Globe and Mail
SAULT STE. MARIE -- The U.S. Energy Department has agreed to delay shipping plutonium to Canada until Oct. 24 in order to hear what the public thinks of the idea.
The move comes two weeks after the U.S. Congress, led by Michigan congressman Bart Stupak, voted to call for public hearings before a final decision on a route is made.
In the current plan, nuclear material containing plutonium from dismantled U.S. warheads would be transported through Sault Ste. Marie to a test reactor at Chalk River in the Ottawa Valley. A similar load is expected to arrive in Cornwall by ship from Russia. It will then be transported by truck to Chalk River.
The Canadian government has offered to burn plutonium from dismantled Russian and U.S. warheads in Ontario Hydro's nuclear reactors, beginning in 2005, as part of Canada's contribution to nuclear disarmament.
City of Nepean
Motion Number 204-99
- September 30, 1999 -
Motion Number 204-99
Moved by Councillor Phillips
Seconded by Councillor Farnworth
AND BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED THAT
the Council of the Corporation of the City of Nepean received representations from Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd., Transport Canada, Natural Resources Canada, and Foreign Affairs and International Trade;
Council also received representations from various environmental groups, experts, residents of the City of Nepean and many other interested public participants;
Council has given serious consideration to the details concerning the shipment of MOX fuel test samples to AECL Chalk River Laboratories via routes through the City of Nepean;
BE IT RESOLVED THAT
the City of Nepean seeks support to prohibit the transportation of MOX fuel test samples through its City;
this resolution be forwarded to the Federal Members of Parliament for Nepean and the Prime Minister.
AND BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED THAT
Township of Nairn and Hyman
Please be advised that council adopted the following motion at their meeting of September 14, 1999:
MOVED BY: Jim Gerhart
SECONDED BY: Len Bona
RESOLVED: that council advise the organization Northwatch that this council objects to the transportation of plutonium in the area and the burning of nuclear waste in the Great Lakes Region and that hearings should be held to allow public input on the matter.
64 McIntyre Street,
Ontario P0M 2L0
New York Times
pages B1 and B12
by Mike Allen
Hartford, Conn. - The owner of the Millstone Nuclear Power Station in eastern Connecticutt admitted today that it had falsified environmental records and deliberately promoted unqualified plant operators. The owner, Northeast Nuclear Energy Company, pleaded guilty to 23 Federal felonies and agreed to pay $10 million in fines, the largest penalty ever for a nuclear plant in this country. The violations took place from 1994 to 1996.
In entering the guilty plea in the United States District Court here, Northeast admitted that hydrazine,a toxic chemical used to reduce corrosion of pipes, had gushed into Long Island Sound at a rate of one gallon an hour during 1996 and that testers at the company had diluted their samples with ocean water to hide the problem from Federal regulators.
Federal prosecutors said today that they were unable to prove environmental harm from the hydrazine.
The company also admitted that after it submitted fraudulent information to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, 12 control room operators received federal licenses. Problems with the training program at Millstone came to light in 1996 when six of seven candidates for control-room operator licenses failed Federal exams, prosecutors said.
In presenting evidence in court today, the prosecutors said the corner-cutting could have put the plant in the hands of workers unable to prevent a crisis.
The investigation, previously secret, came to light in court today when the company waived indictment and pleaded guilty. As part of the plea agreement, the company was put on three years probabtion, which allows prosectors to monitor operations more closely.
The Millstone case is just the second time that a nuclear power plant owner had been charged with felonies. Fifteen years ago, after the 1979 accident at the Three Mile Island plant near Harrisburg, Pa.,which began the industry's plunge from public acceptence, Metropolitan Edison pleaded guilty to falsifying records at the plant.
Officials at Millstone said they hoped today's pleas would end the long period in which the plant has been considered a national symbol of mismanagement in the nuclear power industry. Millstone had held the previous record for a fine leveled at against a nuclear power plant -- $2.1 million in 1997. In 1986 [this is a typo, 1996 is the real date] a Time magazine cover story treated the plant as an egregious example of lax enforcement of Federal regulations.
The three reactors in Waterford, Conn., were shut down under orders from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission because of problems with design, safety and paperwork. One of the three reactors is being decommissioned, while the other two have been restarted and are producing energy.
Since 1996, the utility has hired new executives and taken steps that it says would prevent violations in the future. Federal prosecutors, while describing the old offenses in harsh terms, said in today's proceedings that they had confidence in the new managers.
After the large number of Millstone candidates flunked their licensing tests, investigators discovered that they had not put in the required number of training hours nor mastered the maneuvers that Millstone had falsely claimed, the Government charged. Some of the candidates have since been retrained and are now on the job, the company said.
Federal prosecutors said economic pressure brought in by deregulation of the nuclear industry had contributed to the violations. "Rather than treat the problem," said Joseph C. Hutchinson, an assistant United States attorney, "the shortcut was taken so there was some economic saving."
Mr. Hutchinson said complaints by communitty groups and workers at the plants had led to the three year Federal investigation.
Stephen C. Robinson, the United States Attorney for Connecticutt, said of the agreement, "No matter who you are, no matter how big or how powerful, if you endanger our citizens, if you violate the law, if you lie to regulators and choose profits over the public, we will come after you."
Michael G. Morris, the chairman and chief executive of Northeast Utilities, the parent of Northeast Nuclear, did not dispute a statement that the violations were deliberate, but said the public had never been in danger. As he left the courthouse today, Mr. Morris attributed the violations to "inattention to detail" and "inadvertence," not deregulation. "The whole notion that you react differently in a competitive marketplace is true, but it doesn't cause this kind of behavior," he said. He said the lesson for plant owners was "it's better to operate within all the laws and the requirements because these kinds of fines, these kinds of embarrasments, will come your way if you don't."
