Nuclear power is not needed for modern medicine!

Did you know that modern medicine does not depend on nuclear power? All electricity producing reactors in Canada and around the world could be shut down permanently with little or no impact on best medical practices.

Hospitals do not need nuclear power, and never have. Any isotopes (radioactive materials) that are considered medically required can be produced by accelerators or small research reactors. These are different reactors than the kind that produce electricity.

For more info, check out the fact sheet produced by the Canadian Coalition for Nuclear Responsibility, HERE. At the end of the one-page fact sheet is a link to more detailed information supporting all the facts.

CRED-NB responds to SMR plan in Saskatchewan

The CBC Saskatchewan radio program Blue Sky invited CRED-NB representative Susan O’Donnell to a call-in show on Sept. 22 on the issue of SMRs in the province. Susan shared her knowledge about SMR development, including New Brunswick’s current experience with nuclear power at the Point Lepreau reactor.

Listen to the portion of the show including Susan, HERE, or the entire Blue Sky segment with all guests on the CBC site, HERE.

What if the wind doesn’t blow?

Join us for a webinar with internationally renowned renewable energy expert Dr. Mark Jacobson, Wednesday, Sept. 28 at 8pm Atlantic by zoom. Register HERE.

NB Power executives and their friends in the nuclear industry like to diss renewable energy with the tiresome phrase: “the sun doesn’t always shine and the wind doesn’t always blow” – duh! We’ve never heard of the sun not shining or the wind not blowing for a month in New Brunswick, and the Lepreau reactor has been down much longer than that! What happens then? We have many options for intermittent power.

Dr. Jacobson is Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Stanford University, where he is the Director of the Atmosphere/Energy program. He has written extensively on how to transition to 100 percent wind, water, and solar in all energy sectors, as well as on electricity grid reliability under those scenarios.

This webinar is hosted by the Sierra Club Atlantic Chapter, CRED-NB and other partners. Join us for this interesting conversation!

Fracking again? An LNG export terminal? Facts please

Premier Blaine Higgs has hinted he would like to end the moratorium on fracking in the province. The premier is also pushing a private-sector company, Repsol, to convert its Saint John LNG (liquefied natural gas) import terminal into an export terminal to help Germany with its energy woes.

The Conservation Council of New Brunswick and CRED-NB core member the New Brunswick Anti-Shale Gas Alliance (NBASGA) have published a fact sheet to unpack this situation. Read it HERE.

SMRs riddled with high costs, among other ‘unresolved problems’

M.V. Ramana, a professor at the University of British Columbia, is one of Canada’s foremost authorities on nuclear energy and “small modular nuclear reactors (SMRs).”

In this two-part article published by the NB Media Co-op, Ramana analyzes the cost factors related to SMRs. Read it HERE.

The second part of the article, “Slow deployment, safety hazards make SMRs a poor climate solution,” discusses why SMRs should not feature in a climate action plan. Read it HERE.

NB’s English-language newspapers regularly favour industry, pro-nuclear perspectives on small modular reactors

UNB’s Harrison Dressler wrote two stories this month about coverage of nuclear issues by corporate media in New Brunswick. The first, HERE, analyzed how the media incorporated Indigenous perspectives.

Dressler’s second article looked at how the newspapers he analyzed relied on pro-industry sources for their articles. Read it HERE.

Environmental groups support call for review of new model for NB Power’s transformation

Today the environmental organization New Clear Free Solutions asked for a review of its model to transform NB Power to a renewable energy utility in a way that will keep electricity rates low and achieve its required equity goals. The request is supported by the Coalition for Responsible Energy Development in New Brunswick (CRED-NB). 

On July 4, the NB Power board fired its CEO and engaged PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) Canada to perform a strategic review to transform the utility. The letter sent today to the NB Power board Chair Charles V. Firlotte requested a meeting between New Clear Solutions founder Chris Rouse and the team conducting the strategic review at PwC Canada.  

Chris Rouse, with more than 25 years’ experience in industrial systems engineering, has been an intervener in three of the last four NB Power rate hearings. He developed an alternative Integrated Resource Plan for NB Power with the following elements: 

-Achieves a 95% renewable energy mix by 2040 or sooner 

-Maintains low and stable rates 

-Achieves NB Power equity targets in the near term, and pays down NB Power debt and makes NB Power very profitable in the longer term 

-Creates significant economic activity and jobs 

“For successive years NB Power management teams has ignored alternative plans to make public investments in renewable energy. The firing of the CEO and engagement of PwC is an opportunity for transformative change to develop a public electricity utility that New Brunswickers need,” said Rouse.   

The model proposed by New Clear Free Solutions has been validated by NB Power, which included the model as an appendix in its 2017 IRP but they never implemented it. “This is in spite of their own review of the modeling performed by NB Power System Planning Engineer Darren Clark who stated at a rate hearing “We reviewed Mr. Rouse’s model and functionally I believe the majority of what he is setting out to do, the model is accomplishing.” 

