On February 25, Susan O’Donnell represented CRED-NB at a meeting with federal Natural Resources Minister Seamus O’Regan and national civil society representatives. The focus of discussion was the federal review of the radioactive waste policy. Susan highlighted the letters, each signed by more than 100 civil society groups across Canada, outlining concerns and expectations related to the policy review. She also brought up the concern we have with the proposed high-level waste “recycling” at Point Lepreau.
Chris Rouse: Transitioning to a Low-Carbon Economy in New Brunswick: Why public investments are better than incentives.
Chris Rouse, the founder of New Clear Free Solutions, developed an Integrated Resource Plan for New Brunswick that achieves a 95% Renewable energy solution through public investments. In this video presentation, Chris discusses his IRP that offers the least cost sustainable solution to our environmental problems that benefits all New Brunswicker both now and in the future.
The event was organized by the Coalition for Responsible Energy Development in New Brunswick (CRED-NB), Extinction Rebellion New Brunswick, and the RAVEN project (Rural Action and Voices for the Environment) at the University of New Brunswick.
Click on the video below to watch Chris’ presentation and the Q&A session that followed.
Nuclear is dirty energy. It leaves an everlasting radioactive legacy. Download our new fact sheet here.
Nuclear is dirty energy. It leaves an everlasting radioactive legacy.
All nuclear reactors create radioactive poisons as unwanted byproducts. We’ve made lots of them at the Point Lepreau nuclear plant on the Bay of Fundy west of Saint John.
The two “small” nuclear reactors proposed for New Brunswick will produce more of the same as well as new kinds of radioactive poisons.
Radioactivity from nuclear reactors and their waste must be securely contained because it is highly dangerous to all living things.
Exposing a living cell to radioactive material can alter its DNA. Chronic exposure can eventually cause cancers and other harmful health effects, including genetic damage that can affect offspring.
Any release of radioactivity at Point Lepreau can harm living things nearby including in the Bay of Fundy.
Used nuclear fuel
The deadliest and most concentrated form of nuclear waste is used (irradiated) nuclear reactor fuel. It must be safely stored for hundreds of thousands of years (essentially forever).
However, no secure long-term storage facility for spent fuel has been approved for use anywhere on the planet.
NB Power is planning to move the Point Lepreau deadly waste in future to a permanent storage facility on Indigenous territory in Ontario. The Indigenous communities in Ontario don’t want it. We must consider permanent storage at Point Lepreau.
“Recycling” used CANDU fuel
At Point Lepreau, irradiated nuclear fuel from the CANDU nuclear reactor is sealed in temporary storage silos. The new “small” nuclear reactor projects plan to open these storage silos. They will remove and dissolve the solid fuel bundles at high temperatures.
Their plan is to access the plutonium and a few other materials inside and make new fuel for the “small” reactors.
More than 95 percent of the dissolved fuel will be rejected as unusable radioactive waste.
In Canada, this has never been done before on a commercial scale, and never with irradiated CANDU fuel. It raises many safety and security concerns
Some of the most contaminated sites on Earth are the result of large-scale reprocessing of irradiated nuclear fuel to extract plutonium.
Facts about plutonium
Plutonium, a human-made material created during the nuclear reaction, is the primary explosive material in nuclear weapons.
It is also extraordinarily toxic when inhaled.
Reprocessing makes plutonium more accessible to terrorists for further use in “dirty” bombs (“radiological dispersal devices”) or improvised nuclear weapons.
There would be increased security at Pont Lepreau for the “small” nuclear reactors.
New types of used fuel created
The “small” nuclear reactors will create new types of used fuel.
Smaller in volume, but much more radioactive by weight than the Point Lepreau spent fuel, it will also need to be kept out of the environment of living things for hundreds of thousands of years.
Radioactive building materials
When “small” reactors reach end of life, radioactive steel, concrete, and contaminated equipment will remain radioactive for thousands of years. These dangerous materials cannot be safely recycled.
The radioactive waste from dismantling the “small” reactors will be New Brunswick’s responsibility. Our future generations will be paying for the secure storage and maintenance of this waste for thousands of years into the future.
The only guaranteed long-term solution to the problem of deadly radioactive waste is to stop making it. Moving existing waste to a safe and secure location at Point Lepreau requires planning, but let’s not make the problem worse by producing even more.
We must not fund new nuclear reactors. Instead, we should invest in cheap, clean, safe alternatives that can be quickly deployed to move New Brunswick to a green energy future.
Today CRED-NB submitted our recommendations for the federal budget. You can read the document here.
RAVEN and CRED-NB member Susan O’Donnell published an analysis of the $20 million gift announced last week by the New Brunswick premier. Read her commentary in the NB Media Co-op here.
In February, the New Brunswick government announced another gift to the nuclear industry: $20 million to continue designing a prototype nuclear reactor that, if built, will create new and even more toxic kinds of nuclear poisons. Read our fact sheet: Nuclear is dirty energy.
Ottawa – Over 100 public interest and community groups signed on to a joint letter setting out their expectations for a review of Canada’s Radioactive Waste Policy launched by Natural Resources Canada last November. Top on their list: the review must be transparent, and independent of the nuclear industry.
In previous communications, the groups have strenuously objected to the decision by Natural Resources Canada to delegate the development of strategies for the management of radioactive waste to an industry organization, the Nuclear Waste Management Organization (NWMO). The NWMO was formed by the power companies who own nuclear reactors in 2002 to develop a plan to manage high level nuclear fuel waste.
The letter states:
As public interest groups, many with considerable expertise in nuclear waste management, we consider this Review to be of utmost national importance. The outcomes of the Review process will impact not only the current generation of Canadians but also generations to come. As we have communicated with NRCan staff and in earlier letters to you as Prime Minister of Canada and as Minister of Natural Resources, we have serious concerns about the shape of the review as announced to date.
In particular, a timeline with March 31, 2021 for the end of public engagement is unreasonable and unacceptable. Most Canadians have not yet even been made aware of this review and its far-ranging implications. At the very least, Canadians must be given notice of the Review process and opportunities to participate.
To date, NRCan has populated a web site, posted four discussion papers and comment forums, and held one by-invitation “information session” and a number of bilateral conversations with civil society organizations and others in December 2020. The format and frequency of the Departments interaction with the nuclear industry and nuclear supply companies is unknown.
The letter with the 100+ endorsing groups can be viewed at www.nuclearwastewatch.ca.
Today we sent to the New Brunswick government and the opposition parties our submission to the pre-budget consultations. In the throne speech last year, the government missed the opportunity to announce a bold plan for renewable energy and energy-saving retrofits. Instead, the speech mentioned the new nuclear reactors proposed for the province.
Our submission analyses what we should see in the budget for responsible energy development in New Brunswick. Read it here.
Chris Rouse: Transitioning to a Low-Carbon Economy in New Brunswick: Why public investments are better than incentives
Free event, everyone welcome. Tuesday, Feb. 23 at 7pm.
Register to receive the event link and a reminder:
Chris Rouse is the founder of New Clear Free Solutions and has been very active in the environmental movement for over 10 years. Chris has a very extensive technical background. He has developed an Integrated Resource Plan for New Brunswick that achieves a 95% Renewable energy solution through public investments. The IRP offers the least cost sustainable solution to our environmental problems that benefits all New Brunswicker both now and in the future.
This event is organized by the Coalition for Responsible Energy Development in New Brunswick (CRED-NB), Extinction Rebellion New Brunswick, and the RAVEN project (Rural Action and Voices for the Environment) at the University of New Brunswick.