Mr. Morris was hired in 1997, after the offenses took place. Nevertheless, Judge Robert N. Chatiny called him to the front of the court this morning and told him sternly he hoped the plea reflected a committment by the company "to be a better citizen in the future than it was in the past."
Judge Chatigny added that despite the efforts of those who work in the public interest, "Ultimately, the public has to depend on the good faith, honesty and integrity of the people who manage our large companies."
A spokesman for Northeast Utilities, Mary Jo Keating, said the plea agreement should help with the plans to sell the plant, as required by state legislation deregulating the industry. "The worst thing in the market is any kind of uncertainty," she said from the company headquarters in Berlin, Conn.
David M. Pittinos of the Toxics Action Center, an environmental group in West Hartford, said today's plea vindicated residents who had been worried about mismanagement and safety at the plant. The admissions were especially damning, he said, because "these companies typically offer to do just about anything to weasel out of criminal charges and reach some out-of- court settlement."
In addition to the 23 counts involving the nuclear plant, another subsidiary, Northeast Utilities Service Company, pleaded guilty to two felonies resulting from the use of a fire hose to dilute water samples taken at Devon Station,a coal-fired power plant in Milford. Prosectors said that their case against the service company was complete, but that their investigation was continuing and that individuals might be prosecuted.
As part of the $10 million in fines, Northeast Utilities agreed to donate $1 million to endow a business ethics chair at the University of Connecticutt in Storrs, and $650,000 to Riverfront Recapture, a Hartford group, for its leadership camp for disadvantaged city youth.
The agreement specified that the gifts were not tax deductible. The company said that it did not intend to pass the costs on to customers.
Axor launches country's largest windmill
project in deal with Hydro-Quebec
The largest windmill farm in Canada was officially opened yesterday on its windy site on the south side of the St. Lawrence River near the Gaspe Peninsula.
The Nordais project has 133 giant wind turbines, each one 55 metres tall, with a total capacity of 100 megawatts of power, to be sold to Hydro-Quebec during a long-term contract.
Axor says the Nordais has enough capacity to power 10,000 houses in Quebec, all heated by electricity.
Before Nordais, Canada's total installed windmill capacity was 24 megawatts, most of it from a wind farm in southern Alberta.
Yvan Dupont, president of project- builder Axor, told 200 people at a ceremony that harnassing the wind as an energy source "is experiencing worldwide growth comparable to that of the cellular phone and Internet industries."
The Nordais project is selling its energy for 5.8 cents a kilowatt hour, which Dupont said is a record low in windmill production, although Hydro-Quebec claims it can develop hydroelectricity even more cheaply.
He said the output from Nordais could eliminate more than 250,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide a year by displacing the same production from an oil-fired generator. This will help Canada meet the greenhouse gas-reduction targets agreed to at the Kyoto Conference, he said.
Dupont said the project has helped develop local expertise in wind energy, and he urged the Quebec and Canadian governments to provide tax breaks for more investments in wind farms so Axor can build more.
He said that for wind energy to become widespread, it will require government support like that given in the United States and several European and Asian countries.
Dupont said all forms of energy get some form of government support, including extension of natural gas pipelines and tax cuts for oil prospecting in Western Canada.
The Nordais project cost $160 million.
Axor's partners are Hydro-Quebec, NEG Micon of Denmark, which supplied the wind turbines, and Nichimen Corp. of Japan.
The four together invested $50 million in the project, the Quebec government $5.6 million, while insurance companies and pension funds financed the rest.
NORTH BAY -- North Bay city council has joined other Ontario communities demanding a halt to a controversial shipment of nuclear fuel until "meaningful and thorough" public hearings are held.
The two-page resolution passed by a 9-2 vote, drawing a long round of applause from more than 20 audience members at Monday night's meeting.
It comes less than a week after councillors attended a local briefing session with representatives from the four federal departments involved.
The Ontario New Democratic Party has also come out against using Northern and eastern Ontario as a plutonium shipping route.
Following a visit to Sault Ste. Marie last week by federal leader Alexa McDonough and provincial leader Howard Hampton, members of the Ontario NDP provincial council passed a resolution Sunday rejecting the plan as it currently stands.
Sault MPP Tony Martin called Ottawa's lack of an environmental assessment and public consultation "heavy-handed and arrogant."
"When many other jurisdictions in the world are lessening their reliance on nuclear fuel, why is our federal government attempting to extend our use of it with weapons-grade plutonium here in Canada?" Martin said in a statement.
The NDP provincial council further passed resolutions urging the federal government to set up a public consultation process
Remnants of Cold War weapons worry communities;
Cities demand nuclear hearings
Two city councils have made official the growing unease of Ontario communities that will be exposed to two shipments of plutonium -- one the remains of U.S. nuclear warheads and the other from Russian weapons.
The city councils of Sault Ste. Marie and North Bay have both passed motions calling for "meaningful and thorough" public hearings before the nuclear material travels along the province's highways en route to Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd.'s nuclear testing facility at Chalk River in the Ottawa valley.
"Plutonium is the most dangerous substance on the surface of this earth because it is a weapons-usable material," said Sarah Campbell, the North Bay councillor who initiated that city's motion.
The two shipments of weapons-grade plutonium are expected to arrive this fall or winter.
Assuming Transport Canada approves the routes, the U.S. plutonium will be trucked across the border at Sault Ste. Marie and will pass by Sudbury and North Bay on the way to Chalk River.
The Russian plutonium will be shipped along the St. Lawrence Seaway, passing Quebec City and Montreal, before landing at Cornwall, Ont., where it will be loaded on to a truck and driven past the outskirts of Ottawa before reaching the atomic facility.
Canada agreed to accept test samples of plutonium from dismantled nuclear weapons to see if they can be processed by AECL for use in CANDU nuclear reactors.