The letter to NB Power states that NB Power has two main ways to achieve the transformational economic and environmental goals the board is looking for. The first is large rate increases which would be “unpopular” considering inflationary pressures already on New Brunswickers. The second option, which this plan promotes, is an equity injection from our carbon tax revenue into NB Power, to invest in renewables and efficiency in lieu of rate increases. This is already possible under current legislation, and a great way to give the carbon tax back to New Brunswickers to help curb inflation. 

The letter states that ”Using the carbon tax revenue to make investments in renewables and efficiency not only enables NB Power to meet its equity target without significant rate increases, but also reduces fuel and purchased power cost that will give NB Power more free cash flow to reinvest. This reinvestment will compound like compound interest and will exponentially transition the electricity grid to 95% renewable, achieve equity targets and make NB Power very profitable.”  

The Coalition for Responsible Energy Development (CRED-NB) speaks for more than 20 groups and 120 individuals in the province advocating for a nuclear-free renewable energy future endorsed the meeting request. Representative Susan O’Donnell stated “CRED-NB is interested to see a third-party review of how this plan for NB Power can support a sustainable energy future for all New Brunswickers.” 

The letter to NB Power is available on the New Clear Free Solutions website, HERE

-30- 

For more information: 

Chris Rouse  

506-650-0007 

 chris_r_31@hotmail.com 

New Brunswick’s media coverage of small modular nuclear reactors silences Indigenous perspectives

An article by Harrison Dressler in the NB Media Co-op analyzes corporate media coverage of nuclear issues. Dressler found that:

“Stories that offered a positive outlook on small modular reactors were published far more frequently than stories critical of the technology. In the former case, Indigenous sources were almost always absent. Indeed, a pro-SMNR coalition (comprised of actors drawn from the nuclear industry and government) included only three Indigenous sources in their 13 published articles on the topic, all of which favored the adoption of small modular reactors.”

Read the story HERE.

Experimental nuclear reactors DO need an impact assessment: CRED-NB files request with federal environment minister

The Coalition for Responsible Energy Development in New Brunswick (CRED-NB) has sent a formal request to federal Environment Minister Steven Guilbeault to order an impact assessment for a project which could have profound and lasting impacts on the Bay of Fundy and the coastal communities and marine life it supports.

For more information about why an impact assessment is required, including letters of support from Indigenous groups and civil society groups in New Brunswick and across Canada, read the formal CRED-NB request to federal Environment Minister Steven Guilbeault, HERE. (French version HERE.)

To send a letter to Minister Guilbeault supporting the CRED-NB request, use our action tool, HERE. We’re working in collaboration with the Ontario Clean Air Alliance to gather support across Canada.

The nuclear industry plans to build experimental nuclear reactors, so-called “small modular nuclear reactors” (SMRs) in New Brunswick, with the aim that one day they can be used in different towns and remote communities across Canada.

Pressure from the nuclear industry lobby changed our federal environmental assessment law in 2019, exempting many nuclear projects like SMRs from undergoing a full environmental impact assessment (IA). 

CRED-NB is challenging the exemption for the “SMR Demonstration Project” planned for Point Lepreau on the Bay of Fundy, asking the federal government to step in and order the project undergo a full IA under the Impact Assessment Act.

“As a first of its kind experimental nuclear project, on the traditional territory of the Peskotomuhkati Nation, which opposes the project, with ramifications for the rights of the Wolastoqey and Mi’gmaq Nations, and located in a beautiful, coastal rural region with locally important fishing, tourism and wild blueberry industries, the SMR Demonstration Project ought to attract the most rigorous form of public engagement and planning,” said Gail Wylie, CRED-NB chair.

“The exemption not only erodes public involvement and oversight of the project but also means that there will be no full reckoning of the alternatives to the energy project and its impacts to social, economic, Indigenous and environmental values,” added Ann McAllister, spokesperson for CRED-NB.

Opponents argue that the SMRs do not need an IA, since they have to get a licence from the nuclear regulator, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission. This profoundly misses the mark! A nuclear licence is a regulatory proceeding – it does not account for the “big picture” or whether the project has a social licence to operate. 

“There is a pressing need to designate this project for an IA. Impact assessment promotes a ‘look before you leap’ approach to decision-making so that independent reviews of risk and harm, alternatives to the project, the purpose of the project and impacts on social, economic, Indigenous and environmental values can be duly evaluated,” said Kerrie Blaise, legal counsel for the Canadian Environmental Law Association. CELA was among the groups endorsing the designation request to the Minister sent today.

CRED-NB is asking people across Canada to support the campaign. This is not just a New Brunswick issue. If successful, these SMRs could be deployed in hundreds of communities across the country. Their wastes will be added to our existing stockpiles for which no solution currently exists.