Nov 292009


The following chronology is an aid to understanding the November 30th decision of the “Expert Review Panel”.  It creates CONTEXT.

It is just a sampling of evidence from the public record.   Some of you will add your own information to it.

I want to get this chronology out prior to the announcement of the decision of the panel, in case it might be useful.  Please consider forwarding it to media people you might know, as background.

I will send supporting news reports for the chronology later; don’t want to overload you with email today!   /Sandra

– – – – – – – – – – – – – –






• 1974, India broke the International Nuclear Non-Proliferation treaty by building & testing a nuclear bomb made using Canadian nuclear technology.

• 1976, Eldorado Nuclear planned to build a uranium refinery near Warman, SK. The NDP Government of the day wanted to “add value” to the uranium resource by refining milled yellow-cake into fuel for nuclear reactors.  Citizen opposition coalesced.

•  In 1980, Premier Bill Bennett bowed to public pressure and introduced a seven-year moratorium on uranium mining and exploration in B.C.    The moratorium remains in place.  The moratorium was based on the evidence of the health consequences.  The successful efforts to get the moratorium were largely the work of one doctor, Bob Woollard.

•  In 1981, after 5 years of intense citizen efforts (more than 500 people) Eldorado announced it was withdrawing its bid to build a refinery in Saskatchewan.

•  In 1981 Nova Scotia placed a moratorium on uranium mining.  (See Oct 2009, the N.S. moratorium becomes entrenched in law.)

•  1987, Manitoba passed a law to prohibit high level radioactive waste disposal in its territory.

• November  2007, Saskatchewan Party (conservative) elected.  Nuclear/uranium agenda not in its platform.

• March 2008,  Alberta signs agreement with Idaho National Laboratory, the U.S. Department of Energy’s leading institution for nuclear energy research.  “Marriage made in heaven”. (In case this Edmonton Journal link becomes invalid,  the article is posted at   2008-03-29 Alberta with Idaho National Laboratory to study nuclear role in oilsands.)

• March 2008,  Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall in Washington “promoting the province as a secure source of energy, including oil, gas, uranium and, potentially, oilsands”.

• March 28, 2008.  Leader Post reports on Brad Wall’s “big plans” for nuclear power in Saskatchewan, following “lengthy discussion” he had with Stephen Harper. (The article is copied at )

• July 04 2008.  “New Brunswick introduces new regulations on uranium mining”


The Telegraph-Journal reports, ” In an effort to mute calls for a moratorium on uranium exploration, the government announced in May much tighter regulations that included returning all radioactive materials to drill holes sealed with a clay-like substance called bentonite; testing water wells within 500 metres of a drill site before and after work is done; and keeping liquid waste from drilling operations a safe distance from wetlands. But that failed to quell the public uproar. Recent information sessions with concerned landowners in Fredericton and Moncton turned into boisterous protests, with citizens railing passionately against uranium exploration.”

• Nov 5, 2008  Obama elected President of the U.S.

• Feb 27, 2009  “Work on disposing of radioactive waste at Yucca Mountain (Nevada) has all but stopped after President Barack Obama’s budget blueprint.  The move remains in line with Obama’s pre-election statements that Yucca Mountain was “not an option.”  America must now set a new course for long-term management of high-level radioactive waste, ….

“Obama’s position on the Global Nuclear Energy Partnership (GNEP), which would see a community of countries share nuclear power technology with leading nations storing all the high-level waste from the entire group…

“Modern long-term strategies usually involve a step-wise reversible process that starts with an invitation to communities nationwide to express interest.”

(Precisely the process that is being used by the Nuclear Waste Management Organization (NWMO) in Canada.  Saskatchewan is a targeted site.  The NWMO met in Saskatoon in Sept – see the chronology.  And will be here again in December – see chronology.)

• March 2009, the Government of Saskatchewan Uranium Development Partnership (UDP) Panel chaired by Richard Florizone, Vice-President of the University, recommended that Saskatchewan develop nuclear power, create a nuclear waste dump and a studies centre of excellence at the University of Saskatchewan.  With respect to radioactive isotopes it said:   “the economics of a stand-alone isotope reactor are not attractive

a reactor to do research and development that “is synergetic” with the larger nuclear expansion plan “may also be used to produce medical isotopes…to partly offset the cost of developing and operating the reactor.”

It suggests this “could justify further funding from federal authorities.”

• March 17, 2009  Energy and Resources Minister Bill Boyd and Enterprise and Innovation Minister Lyle Stewart signed a Memorandum of Understanding between the government and Idaho National Laboratory (INL), a U.S. Department of Energy institution that is considered that country’s top national laboratory for nuclear energy research.