The test is designed to use the plutonium from surplus nuclear weapons as nuclear fuel, which renders it useless for future weapons production, said Larry Shewchuk, spokesman for AECL. If Russia was left to burn off its own plutonium, it would take 25 years to deplete the supply of potentially dangerous material.
As news of the shipments spreads, people in several communities are growing alarmed, fearing accidents or theft. Mr. Shewchuk dismisses the concerns as "fear of the unknown. From a theft point of view, it is not an issue. Sophisticated terrorists want pure plutonium and you need about four kilograms of pure plutonium to make a weapon. This shipment is only 120 grams each. It is not enough to make a weapon and it is not pure.
"It can't explode, it can't spill. It can't catch fire. The radiation from it [in its current form] cannot penetrate your skin."
The government is holding a series of open houses in some communities where the trucks will pass to explain the procedure. Members of the public have until Oct. 15 to bring concerns to the attention of Transport Canada, said Karen Proude, a senior analyst with the ministry.
Ms. Campbell said the experiment could lead to tonnes of plutonium coming to Canada. "There is no good answer to the storage of this material. How long will this spent fuel exist here and be monitored? How will it be secured? This stuff has toxicity to it for a phenomenal period of time."
North Bay Nugget
NORTH BAY (Canadian Press) - North Bay city council has demanded a halt to a controversial shipment of nuclear fuel until "meaningful and thorough" public hearings are held.
The two-page resolution passed by a 9-2 vote, drew applause from more than 20 audience members at a council meeting on Monday night.
It comes less than a week after councillors attended a briefing session with representatives from the four federal departments involved.
Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., has also passed a similar motion asking for public hearings.
The five-kilogram mixture of plutonium and uranium will be trucked from Los Alamos, N.M., later this fall.
North Bay lies along the 600-kilometre route between the border crossing at Sault Ste. Marie and the Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd. facility in Chalk River, Ont.
A similar load is expected to arrive in Cornwall in eastern Ontario by ship from Russia, making the last leg of the trip to Chalk River by truck.
The fuel is known as MOX, or mixed oxide, and scientists believe it will burn in Canadian reactors, thus destroying weapons-grade plutonium.
The federal government has offered to burn plutonium from dismantled Russian and American warheads in Ontario Hydro's nuclear reactors, beginning in 2005, as part of Canada's contribution to nuclear disarmament.
North Bay City Council
by the City of North Bay
W I T H R E S P E C T T O
M I X E D O X I D E ( M O X )
F U E L S H I P M E N T S
AND FURTHER BE IT RESOLVED
AND FURTHER that this Council urges the Citizens of North Bay and Northern Ontario to make known to Transport Canada its opposition to the proposed transport of MOX fuel by commenting
the Government of Canada on September 2, 1999 without prior consultation with the municipalities directly affected and without environmental or other public hearings, announced that it will accept shipments of mixed oxide fuel pellets (known as MOX) from the United States of America and the Russian Federation in order to determine the feasibility of using MOX fuel for use in CANDU reactors; and
MOX is made using surplus weapons-grade plutonium from dismantled nuclear warheads; and
the intended route for the MOX fuel shipment from the United States is to enter Canada by truck at Sault Ste. Marie and proceed east along Highway 17 through Sudbury and North Bay to the Atomic Energy of Canada Limited's research facility and reactor at Chalk River; and
the proposed Northern Ontario route along Highway 17 is principally a two lane roadway subject to sudden closures due to severe weather conditions and on which truck and automobile collisions are a common occurrence, frequently resulting in road closures; and
the proposed initial shipment through would involve 120 grams of plutonium, mixed with uranium to form mixed oxide fuel; with the larger proposal being to accept 50 tonnes of mixed oxide fuel from each of the United States of America and the Russian Federation; and
plutonium is an extremely hazardous material which is highly radioactive and acceptance of the waste would result in long term disposal in Canada at a substantial and undefined cost with long term risks, given that the half-life of plutonium is 24,900 years; and
there is a risk of accident, terrorist attack or other miscue during the transportation of the MOX along the Highway 17 corridor which could result in unacceptable and long term harm to residents of North Bay and / or residents of the North Shore of Lake Huron; and
according to studies by the United States Department of Energy weapons plutonium disposition can be carried out more quickly, more safely and at less expense by means of immobilization, a technology which combines plutonium with highly radioactive waste in glass form; and
the Government of Canada has yet to disclose how it will address the environmental, health and safety concerns of the citizens of Northern Ontario, or how municipalities can reasonably expect to meet additional costs of police security or emergency response; and
the December 1998 report of the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade (SFAIT), which is a Standing Committee of the Canadian Parliament, recommended to the Government of Canada that "the government reject the idea of burning MOX fuel in Canada because this option is totally unfeasible";
THE COUNCIL OF THE CORPORATION
OF THE CITY OF NORTH BAY
that it is opposed to the Government of Canada's current proposal to ship MOX fuel using the Highway 17 corridor and through the City of North Bay, given the lack of prior consultation with affected communities, as well as the costs, safety and security dangers and environmental risks associated with transportation and use of MOX fuel, for this and future generations;
that this Council calls upon the Government of Canada to postpone any shipment of MOX fuel until such times as it has held meaningful and thorough public hearings in Northern Ontario communities affected by the transport of this material;
that this Council believes that the fabrication and use of MOX fuel will only exacerbate the problems of nuclear proliferation and radioactive contamination of the environment, given that safer alternative methods for the disposal of weapons-grade plutonium are available;
Parallex Test Division,
Place de Ville, 9th Floor,
330 Sparks Street, Ottawa,
Ontario, K1A 0N5
AND FURTHER BE IT RESOLVED
that this Council urges the Citizens of North Bay and Northern Ontario to make known to Transport Canada its opposition to the proposed transport of MOX fuel by commenting
THAT copies of this resolution be forwarded to
the Environment and
Foreign Affairs and International Trade,
the Chiefs of Ontario and
the Union of Ontario Indians, and
- North Bay Church reps urge City Council to give leadership on MOX.
