – as their study suggests. If it was like their survey last year of residents of the Peace Country, I would question whether it truly represents the people’s opinion.

During the Ipsos Reid survey in the Peace, conducted for Bruce Power, I was contacted seven times for my input – so much for random sampling of the population. And … the results of this survey have not been publicized. To enlarge on the claim by Bruce Power’s Media Manager that there has never been a fatality or an injury to the public due to reactor operations, let us not forget these incidents involving workers at nuclear sites:

1961 – Idaho Falls, USA – 3 killed; 1974- Leningrad, Russia – 3 killed; 1976 – Bohunice plant, Slovakia – 2 killed; 1985 – Balakova, Russia – 14 killed; 1986 – Surrey, USA – 4 killed; 1986 – Chernobyl, Ukraine – 47 workers died, plus thousands of “the public” were afflicted with thyroid cancer; and there are numerous statistics on workers who have been exposed to radiation on site at nuclear plants. (This Info is from Greenpeace International’s website – Switzerland).

I believe most of us who are against nuclear development have a greater fear of the long term health effects like cancer and leukemia, for our children and grandchildren and what will happen to the radioactive waste in the future.

Such concern is not based on rhetoric but on historical data. Good for Elaine Nowak-Wheeler for having the fortitude to speak up to Keep Alberta Nuclear Free! Adele Boucher Rymhs Secretary, Citizens Against Nuclear Development (CAND)President, Coalition for Nuclear Free Alberta (CNFA)


  1. Yes, nuclear energy is far cleaner than fossil fuels, but the real problem is the waste by-products that result directly from the operation of the plant.

    Where this is scary is reflected in the attitudes of the governments responsible. The tar sands represent a motherlode for the Alberta Government, so much so that the provincial government in Alberta has long maintained that the various tar sands projects present no environmental problems whatsoever.

    However, the tale of the tape runs totally contrary to the rosy outlook the provincial government still maintains about the tar sands, and more and more environmental concerns are popping up repudiating all that those who are elected to do things on our behalf promised would not be an issue.

    Now we are staring a similar problem with a similar power industry that has for years whitewashed the issues with nuclear by-products to claim that nuclear energy is cleaner than everything else.

    Let's give windpower a fighting chance first.

  2. Whooee! The nuke proponents can't win unless they lie. If they was to tell the truth about the risks of their operations, nobody'd allow it anywhere. The other night, Bruce CEO Duncan Hawthorne told a Norfolk audience that teh British Green party was changing its anti-nuke stance. That was patently untrue and there is absolutely zero evidence or credibility to that fabrication.
    "A Green Party parliamentary candidate is facing disciplinary action after calling for the reintroduction of nuclear power, which is strictly against party policy.


    Resolute opposition to nuclear power has been a cornerstone of Green party policy for years, as is made clear in the party’s principal policy document, Manifesto for a Sustainable Society, which states unambiguously that a Green government, on taking office, would set a deadline for phasing out all nuclear power."

    He also talked about reprocessing spent nuclear fuel. The Brits are throwing in the towel on a 10 year old reprocessing plant after they've concluded it was a waste of billions and cannot ever reprocess enough fuel to be economical or effective in reducing the quantity of spent fuel building up.

    Another reprocessing plant is being decommissioned just across the lake in West Valley, NY. It's costing NY state taxpayers $27 Billion to decommission the plant since the private owners went bankrupt.

    Boreham continues to tell half truths and glosses over or feigns ignorance when confronted with solid evidence of nuclear dangers, like the German childhood leukemia studies.


  3. If the public could get the truth on this problem with nuclear waste, we'd at least have a real chance to curtail any further production. The huge ponds worldwide that are growing larger in size every day, with there being no way to safely look after them, is unbelievable and scary.I'm using the internet to my advantage to spread the word. A neighbor of mine put up a website in support

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  6. Cosmos VoutsinosMay 28, 2010 at 9:36 PM

    Any one interested in Scientific & Engineering facts can log to and download "Roadmap for a Comprehensive Energy Policy". There, the pros and the cons for each energy option are outlined.