My appreciation to Grand Council Chief Patrick Madahbee for his patience in the CBC interview of him, and for taking the nuclear waste issue to the United Nations.
Nuclear waste disposal in Canada is ‘an accident waiting to happen,’ says Indigenous leader
‘People are gambling with people’s lives,’ says grand council chief of the Anishinabek Nation
The following information may be useful to the Chief, and to the CBC. It comes from 3 separate attempts by the industry to obtain community support for transport of high-level radioactive waste to northern Saskatchewan for burial. (The information applies, regardless of the location and means of “storage”.)
In 2009 the industry’s own estimates for the number of truckloads of accumulated waste that would cross from central Canada to northern Saskatchewan was 20,000. By the time the repository would be constructed and operational, because of continuing production, there would be 30,000 truckloads of high level radioactive waste to move.
Transport vehicles are transport vehicles, regardless of their cargo, as Chief Madahbee insisted.
There is only one cross-Canada corridor that the waste could be legally transported along, the Trans Canada Highway. It’s the only roadway along which there is Emergency Response to Hazardous Waste capability (required). In Saskatchewan the waste would go north, off the Trans-Canada, passing through Saskatoon.
Selected persons were invited to attend a demonstration by the Saskatoon City Fire Dept., of its response capability. With hoopla, costumed in bulky Hazardous Waste mask and regalia, they quickly and efficiently attended the pretend location of an accidental spill of high level radioactive waste. Trusty fire hoses rolled out. The roadway was cleared with volumes of water that swept the pretend radioactive particles – – – where? Down a storm sewer and thereby into the South Saskatchewan River.
In 2011, the National Academy of Science (NAS) (U.S.) came to Saskatchewan to collect information. The state of Virginia was under petition to lift its 30-year moratorium on uranium/nuclear. Saskatchewan has a lot of experience the NAS wished to draw upon.
Presentations in Saskatoon, by the industry to the delegation from the NAS, relied on the NAS not knowing:
when you look behind the rhetoric of “rapid response”, “highly-trained emergency teams”, “most heavily regulated industry“, to “the real world” what you find is farcical (washing high-level radioactive waste into any water supply, let alone a River that is the water supply for 40% of the province’s people).
The NAS, similarily would not know, and of course was not told, the reality behind intended “transportation corridors”, especially under winter driving conditions in Canada. This speaks, with facts, to Chief Madahbee’s “accident waiting to happen” – – remember, 30,000 truckloads:
The highway accidents at ONE place, Nov – Dec 2010 (when the reassurances of safety were being expounded), on the TransCanada Highway, the border crossing between Manitoba and Saskatchewan, where the town of Moosomin is located:
- November 2010 collision, 6 people dead
- December 2010, a Moosomin woman killed on the Trans Canada in collision with a semi
- Saltcoats (nearby) collision killed 3 people.
The news reports are posted at http://sandrafinley.ca/?p=2567.
Nuclear waste comes with the building of nuclear reactors. In the period 2007-11, Albertans and Saskatchewanians fought down proposals for reactors in their respective provinces (Peace River, North Saskatchewan River).
Economic arguments, once they become known to citizens, win the day.
- The reactors are boondoggles, but
- a few well-placed people in the industry, the Government, selected local government and the University, are enriched
- The industry is a Ponzi scheme: the industry’s own estimate in 2009-2011, the cost of building a deep geological repository, was $24 billion (not including the costs of 30,000 transport trucks, to the deep geological repository site, return).
Tell me what bona fide business undertaking can shoulder an existing liability for waste disposal of more than $24 billion? How do they plan to do it?
The last new reactor in Canada went into construction in the mid-eighties, there is a fleet of even older reactors – – all have to be de-commissioned at some point, which will add to the 30,000 truckloads.
I’d say the industry is in desperate need of new customers to create a revenue stream. To pay for
- continuance of the million dollar salaries for the “1%”
- the cost of new reactors (no investment fund or insurance fund will touch them, if they aren’t in on the Ponzi)
- disposal of 40-50 years of accumulated radioactive waste (no investment fund or insurance fund will touch that)
- de-commissioning of the old reactors and disposal of the associated radioactive waste
In a Ponzi scheme, the last man in, gets left holding the bag.
What happens if the industry can’t find, in Canada, a jurisdiction whose citizens want very expensive electricity? ( Who wants to be the last man in?
The only sane person who would invest in the Industry is one from whom information is withheld. Or one who is on the inside of the scheme.
How likely is it that the citizens of Canada will agree not to revolt, if they are required to foot the bills, especially for new reactors? that no Investment or Insurance Company will touch? That some community of Canadians was irresponsible enough to agree to, because they believed the industry, government and university propaganda that nuclear energy is “green” or cost-effective?
By promoting nuclear as an answer to climate change (which it is not), the Government and Industry are DELIBERATELY running up even higher, the costs that (realistically speaking) will eventually fall to citizens to pay. Meanwhile those smart people will continue to collect their million-dollar salaries and perks.
It is all dependent on an uninformed citizenry, propaganda, and serious corruption – – extinction – – of the public interest. It is dependent upon the impotency of Elected Representatives, the existence of a “not-democracy”.
A few years ago, the industry was required to start putting money aside to deal with the accumulating waste. Ask them how much they have in that fund today, to address the estimated total waste liability on their hands. And what is the current estimate of the liability?
I wrote to Environment Minister Catherine McKenna when I heard that Canada is pushing hard for nuclear reactors as part of the answer to climate change, at the Copenhagen Meetings in May. I tackled the corruption issue in the letter. You might want to take a look at that.
Please see http://sandrafinley.ca/?p=20712. (2018-03-19 Does Environment Minister McKenna KNOW that Natural Resources Minister Carr is pushing nuclear energy in the climate talks, Copenhagen, May?)
ASIDE: Very troubling: the industry’s proposed move to “SMRs” – – small, portable reactors. Good luck stopping radioactive contamination of land and waterways if nuclear reactors are dispersed to isolated communities and mining locations, which is the intent.
Your assistance in moving the information to the right places will be greatly appreciated by everyone.