To Mayor Burrows and
Members of City Council
City of North Bay.
First, a sincere thank you for the generous amount of time you have given lately, as a Council and as individuals, to consider the important matter of the proposed MOX shipments through our region.
Obviously, there is a practical dimension to this question in terms of how to transport the fuel safely.
In addition, there is a significant moral dimension. We wish to invite you to consider it as well. Especially in light of the work of the World Council of Churches and its member bodies which include both the mainline Protestant churches as well as the Roman Catholic Church.
This letter is to support you in offering the moral leadership many are seeking from you as elected community leaders. In terms of the larger issue -- beyond the transport question -- these MOX shipments have forcefully placed a major matter before local people. We believe that, in this instance, there is the opportunity for the City Council to call the community, locally and otherwise, to a higher value.
As part of a widely-held concern about global warming and the destruction of the environment in other ways, the world's churches have been engaged for years in an effort to persuade government and industry to shift their energy policy away from an emphasis on large-scale fossil fuel and nuclear energy generation projects to focus on so-called "soft-path" options including conservation, increased energy efficiency and the development of renewable alternate energy sources.
The issues of nuclear energy and the disposal of nuclear waste (to say nothing of the military applications) have been carefully researched and considered by experts working for the above church bodies for decades. Yes, there is an acknowledgement in these circles that for some time the energy required will come from a mix of sources, including nuclear.
Policy makers from 1942 to 1950 committed society to a nuclear future. However, in recent decades there has been a growing consciousness -- reflected in social and government policy -- of the need to reduce the world's reliance on nuclear fuel, relieving future generations of a constantly-compounding problem. Aboriginal peoples reflect this consciousness clearly in their conviction that each person is responsible for seven generations.
The meeting with federal officials this past week at the Best Western in North Bay left some impressions. We offer them to you.
There are, indeed, valid concerns about the practical aspects of the transportation of these goods. They have been directly addressed, although one comment made after the meeting Tuesday afternoon was a concern that someone skilled in driving an eighteen wheel tractor-trailer in New Mexico might be quite challenged in an icy December storm at night in Northern Michigan or Northern Ontario. Seeking assurances about that is something North Bay City Council might consider.
There was some support at the meeting last Tuesday afternoon for helping to reduce the stockpile of weapons-grade plutonium in both the United States and Russia. It sounds admirable, at least on the surface.
The federal panel which visited North Bay offered assurances there was no direct cost to Canadian taxpayers (the U. S. Department of Energy is going to foot the bill). It was announced these tests in Chalk River indicated Canada's willingness to help the wider world to get rid of such dangerous goods.
We submit the Canadian government's motives are not that altruistic when it states that any later destruction of MOX fuel must be done commercially, without any taxpayer subsidy. It is at that point we believe a well-founded concern is most evident, that a steady supply of such fuel would allow the re-opening of the Bruce reactor, something many feel would be regressive.
When asked how long [one must store] the waste produced by the MOX tests and the additional waste from further possible commercial destruction of future fuel shipments, one of the Ottawa officials indicated the additional waste generated would be dangerous for 25,000 years.
Who will pay for that storage?
We do not believe that [the MOX proposal] is relieving future generations of anything. It would be a direct cost to Canadian taxpayers.
That is in addition to the hundreds of millions of dollars for cleaning up American toxic waste on former U.S. military sites throughout Canada).
We believe this matter is more than a simple one of transport. And even though the jurisdiction issue may be at another level, it is our conviction that a body such as the North Bay City Council can still make a difference if it objects publicly to these shipments.
We are very aware of the responsibility you bear in your role as Council members. Our hope is that this letter helps you to understand the views of at least one part of the constituency you serve.
Thank you for taking these thoughts into account. We wish you well in your deliberations.
Rev. Kathleen McCallum,
President of Manitou Conference Executive
Rev. Jim Sinclair,
Secretary of Manitou Conference
- Few attend information session on plutonium shipment.
by Rob O'Flanagan
If the general public is concerned about the shipment of weapons-grade plutonium through Sudbury, that concern is not showing.
An information session held Wednesday at Tom Davies Square was well attended by local police and government officials, but only two members of the public turned out.
"I don't agree with anything that's radioactive," said Bobbi Aubin, as she carried a hand-painted sign reading "We Don't Own Mother Earth!" on one side and "Stop Killing Me," on the other.
"If it (MOX fuel) is so safe, why don't they leave it where it came from," she said. "Why are they so eager to get rid of the stuff?"
These were the type of questions officials with Atomic Energy of Canada Limited, Transport Canada and Natural Resources Canada were prepared to answer, said Brian Moore.
Moore, of Atomic Energy of Canada, came to Sudbury to demonstrate how the MOX fuel bundles are to be shipped.
"People want to know what the risks are, why we are doing the testing of the fuel at Chalk River and what precautions we are taking with the shipment," he said. "Our bottom-line message is: 'This is a safe shipment.' "
That's why Richard Cummins of Sudbury attended the meeting.
"I came because I don't know anything about it," Cummins said. "I won't know if I'm worried until I hear what these people have to say. But I feel a lot more secure that this stuff is being shipped in trucks in these drums, rather than by rockets from Russia.
"If they were arriving in rockets, I'd get out of here. But they're telling me this stuff is no more dangerous than a gasoline truck coming through town."
Nuclear disarmament is necessary, Cummins said, and weapons-grade plutonium must be disposed of.
"They are trying to de-activate the stuff. If it is still usable as fuel in Chalk River, I think that's for the best."
But Aubin said she doesn't want to be around when the MOX fuel passes through the region.