• April 2009,  “Experts examining Areva’s cash situation just days before its accounts are published show that it is “staring down the barrel of business failure” with a 3 billion Euro bail-out request from the French Government. Overrun costs of its reactor build in Finland have left the project facing a 5.4 billion Euro bill including an invoice to Areva of 2.4 billion Euros in penalties for lateness amounting to over three years. Embarrasingly for Areva, German engineering partner Siemans recently walked away from the project.

• Meanwhile in Saskatchewan, growing public concern about UDP industry-one-sidedness left the Sask Party government with no political alternative but to undertake a “public consultation process”

• May 2009 Public Consultations began.  Dan Perrins conducted the consultations.  2,637 people in total attended thirteen public meetings.  1,275 written submissions and 61 stakeholder groups presented,  2,263 responses in total.

• 84% of the submissions were opposed to nuclear power, in spite of a letter-writing campaign by the nuclear industry and the Chamber of Commerce.

• Energy and Resources Minister Bill Boyd called it “the broadest and most transparent public debate on uranium development ever undertaken in Saskatchewan”.

• June 15, “Spearheaded by Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall and Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer“   “hailed their push to develop a cross-border (Canada – U.S.) Western Energy Corridor that will be the largest on the planet and one that develops both non-renewable (tar sands) and clean-energy (nuclear) options.”

This news report was in the middle of the “public consultations”, on the same day as approximately 800 people turned out to the Saskatoon meeting.  The Travelodge had to extend the meeting room which filled to standing room only.  Some people did not attend because parking was not to be found.

• June 2009, Point le Preau nuclear reactor in New Brunswick – “The $1.4-billion refurbishment of the Point Lepreau nuclear plant has fallen behind schedule. . . That delay will cost NB Power an estimated $70 million to $90 million.  Ottawa gives $200 million in extra funding to AECL.  “This amounts to more subsidies to a nuclear white elephant”.   (Around the time of this news article, James Risdon in New Brunswick started  “Say NO to Nuclear Waste in N.B.! “ – on The Petition Site.”)

• June 19,  Federal Government announces four Expert Review Panel Members and call for expressions of interest in isotope production.

Thom Mason, Director of the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee, part of the U.S. Department of Energy is a panel member.


(link no longer valid, Star Phoenix.  Did I post a back-up copy? Look.)

•  June 14, 2009.  Canada-U.S. Western Energy Corridor announced.

(link no longer valid, Vancouver Sun.  I think I posted a copy on this blog.  Look.)

Western premiers and U.S. governors on Sunday hailed their push to develop a cross-border Western Energy Corridor that will be the largest on the planet and one that develops both non-renewable (INSERT: tar sands) and clean-energy (INSERT: nuclear) options. …

Spearheaded by Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall and Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer … ”

• July 17, The On Campus News says  “Nuclear studies centre already under development” …  working at various points in the nuclear cycle, … that extends from exploration and mining to power production to safe storage” (radioactive waste disposal).    (Link no longer valid.  Sandra – – find and post the article.)

• July 2009, “First time ever University Presidents  join Government and Corporate leaders, Canada – U.S.”

(Link no longer valid.  Did I post a copy on this blog?

“Other highlights:

–   University President’s Roundtable – first time ever University Presidents from both the US and Canada will meet to discuss Innovation and collaboration in the region (15 University Presidents will be in attendance) . .

–   First Energy Horizon Legislative Institute.  30 Legislators from throughout the Region to be certified on Energy Policy by University of Idaho, PNWER, and National Conference of State Legislators.

(INSERT:  I looked this up.  The Idaho National Laboratory, with which Saskatchewan and Alberta have signed deals, is at the University of Idaho.  The “certification” process “educates” legislators on the “energy” question, a la Americano.)

–  Water Policy to focus on water management policies and overview of the Columbia River Treaty . . .

–  Admiral John Grossenbacher, Idaho National Laboratory, will chair a session led by INL on emerging regional interests in nuclear energy, western energy corridor …

–  Building Transmission for the future – Session to address regional transmission projects  (high power transmission lines)

• July 31, 2009 federal deadline for applications for funding related to radioactive isotopes. The Government of Saskatchewan (Brad Wall) Crown Investments Corporation jointly with the University of Saskatchewan applied:

“recommending establishing a national nuclear studies centre of excellence at the university. .. will include building a nuclear research reactor for both isotope production and neutron science.”      “Targets 2016 for reactor to be online”

• July 31, 2009. The deadline for citizens to respond to the Government’s Uranium Development Partnership (UDP) report (public consultation process on the Government’s nuclear/uranium agenda).

• September 15,   Dan Perrins delivered his report on the public consultations to Wall’s government.  The Executive Summary says, “the overwhelming response was that nuclear power generation should not be a choice for Saskatchewan.”

Regarding other recommendations of the UDP Report, Perrins reported  “the majority of responses dealing with the exploration and mining of uranium did not support current or future activities in this area.”

The majority “are largely opposed to any upgrading, including enrichment fuel fabrication and all other forms of upgrading.”.

