2010-10-26 Letter: Ban nuclear dump, new Bruce Power web site, Hanley on unconventional fossil fuels
There is good information in the following. It is from a community-based group of people who share information, organize to prevent bad things from happening, and do solid work on finding a new path forward, for us to follow.
An important contribution is to expose manipulative language (propaganda). Find ways to re-state it, so the public can see through the propaganda. (e.g. Nuclear industry’s fallacy about having no waste.)
Bruce Power has launched a new web site (see article below) called “The Right Thing To Do” (Link no longer valid)
about its plans to “recycle” radioactive steam generators. The site includes a 7 minute educational video called “Bruce Power’s Steam Generator Recycling Plan”. Check it out, share it with friends!
Paul Hanley writes about unconventional fossil fuels delaying the move toward sustainable energy options.
Stephanie for the Coalition for a Clean Green Saskatchewan
Ban Sask. nuclear dump
BY THERESE JELINSKI, THE STARPHOENIX OCTOBER 26, 2010
As someone born and raised in scenic Northern Saskatchewan, I am deeply concerned that northern communities are being courted to host a nuclear waste dump.
Thousands of truckloads of spent nuclear fuel bundles would be transported from nuclear reactors in southern Ontario to a northern Saskatchewan site for deep geological burial. Having this toxic waste travelling through dozens of towns on its way across Canada poses serious safety and security risks.
If deep burial of deadly radioactive waste is being considered, it should be on-site storage or as close as possible to the nuclear reactors that produce the waste. We don’t want another province’s toxic garbage, with all the implications of moving it across the country to store it “safely.”
The responsible and right thing for Canada to do is to phase-out nuclear power, so that we don’t keep compounding the waste burden for our children and grandchildren, and phase-in renewable energy such as wind and solar. (Renewable energy was virtually tied with nuclear power in the U.S. in terms of energy production in the first six months of this year.)
In 1987, the Manitoba government took an important stand by banning storage of nuclear waste in that province. Saskatchewan, too, needs legislation to ban the transportation and storage of nuclear waste in our beautiful province.
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Bruce Power launches website on nuclear shipment (MetroNews – link no longer valid)
Published: October 21, 2010 5:45 p.m.
Last modified: October 21, 2010 5:53 p.m.
TIVERTON, Ont. – Bruce Power launched a website Thursday in its effort to persuade the public that its plan to recycle 16 steam generators is safe.
Bruce Power is seeking permission from the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission to ship the generators by ship through the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River.
Environmentalists, First Nations and residents along the proposed route have expressed concerns about shipping the radioactive, school bus-sized generators from Owen Sound, Ont., to Sweden for recycling.
Bruce Power says recycling the generators, now stored at its southwestern Ontario facility, will reclaim 90 per cent of the steel in the generator casings.
He says the recycling technology required to separate the steel from other mildly radioactive components isn’t available in Canada.
Following a hearing last month, the Nuclear Safety Commission said it wants more information on the environmental impact assessment, emergency plans, and the amount of radioactivity allowed in shipments before deciding if Bruce Power can go ahead with the shipment.
Bruce Power has said a person would have to stand beside one of the generators for a few hours to receive the same amount of radiation given off by a chest X-ray.
Commission staff testified during last month’s hearing that shipments of uranium hexafluoride, yellow cake, cobalt-60 and other radioactive materials routinely pass through the St. Lawrence Seaway and across the Great Lakes.
Unconventional fossil fuels waylay sustainable energy options
BY PAUL HANLEY, THE STAR PHOENIX OCTOBER 26, 2010
The silver lining for those worried about the global storm of negative environmental impacts from fossil fuel production and use has been the idea that oil and gas reserves are running low. As reserves run out, the thinking goes, we will turn to safer, renewable sources of energy and all will be right with the world.
While it is true cheap, conventional oil and gas is becoming scarce, the energy industry is not going green. It’s turning to unconventional sources that may have even worse environmental impacts. And Saskatchewan may well be in the think of this new fossil-fuel energy boom.
To get the lowdown read Keith Schneider’s article A High-Risk Energy Boom Sweeps Across North America, available at Yale University’s environmental web site (e360.yale.edu). Schneider reports that investment is flooding into the deep shale areas in Saskatchewan, Alberta and the Western U.S., particularly North Dakota’s Bakken Shale.
North Dakota, it seems, has suddenly become the fourth-largest oil producing state in the U.S. and consequently has the country’s lowest unemployment rate, at under four per cent.
According to Schneider, company reports and state economic development offices estimate the oil industry is spending nearly $100 billion annually in the U.S. to perpetuate the fossil-fuel era. More billions are also being thrown at the carbon-rich oilsands in Alberta (and potentially Saskatchewan).
The Bakken Shale, partially located under southeastern Saskatchewan, is thought to contain four billion barrels of oil and trillions of cubic feet of natural gas.
Oil industry geologists say there is much more than that in the Bakken, and in a second oil-rich shale reserve, the Three Forks, that lies below it.
I guess that would be a good thing if the ecosphere were a limitless resource and sinkhole for pollution.
Government studies show that exploiting unconventional fossil-fuel reserves generates more C02 emissions than drilling for conventional oil and gas and uses three to five times more water.
Competition for water could lead to big problems in dry areas like North Dakota and Saskatchewan. Schneider says that extracting unconventional fossil fuel reserves like the Bakken formation uses a lot of water because getting to the oil and natural gas requires rupturing the deep shale to create open spaces and crevices through which the oil and gas can flow.
The pulverizing process, called hydraulic fracturing or “fracking,” involves sinking drill bits deep into the shale and then turning them to move horizontally. An armada of tank trucks hauls several million gallons of water to each well site, where pumps shoot it down the well at such super-high pressure that the rock splits.
The potential trucking in of massive amounts of water also raises localized air quality and traffic concerns. The transportation of a million gallons of water to fracture a well is estimated to require 200 truck trips.
Recently, an oil well undergoing fracking near Kildeer, N.D., ruptured. The blowout leaked 100,000 gallons of fracturing fluid and crude oil before being plugged two days later. Less dramatically, but more frequently, fracking has caused contamination of surface and groundwater and harmed drinking water in various places around the U.S. and Canada, according to a number of reports from local environmental organizations.
Of course the high-risk fossil-fuel approach to energy supply is not the only way to go. Denmark, for example, has managed to reduce energy use and cut its carbon emissions during the last 20 years.
Part of their approach involves alternative energy sources like wind, but the big reason they have succeeded is simply charging more for energy. Danes pay three to five times the amount North Americans do for electricity, for example. Also, people have turned to active transportation and public transit en masse because of very high taxes on cars.
High energy prices and high taxes are an anathema in North America, especially the U.S., so don’t expect European-style reform here anytime soon. Too bad, because the payoff is a cleaner environment, a stable climate, more livable cities, lower health-care costs and a happier, more egalitarian society.
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