"They say they have fool-proof containers, but are they really safe? Is anything really safe in this world?"
- Sault [Michigan] City Commission opposes plutonium shipment.
Soo Evening News
by Scott Brand
SAULT STE. MARIE - ... Opposition to future plutonium shipments highlighted Monday's meeting of the Sault Ste. Marie [Michigan] City Commission....
The commission unanimously approved a resolution calling for the postponement of any plutonium shipments through the area until a series of public hearings could be held on this issue. Copies of the approved resolution appear destined for President Bill Clinton, Governor John Engler, and a host of other agencies and associations, including all municipalities and local government entities along the I-75 corridor.
- Nanoose Court Action continues although Ottawa has taken possession.
by Connie Fogal
The Human Rights Institute of Canada, Archbishop Lazar Puhalo of the Ukrainian Orthodox Archdiocese of Canada, Citizens Concerned About Free Trade, Rose-Marie Larsson, Defence of Canadian Liberty Committee, and Constance Fogal were in B.C. Supreme Court September 21,1999 to hear judgement on their application to set aside the transfer of the Nanoose Bay lands from BC to the federal government.
The good news : once again the court held that we , the citizens have standing, i.e. the right to be in court to make the challenge.
The bad news : the Court held that it is not possible to get an injunction against the Crown; that to do so is prohibited by the Crown Proceedings Act. The Court referred to 3 cases that followed this principle of law, including the Delgam Uukw case. As a result the judge dismissed our application.
The good news: The Court did not order costs against us today. It ordered costs in the cause.
The bad news : The final Court could order costs against us for this application.
The good news : Our lawyers have already tonight researched the question of this technical reason for dismissing us and have found case law that says such a technicality does NOT apply in constitutional cases where the Crown has acted unlawfully. The judge is wrong in law.
English translation of all of this : Mr Justice Bauman dismissed our case on a technicality saying there is law that says you cannot get an injunction against the government. Our lawyers have found other case law that says : yes, we can; in cases based on the Canadian constitution where the government has acted unlawfully; i.e., contrary to our constitution.
Our fundamental case is that the federal government acted unlawfully in this expropriation; it did what our Constitution says it cannot do. This means we have grounds to appeal this interim decision of Justice Bauman.
Where does this leave us? Still in the trenches. Before we even get to court on the fundamental issue, the core of the case, we must take another step to appeal this decision of Bauman.
Why should we appeal? Why not give up and go away? Because no one else is going to stand up for us. Because what the federal government is doing is wrong. Because the direction the world has taken is harmful. Because the ease with which the federal government is throwing away our rights should not go unchallenged. Because no one else is going to do the fight for us.
We are taking on the whole apparatus of the state in this kind of a case, just like we are doing in our lawsuit against the MAI. (We await a hearing date on our appeal in our MAI case). Indeed we are taking on the whole apparatus of the real government : the unelected government that dictates to our elected government. It is not going to be easy. It has not been easy. It will not get easier.
Why not give up the judicial arm of this struggle and go back to the political arm? There is no political party currently elected that is supporting our Nanoose lawsuit. We have been in two courts to try to get an injunction:
The BC provincial government only issued the first starting papers, (the writ), which means nothing without the second set of papers, (the statement of claim).
The province has one whole year to sit on their first papers and do nothing. The fed lawyers tried to use the fact the BC government writ exists to throw us out of court. They did not succeed on that point. We have not been thrown out of court, i.e., our basic case is still before the court and will continue through the various steps.
(These applications were interim applications, i.e applications to get an order to tide us over until the full case can be heard. We were not able to get interim injunctions, but that does not affect the hearing of the full case finally. And we have filed our appeal in the federal court over the federal court refusal of an injunction there. We can appeal this BCSC interim order for rejecting an injunction there.)
Why bother? Because it matters. We can be cynical, discouraged, angry. We can give up and retire to the cabbage patch and await the cabbage moths. Or we can hunker down, put our heads into the wind, and keep going.
We still have lots of room to manoeuvre. La lutte continue. Riria! Riria! Onward!
"The constitution of Canada does not belong either to Parliament, or to the Legislatures; it belongs to the country and it is there that the citizens of the country will find the protection of the rights to which they are entitled."
Supreme Court of Canada
A.G. of Nova Scotia
and A.G. of Canada,
S.C.R. 1951 pp 32
- Ottawa officials to meet Sault city reps on topic of plutonium shipment.
by Dan Bellerose
The city and the federal government have reached agreement on the date for a public forum into the proposed transportation of weapons-grade plutonium through Sault Ste. Marie en route to Chalk River. Mayor Steve Butland announced Wednesday that the forum the city had demanded on the trucking of mixed oxide fuel (MOX) through the region has been scheduled for Oct. 6, beginning at 6 p.m., at the Civic Centre.
The city had been tentatively scheduled as the fourth-and-final stop on a government tour of the region by four federal ministries and agencies this Friday.
The tour, which included earlier visits this week to North Bay and Sudbury for open houses and briefings of municipal politician, concludes today with a five-hour session at the Blind River Community Centre, beginning at 3 p.m.
The October meeting "will provide all who wish to comment or ask questions on this controversial issue to be accommodated," said Butland, in a press release. He added that details on the forum will be made available next week.
Butland failed to return telephone inquiries Wednesday.
The forum will be held just six days before Transport Canada's deadline for public feedback on the proposed route.
There was feedback Wednesday from New Democratic Party leaders. Both federal leader Alexa McDonough and provincial leader Howard Hampton condemned the testing plan in a news conference at the International Bridge in the Sault.
Last week, city council passed a resolution calling for the government of Canada to postpone any shipment of MOX fuel along the Highway 17 corridor until meaningful and thorough public hearings are conducted in affected Northern Ontario communities.