Many people who expressed support for the production of medical isotopes stipulated it should occur without the use of nuclear fission.”

• October 2009,  String of incidents, several incidents of “exceedances” and spills, prompts investigation at Cameco Port Hope conversion plant.

• October 4, 2009.  “No nukes, go Renewables” parade and rally in Saskatoon draws people from around the province.

• October 14, 2009.  Nova Scotia legislates a moratorium on exploration and mining of uranium.

“The province introduced legislation today, Oct. 14, to entrench a uranium ban that had been in effect since 1981.”

• October 2009, Speech from the Throne Government of Saskatchewan contains no mention of the Government’s nuclear/uranium agenda.

• October 2009, Book launch “Selling Out, Academic Freedom and the Corporate Market”, McGill-Queen’s University Press, by Howard Woodhouse, professor of educational foundations and co-director of the University of Saskatchewan Process Philosophy Research Unit.

Page 166:  (Bancroft is interim director of the Canadian Light Source Inc (synchrotron) at the University of Saskatchewan) “Bancroft’s emphasis on the CLS’s “strong commitment to industrial users and private/public partnerships, [with] designated Canadian and international mining companies as the top priority for industrial development” was consistent with the facility’s mission.

(Note:  the supporting news reports in the next emails clearly make the connection between the synchrotron at the University of Saskatchewan and the nuclear/uranium agenda.)

P. 165 “Yet the CLS . . . was paid for almost entirely out of public funds from the federal and provincial governments, several universities, and a Saskatchewan Crown corporation.  The capital costs of $173.5 million were split into $140.9 million in cash and $32.6 million in in-kind contributions

(see table). . . .  Moreover this amount does not include the in-kind contribution of the university’s Linear Accelerator, worth almost $33 million …  By far the largest amount of money came from the federal government – – “  etc.

• (?? I don’t know if this should be included) November 4, 2009  Fortune Minerals Metallurgical processing plant near Saskatoon.

(Link no longer valid

This is a “maybe” connection. The background is that the nuclear/uranium industry in Canada is facing problems with processing and conversion capacity. It is running into more and more public opposition.  The Port Hope refinery is under assault for effects on health and the release of radioactive spills into Lake Ontario, etc. (other examples).

Regarding the Star Phoenix refinery announcement November 4, it was curious to me that a penny stock company, Fortune Minerals, would truck ore all the way from Yellowknife, N.W.T. to Saskatoon, SK for “metallurgical processing”.

I wonder whether such a processing facility might also be used for uranium?  Given the stated priorities for the University of Saskatchewan’s synchrotron, the Canadian Nuclear Studies Centre at the University and the University’s commitment to work that has commercial application it seems plausible.

It seems to me that the nuclear/uranium corporations (with their Government, University supporters and role in the U.S. corporate energy strategy (the SPP)) are hard-pressed now to be honest and forthright about their intentions.

• Nov 15   Stephen Harper, salesman for the co-dependent nuclear and tar sands industries, in India.   “Canada had suspended nuclear relations with India in 1974 after India used Canadian technology to make its first nuclear bomb.  During his visit here, Harper said a new nuclear co-operation deal between the two countries would be signed soon and he met with key representatives of India’s nuclear energy sector.”  India has not signed the nuclear non-proliferation treaty.

“The two countries signed a memorandum of understanding this year that will let Canada play a role in India’s planned building of 25 to 30 nuclear reactors. …  India’s reactor demand for uranium may triple in the next 15 years, according to Saskatoon, Saskatchewan-based Cameco Corp. the world’s second-largest producer of uranium.  . . .

Australia, holder of the biggest known uranium reserves, doesn’t allow exports of the nuclear fuel to India because the South Asian country hasn’t signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. ”

• November 29, 2009.  “Prime Minister Stephen Harper of Canada signs a nuclear co-operation agreement with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan as way to trade uranium and nuclear technology with India”  . . .  on whose behalf?   (Link no longer valid

• NWMO (Nuclear Waste Management Organization) in Saskatchewan (again!) December 7, 8, 9, looking for a “host community”.

– – – – – – – – – – –

Note:  I have not included the propaganda efforts by Bruce Power in the North Saskatchewan River corridor where they want to buy options on land for a nuclear reactor, or the polling reported on in the Prince Albert Herald and elsewhere.  The polling questions were designed to manipulate and provide very skewed results.

I have not included efforts by Bruce Power and by the Nuclear Waste Management Organization to target First Nations, Dene and Metis communities for the siting of their operations.

Nor have I mentioned the resistance by motley crews of local groups.  (These efforts by local people to stop a Bruce Power nuclear reactor from being built on the North Saskatchewan River appear to have been successful, so far.)

I have not mentioned the efforts of people in Alberta to stop the billion-dollar high power transmission lines (part of the Canada – U.S. Western Energy Corridor) from proceeding.

Nor a whole lot of other important events!    /Sandra

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