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In brief

Nuclear Monitor Issue: 

Philippines may rechannel its nuclear budget.
The Philippines government is considering rechannelling the US$100 million budget allotted to its nuclear energy development programme in the light of the Fukushima disaster. "Since the budget has been approved, the Department of Energy is currently studying what to do next. Whether we push through or delay or use the budget for more urgent matters. We are in discussion internally," Energy undersecretary Jay Layug has been quoted as saying. He noted that at this stage the country doesn't have any plans for nuclear other than to study it as an option. At the moment, he said, the DoE would be focusing on renewable energy development. "Renewable energy is the priority right now and not nuclear, we're looking at additional capacities through coal and natural gas plants," he said.

Nuclear Engineering International, News 22 July 2011

Chinese experimental fast reactor connected to grid.
On July 21, exactly one year after achieving first criticality, the head of China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC), declared that the Chinese Experimental Fast Reactor's (CEFR's) had successfully achieved grid connection. The sodium-cooled, pool-type fast reactor has been constructed with some Russian assistance at the China Institute of Atomic Energy (CIEA), near Beijing, which undertakes fundamental research on nuclear science and technology. The reactor has a thermal capacity of 65 MW and can produce 20 MW in electrical power. The CEFR was built by Russia's OKBM Afrikantov in collaboration with OKB Gidropress, NIKIET and Kurchatov Institute. The unit was connected to the grid at 40% capacity.

Beyond the pilot plant, China once planned a 600 MWe commercial scale version by 2020 and a 1500 MWe version in 2030 but these ambitious ideas have been overtaken by the import of ready-developed Russian designs. In October 2009, an agreement was signed by CIAE and China Nuclear Energy Industry Corporation (CNEIC) with AtomStroyExport to start pre-project and design works for a commercial nuclear power plant with two BN-800 reactors with construction to start in August 2011, probably at a coastal site (well, if they don't know that by now, the chance of starting constructing next month –August- is not that high).

In April 2010, a joint venture company was established for the construction of China's first commercial-scale fast neutron reactor, near the inland city of Sanming in Fujian province. The joint venture - Sanming Nuclear Power Co Ltd - was established by CNNC, Fujian Investment and Development Corp and the municipal government of Sanming city. CNNC holds a majority stake in the venture.

World Nuclear News, 21 July 2011

U.S.–India: quarrel on liability law.
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton recommended that India "engage" with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to ensure the nation's civilian atomic liability law "fully conforms" with international accords, The Hindu newspaper reported July 19. Indian government sources said they would reject any hint that the domestic rule must be modified on the recommendation of the IAEA. The Vienna, Austria-based organization does not have the authority to make such recommendations, they said. India holds that its nuclear liability regulations are in compliance with the Convention on Supplementary Compensation for Nuclear Damage, though the United States contends the law allows a scope of actions that the convention does not.

New Delhi's law limits nuclear reactor operator financial culpability following an atomic accident to roughly US$320 million and allows lawsuits against suppliers of nuclear materials, technology and services. Officials in New Delhi insist the international convention cannot prohibit Indian courts from permitting private lawsuits to be filed by individuals injured in a nuclear incident.

The liability law has led a number of U.S. nuclear firms to reconsider their initial enthusiasm for engaging in atomic commerce with energy-hungry India following the signing of a 2008 agreement between Washington and New Delhi. The Indian government wants to see its liability law enacted before the end of 2011.
Global Security Newswire, 20 July 2011

Canada, Saskatchewan: 820 km walk to ban nuclear waste storage.
Native / First Nations people in the province of Saskatchewan, Canada, one of the big uranium mining areas of the world, are organizing a 820-km-march from the small Northern community of Pinehouse to the capital of the province, Regina, beginning on July 27, 2011.

They are, besides raising awareness about the issue of nuclear waste and its dangers, collecting signatures for a petition to the Provincial Government to ban nuclear waste and its transportation in the province. This petition can only be signed by Saskatchewan residents (thus, it is not attached).