Twenty-one days ago, Lloyd Axworthy, Minister of Foreign Affairs, announced in a foreign policy initiative that the Sault would be the entry point for MOX fuel originating in Los Alamos, N.M., and bound for Chalk River, Ont., in the Ottawa Valley.
The shipment would contain about five kilograms of the fuel, including about 120 grams (4.2 ounces) of weapons-grade plutonium from dismantled U.S. atomic warheads.
A similar-sized shipment of MOX, containing 97-per-cent uranium oxide and three-per-cent plutonium oxide, would arrive in Cornwall by ship from Russia and be trucked to Chalk River.
Atomic Energy Canada Ltd., which has entered into contract agreements with the U.S. Department of Energy and government authorities in the Russian Federation, will assess the operating performance of the fuel at its Chalk River laboratory.
Testing could take as long as two years. It could lead to the U.S. and Russia converting plutonium from their nuclear weapons programs into fuel to generate electricity in nuclear reactors.
NDP leaders in town speak at the Industrial, Wood and Allied Workers of Canada annual constitutional convention attacked Ottawa's plan.
"The federal government cannot decide unilaterally to make Sault Ste. Marie the point of entry into Canada of American plutonium," said McDonough.
She described the proposal as grossly irresponsible.
"Ottawa cannot on its own decide that the International Bridge should become the Internuclear Bridge.
"The Liberals must ask Canadians now whether it is appropriate to import plutonium from nuclear weapons at all."
Hampton echoed McDonough's demand for full environmental assessment and public hearings.
"Northern Ontario will become the wastebucket for a nuclear industry that's in trouble throughout the world," he said, urging Ontario Premier Mike Harris to speak out on matter.
"Everyone's keeping quiet because the federal Liberals and the provincial PCs have a long-term strategy for Northern Ontario to become a plutonium dumping ground.
"The plutonium that isn't consumed inside the reactors will remain highly radioactive and become the responsibility of Canada for storage."
"Ontario is already the No. 1 toxic dump site in North America and do we want to become the No. 1 nuclear dump as well?" said McDonough.
"Plutonium will be burned for some 28 years (provided testing is successful and larger shipments imported), and the nuclear waste will remain a threat to our environment for at least 2,800 years, yet the federal government has given Canadians only 28 days to express their concerns, and even then they are limited to transportation issues only.
"Canadians must be truly consulted about the plutonium importation project, communities along the route must have a real say, and an assessment of the long-term environment risk must be undertaken."
Among the fears, according to information obtained by McDonough from AECL, is that if a truck transporting plutonium caught fire, radioactive particles could become airborne and people located downwind, as far as 80 kilometres away, could be exposed to radiation.
The Algoma-Manitoulin and Sault NDP riding associations have forwarded a resolution to their provincial council for discussion. It calls for the provincial NDP to reject the plutonium-shipping plan and urges the federal government to put in place an adequate consultation process open to the public to discuss any further possibility of such shipments.
As well, the resolution asks the Ontario NDP to urge the federal government not to transport weapons-grade plutonium through First Nations territories without prior negotiations with, and approval from the First Nations along the route.
- Radioactive ammunition litters seabed off Halifax.
by Canadian Press
Six tonnes of radioactive ammunition litter the ocean floor off Nova Scotia in an area frequented by fishing boats, the navy confirmed Wednesday.
The navy said its warships fired thousands of slugs made of depleted uranium into a target range off Halifax up until a year ago.
It said the ammunition poses no risk to fishermen or anyone who eats seafood caught in the area off nearby Eastern Passage.
"From our viewpoint we have not dumped nuclear waste, that's stretching it," Lt.-Cmdr. Bill McKillip, a navy spokesman, told CBC-TV.
Depleted uranium is a low-level radioactive byproduct of the nuclear industry that is used to make ammunition hard enough to pierce armour.
The slugs were fired by six-barrelled Vulcan-Phalanx anti-missile guns that were installed on warships just prior to the Persian Gulf War.
"We had no idea any of this stuff was radioactive," said a surprised Wayne Eddy, an Eastern Passage fishermen.
Depleted uranium was widely used in anti-tank shells during the Gulf War and has been blamed for causing cancer in Iraqi children. It also has been linked to the so-called Gulf War syndrome, a mysterious illness that inflicts many Gulf War veterans.
McKillip said there are no plans to clean up the slugs or test to see if radioactive material has entered the food chain.
- Canadian navy fired radioactive rounds off Canada's coasts: depleted uranium.
HALIFAX - The Canadian Navy has been depositing hundreds of kilograms of low-level radioactive waste on the ocean floor off the coast of Nova Scotia and Vancouver Island, CBC's The National reported yesterday.
The waste is in the form of depleted uranium bullets, fired during training by naval warships over the past 10 years, CBC said.
The radioactive rounds were fired from shipboard Phalanx guns, high-velocity radar-guided weapons systems primarily used to protect warships from incoming missiles or attacking aircraft by firing thousands of bullets a minute into the air.
The Canadian Navy began using the American-built Phalanx system about 10 years ago, first installing it on vessels bound for service in the Gulf War. The guns were later installed on all Canadian frigates.
Until recently, each round from the Phalanx gun was tipped with depleted uranium, an ultra-dense substance that allows bullets to pierce even thick armour.
CBC reported that the navy fired up to six tonnes of the mildly radioactive bullets into Canadian waters, mostly off the east coast of Nova Scotia.
Depleted uranium projectiles were widely used during the Gulf War, and many of the artillery and tank slugs still litter the deserts of Iraq.
CBC said some medical experts have blamed it for increased cancer rates and it has also been linked to health problems experienced by some Gulf War veterans.
The Canadian Forces stopped using depleted uranium about a year ago because a non-radioactive replacement was developed, said Lieutenant-Commander Bill McKillip, a spokesman for the military.