The First Nations and Metis / Native People are working together with environmentalist groups etc. from Southern Saskatchewan, i.e. Coalition for a Clean Green Saskatchewan; there, you can find all details and documents re: the March, the petition etc.:

Contact: Committee for Future Generations, P.O. Box 155, Beauval, Saskatchewan, S0M 0G0 Canada

Walk away from uranium mining. Footprints for Peace, an international grassroots group that organises walks, bike rides and runs around the world, invites families and people of all ages, background and cultures to come and support traditional owners in their opposition to uranium mining in Western Australia by taking part in the “Walk away from uranium mining” that begins in Wiluna on August 19 and finishes in Perth on October 28. "We will demonstrate that we have the choice to walk away from this costly, toxic industry — which produces radioactive waste and weapons usable material — in favour of renewable energy options." Footprints for Peace are working together with the Western Australian Nuclear Free Alliance (WANFA) to organise this grassroots awareness-raising and action-based campaign. Everyone is welcome to join the walk for a few hours, a day, a few weeks or the whole way. Even if you cannot walk we still require financial assistance, drivers, kitchen crew members, media liaison volunteers, video operators and photographers, musicians, artists, singers and general support for daily events, such as camp set up and pack up, food shopping and water collection. The walkers will cover a distance of 20 to 25 kilometres a day, with a rest day every five days……… The walk’s conclusion in Perth will coincide with the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting. There we will deliver our well-supported and strong message that it is time to shut down the nuclear industry’s plans to expand in Western Australia and the rest of Australia.

For more information please visit:
GreenLeft (Aus.) 23 July 2011

New EU rules for nuclear waste open the door to dumping in Russia.
On July 19, European countries agreed to develop plans to address the ever-growing problem of nuclear waste. However, the EU also agreed to continue the dangerous practice of transporting radioactive material across great distances to storage plants outside EU borders.

EU ministers rubber stamped new rules obliging governments to publish plans by 2015 detailing their preferred options to store or reprocess radioactive waste from nuclear reactors. Some countries that generate nuclear waste, such as Bulgaria, Slovakia and Spain, had so far been reluctant to put together comprehensive plans.

Despite pressure from the European Commission to block exports, the new rules will allow Hungary and Bulgaria, countries that currently have agreements for the export of nuclear waste to Russia, to continue transferring radioactive material.

Greenpeace EU nuclear policy adviser Jan Haverkamp said: “European governments have adopted an out of sight, out of mind approach to radioactive waste, but all they are doing is dumping the long-term problem on someone else and putting Europeans at risk by allowing dangerous waste convoys. Only countries that face the unsolvable problem of radioactive waste head-on by ending their reliance on nuclear power can stop the vicious circle of waste that shifts responsibility to the next generations.”
Greenpeace press release, 19 July 2011

Sellafield: No prosecutions for organ harvesting.
Recent correspondence has revealed that no one will be prosecuted over the body hacking scandal carried out by the nuclear industry for over 40 years in collusion with government, hospitals, coroners and doctors.

From 1960 to 1991, body parts were taken without consent from 64 former Sellafield workers and 12 workers from nuclear sites in Springfields, Capenhurst, Dounreay and Aldermaston. The liver was removed in all cases and one or both lungs in all but one incident. Vertebrae, sternum, ribs, lymph nodes, spleen, kidneys and fermur were also stripped in the majority of cases. Brains, tongues, hearts and testes were also taken on the advice of the medical officer at Sellafield.

Correspondence from Cumbria Constabulary has been seen which says that despite the findings of the Redfern Inquiry (into the scandal; see Nuclear Monitor 721, 17 December 2010)  that the relationship between the nuclear industry and fellow bodysnatching conspirators was "too close" no one will be prosecuted as it is not "in the public interest".

Extract from a letter sent by ‘Special Operations’ - Cumbria Constabulary: "the issues you raise which I have listed below;
1. That specific people and institutions have breached the Human Tissue Act and that this should be investigated.
2. That an investigation into whether there was any unlawful corruption of the coronial processes had taken place
3. The stipends made to mortuary attendants are also of particular concern.
This was a Government led review which involved both the Department for Energy and Climate Change and the Ministry of Justice. As such any requirement on the police to investigate identified breaches as outlined above would be made by the Government. No such request has been made". (end quotation Cumbria Constabulary correspondence)
Well, surprise, surprise: No such request is likely to be made.

Recent Saskatchewan mining activities and other developments

Nuclear Monitor Issue: 
Jim Penna

Under pressure from the Canadian Government there have been some internal changes and administrative reorganization at the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC). This will mean that new nuclear projects may not have to undergo public scrutiny in environmental assessments (EA). This, coupled with the Canadian Government’s changes in the Federal Environmental Protection Act, will limit or even eliminate environmental assessments, eliminate public participation, and speed up the licensing process.

These changes were made by the Federal Government likely because of pressure by the nuclear industry to shorten the time in obtaining licenses. There was no due process or public input before these changes were made. This does not bode well for effective oversight of the nuclear industry in Canada.