"They fall to the sea floor and sink into the bottom," he told CBC TV. "Very slowly they will corrode ... and go back into the soil."
But because each of the slugs weighs only about 70 grams, it would be "practically impossible" to clean up, he said.
Wayne Eddy, a lobster fisherman who fishes the waters where the slugs were fired, says the military never told anyone they were firing radioactive bullets into the water.
"They told us for years that they were just steel shells, steel-jacketed shells," Mr. Eddy told CBC. "I mean who ever thought we were going to have nuclear waste in our backyard?"
The Armed Forces said that seafood taken from the areas where the depleted uranium shells were left is perfectly safe.
- Tons of radioactive uranium litter the ocean floor from military testing.
CBC National News
by Rob Gordon
Good evening. We begin tonight with a secret at the bottom of the ocean. One that is highly controversial and potentially dangerous.
It's about depleted uranium -- essentially nuclear waste. Tonnes of depleted uranium lying on the ocean floor off Canada's east and west coasts. Most of it is off Nova Scotia.
It's from ammunition used by the Canadian Navy in weapons tests. Rob Gordon broke this story tonight for CBC Halifax. Here's his story.
For decades now, fisherman along Nova Scotia's eastern shore have shared the coastal waters with the Canadian Navy. It's here that the Navy tests its weapons. It's in the same water that fisherman set their lobster traps.
About ten years ago a new weapon appeared off this coast. It's called the faylanks gun.
Just before Canada's Navy left for the Gulf War, the high speed deadly accurate gun was welded aboard several warships. The Navy said it provided the best possible defence against Iraqi missiles. Since then it's been fitted to all Canadian frigates.
This is a faylank shell. Up until a year ago the tip contained depleted uranium or DU -- DU is extremely tough stuff. It can pare through the thickest of armour. It's also radioactive.
Over the past 10 years the Navy has fired up to six tones or 57 hundred kilograms of radioactive depleted uranium into Canadian waters.
The use of depleted uranium is controversial. During the Gulf war, thousands of rounds were fired and still litter the desert. Some medical experts believe it has spiked cancer rates in Iraq. It's even been linked to Gulf War syndrome among veterans.
Rosalie Bertell is an environmentalist and co-author of a book on depleted uranium.
I really think that this is an urgent matter. And it's outrageous to dump radioactive waste in a fishery.
The Navy stopped using depleted uranium about a year ago because a replacement slug was developed that is not radioactive. But the Navy believes the radioactive slugs still on the sea floor pose no serious threat.
Lieutenant Commander Bill McCleb is the Navy's DU expert.
LT. CMDR. BILL McCLEB / NAVY'S DU EXPERT:
They fall to the sea floor and sink into the bottom. And very slowly over a great length of time they will corrode and will go back into the soil.
Wayne Eddy catches and sells lobsters. He says he's shocked to learn they share the same sea floor with radioactive depleted uranium.
WAYNE EDDY / LOBSTER INDUSTRY:
They told us for years that it was just steel shells, steel jacket shells.
Even though there are six tones of the low level radioactive slugs in Canadian waters including some off Vancouver Island. The individual slugs only weigh about 70 grams each. The Navy says that makes them difficult to clean up.
It would be impossible. Practically impossible.
The Navy makes no apology for not telling fisherman what kind of ammunition it was using. It says seafood from that area is safe. Wayne Eddy hopes his customers accept that.
I mean, who ever thought we were going to have nuclear waste in our back yard?
A back yard fisherman have shared with the Navy for years. A back yard that until now contained a radioactive secret.
Rob Gordon, CBC News, Halifax.
- NDP challenges federal plan to ship plutonium through Ontario town.
Ottawa's plans to truck experimental nuclear fuel [incorporating weapons-grade plutonium] through this city without first holding a full environmental review and public hearings is grossly irresponsible, says the federal NDP leader.
"The federal government cannot decide unilaterally to make Sault Ste. Marie the point of entry into Canada of American plutonium," said Alexa McDonough, in town for the Industrial, Wood and Allied Workers of Canada annual convention.
McDonough and her Ontario counterpart Howard Hampton held a news conference Wednesday at the entrance of the International Bridge where they slammed the Liberal proposal to ship plutonium from dismantled nuclear warheads to the area this fall.
The plan was proposed at the beginning of September by Foreign Affairs Minister Lloyd Axworthy. "The Liberals must ask Canadians now whether it is appropriate to import plutonium from nuclear weapons at all."
The federal plan involves bringing five kilograms of surplus plutonium from dismantled U.S. nuclear warheads [mixed with] uranium -- mixed oxide fuel -- to Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd.'s nuclear testing facility at Chalk River in the Ottawa valley.
- Electric power and transport will have to wait for clean fuel cell energy.
LONDON -- Fuel cells which produce non-polluting energy -- seen as a potential panacea for both power generation and transport -- are technically advanced but still far from practical applications, experts say.
"Fuel cell development in the last 10 years has been a technical push," Dan Rastler of the U.S.-based Electric Power Research Institute said. "The technical factors are now largely understood and there are pathways to closure. But as projects are introduced there is a need to have a clear picture of their markets."
Fuel cells use hydrogen to make electricity through a chemical reaction not unlike a battery but create little or no pollution -- depending on the source fuel.
The technology is ideal for the development of small-scale power stations, said Bernard Baker, chairman of U.S. based Fuel Cell Energy, formerly Energy Research Corp .
GOOD FOR SMALLER POWER PLANTS
Quiet and clean, direct fuel cell technology was suited to 250 kw power stations which can be located close to users like hospitals or factories -- gaining 65 to 70 percent fuel efficiency when able to utilise normally wasted heat.
"The main question mark for any fuel cell application is the cost. Initial costs will be higher, but we can make it up on fuel efficiency," Baker said.
Small gas turbines tend to operate at 30 percent efficiency while large modern central power plants combining gas turbines and steam work at about 50 percent.
Deregulation in the U.S. would open up the market within the next two to three years and Baker's company was expanding its production capacity.
"This will not transform the electricity industry, but if you can capture 3 to 4 percent of the market it could be extremely attractive," he said.
Competition was not so much between different types of fuel cells but overcoming engineers' support for traditional gas turbines. Reliability over time was largely comparable.
Rastler agreed that the near term challenge was for retail energy service providers in the U.S. using power stations of 400 to 500 kilowatt range.
Longer term challenges still remained for storage and vehicle applications, he said.
TRANSPORT USE MORE PROBLEMATIC
Fuel cell use for transport was seen as a less easy fit and much further down the line.
Their application was held back by the lack of hydrogen, the best fuel for more efficient high temperature type fuel cells and whose only by-product is water.
Natural gas, gasoline or methane are being tested as substitutes. They create polluting emissions -- but less than conventional combusion engines or gas turbines.
Tests in the United States are on course for the design of an 80 mile per gallon (mpg) vehicle capable of carrying six people by 2004, Steven Chalk of the U.S. Department of Energy said.
Currently the technology is only about halfway efficient enough to make it economically competitive.
It has taken more than 10 years to bring together standards for natural gas powered vehicles and much work still needed to be done on harmonising regulation before they can be viably marketed, Jeffey Seisler of the European Natural Gas Vehicle Association (ENGVA) said.
The ENGVA brings together major industry players including as DaimlerChrysler AG Ford , BMW AG and British Gas .
Natural gas had the advantage of a supply pipeline infrastructure in Europe and the U.S. but large numbers of vehicles will be needed to support the building of filling stations.
Even though lower pressures were needed for liquified natural gas (LNG) cylinder storage in vehicles and equipment was rigorously tested, people still feared an explosion from a fire or crash, Seisler said. That fear was greater with the use of hydrogen, he added.
- Activists push for a Y2K holiday for nuclear missiles and reactors.
by Jim Wolf
WASHINGTON -- Environmentalists and arms control activists call it a modest proposal -- a kind of Year 2000 insurance policy for the world.
Power down the 433 nuclear reactors worldwide. De-alert the 5,000 nuclear-tipped missiles that the United States and Russia keep on hair-trigger status.
In a word, observe a year-end, 48-hour atomic "holiday" to avoid the remote possibility of nuclear disaster during the technology-challenging year 2000 rollover.
"It could be a matter of life and death," said Yumi Kikuchi, coordinator of a growing international grassroots campaign for a "World Atomic Safety Holiday, or Y2K WASH.
Speaking at a news conference on Thursday, Kikuchi and fellow activists ticked off reasons for a "managed phase-down" of reactors to standby, to be completed by Dec. 30.
"Rather than risk potentially catastrophic malfunctions with nuclear weapons and at nuclear facilities because of the Y2K problem, just give them the weekend off," said Michael Mariotte, executive director of Nuclear Information and Resource Service, a watchdog group in Washington.
"It's a no-brainer," added John Steinbach, co-author of Deadly Nuclear Radiation Hazards USA. "It's like insurance."
The movement for a year-end pause in atomic business as usual began in Japan, where 52 highly automated nuclear reactors dot a landscape the size of California.
Kikuchi, a 37-year-old concert flutist and mother of two, said petition drives were getting under way in Japan and the 30-odd other countries with nuclear power infrastructure.
Backers of the move argue that the United States should lead the way not because it is particularly vulnerable to Y2K-related disruptions of its 103 reactors, but because it would set a precedent for countries that are.
"Ukraine, Russia, Japan, China, India -- these are all countries that may face severe Y2K difficulties," said Mariotte, who faults the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission's Y2K readiness standards for plant operators here.
Kikuchi and a fellow Tokyo-based activist, Gen Morita, were given a chance to deliver their message Thursday afternoon to staff members of the special Senate Committee on the Y2K glitch.
"It's an initial meeting. We'll hear what they have to say," said Don Meyer, a spokesman for the bipartisan panel headed by Utah Republican Robert Bennett and Connecticut Democrat Christopher Dodd.
Meyer said the committee was concerned about nuclear safety during the century change, when the Y2K coding glitch could cause ill-prepared computers to crash.
But he said the panel was wary of any group using Y2K fears to push an unrelated agenda such as anti-nuclear power or nuclear disarmament, which fall outside its mandate.
The nuclear holiday campaigners say reactors are at risk because they typically depend on offsite power to run their safety systems. The U.S. State Department said Tuesday that Russia and Ukraine were among countries whose power grids could be knocked out by the Y2K glitch.
In one of 196 updated consular information sheets designed to alert U.S. travelers of risks, the State Department said Ukraine, home of the world's worst nuclear reactor accident in 1986 at Chernobyl, seems "unprepared to deal with the Y2K problem."
The British Foreign Office, in its Y2K advisories Tuesday, advised against all "nonessential travel" to Ukraine over the new year and early January "until the situation becomes clearer."
Next week, Kikuchi and fellow activists are taking their campaign to Berlin, where the G-8 industrialised powers will meet to discuss Y2K contingency planning.
She is prepared with an answer to any suggestion that Ukraine, Russia or any other country is too dependent on nuclear power to switch it off during the rollover.
"Which is better?," she says, "to have radioactivity all over the place -- or to be freezing for a day. You have a choice."
The United States and Russia agreed Monday to jointly staff a temporary military post in Colorado to watch for any Y2K-related false-missile alarms. But no move was announced toward taking missiles off hair-trigger alert.
The shared Centre for Strategic Stability and Y2K "will reduce the chance that a turn-of-the-millennium computer error will create an end-of-the-year security incident," U.S. Defence Secretary William Cohen said.
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