There has been an explosion in uranium exploration in Northern Saskatchewan. However due to the economic slowdown and falling uranium prices there has been a suspension of work at new sites. Areva has stated that it is not economical at the present time to mine these ore bodies. The company has requested authorization to include the ongoing care and maintenance activities at the Midwest Project site, currently authorized under a separate license, under the existing McLean license. Areva is also requesting the revocation of its Uranium Mine Site Preparation License for the Midwest Project.

Although verbal assurance has been given by a CNSC official that once Areva applies to mine the Midwest site this will trigger an EA, it will not be known until it actually happens. A lot will depend on how the new regulations are applied. Also, Areva has recently announced the layoff of 100 workers at the Caribou deposit at its McClean Lake site.

In order for Cameco to pursue its plan to recycle wastes from its Blind River refinery and Port Hope conversion plant to the Key Lake site, CNSC has ordered Cameco to upgrade its milling process to stop or minimize the release of selenium and molybdenum which has caused contamination as far as ten kilometers down stream from the site. These high levels of release coupled with faulty tailings management facilities at Key Lake is also forcing Cameco to recycle the contents and lining of its tailing pits and rebuild them by 2013. These are the tailings management facilities that are supposed to last forever!

A new Saskatchewan Government Industrial Reclamation Act sets out the procedure for old mine sites to be returned to provincial jurisdiction. At the present time a number of smaller uranium mine sites have become the responsibility of the province. However, many mines around Uranium City are still not cleaned up. A study is underway to establish the best approach for dealing with the abandoned Gunnar mines, closed in 1964, which have become the responsibility of the Province of Saskatchewan. Some mitigation measure will likely be taken, however, given the careless manner of mining and the length of time that these sites have been left alone, it will be impossible to make the sites safe. Beaverlodge, which is still being decommissioned by Cameco, is reported to be continually contaminating nearby water bodies and the land with dangerous radioactive materials. According to a CNSC report, radium 226 has been contaminating the environment for 56 years and will continue to do so for the next 100 years! Areva is presently decommissioning the Cluff Lake mining site in preparation for returning the site to provincial jurisdiction.

The right wing Saskatchewan Government has clearly stated its desire to proceed with value added nuclear activities in the province. This includes almost every link of the nuclear chain and perhaps military nuclear research. The Saskatchewan Provincial Government recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding with INL (Idaho National Laboratories in the USA) which is engaged in military nuclear research.

A Uranium Development Partnership Panel was appointed by the Saskatchewan Government to make recommendations on value added uranium projects in the province. The twelve-member committee includes the CEO’s of Areva, Cameco, and Bruce Power. Also the so-called environmentalist is none other than Patrick Moore! (See Nuclear Monitor 655: "Moore nuclear spin") They could not find an environmentalist from Saskatchewan that would sit on this stacked panel! This panel was granted three million Canadian dollars to prepare their report.

Bruce Power, partly owned by Cameco, has been aggressively promoting nuclear power plants both in Northern Alberta and in Saskatchewan along the North Saskatchewan River any where from Lloydminster through North Battleford to Prince Albert. Folks living in communities along the river are alarmed and organizing to oppose any such development. Several meetings in Paradise Hill, Shellbrook, and North Battleford attracted over 800 people to hear Dr. Jim Harding, the author of Canada’s Deadly Secret, Saskatchewan uranium and the global nuclear system, 2007. In Paradise Hill a group was formed called S.O.S. - Save Our Saskatchewan. There is a growing movement of grass roots organizations and individuals known as the Coalition for a Clean Green Saskatchewan ( to not only oppose nuclear reactors in Saskatchewan but also to oppose any and all so called value added nuclear industries in the province.


Source: Dr. Jim Penna / WISE Uranium Project website
: Dr. Jim Penna, Inter Church Uranium Committee Educational Co-operative (ICUCEC), Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada.


U-mining ban in British Columbia. Meanwhile, in another Canadian province, the British Columbia government has issued a retroactive cabinet order to ban permits for uranium and thorium exploration and development in the province. On March 13, the B.C. Lieutenant-Governor signed a March 11, cabinet decision giving the Chief Mines Inspector of B.C. the legal authority to not issue exploration and development permits for uranium and thorium in British Columbia.

This new law prevents comes from an Amendment to the Environment & Land Use Act and strengthens the April 2008 B.C. exploration "Reserve" which had a loophole grand fathering one of the most likely uranium deposits to be developed near Kelowna. “Protesting did work for us as the government did not want us rallying at ski resorts etc, especially this year with the Winter Olympics at Vancouver next February!”

Source: e-mail: Peter Chataway, Uranium Free B.C. Coalition