Webinar Feb. 23: Transitioning to a Low-Carbon Economy in New Brunswick

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:

https://unbvirtualclasses.zoom.us/meeting/register/tJwpdeGqqTsuE9S63pfdy_GVFzxQjEyypL7q

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.

Groups object to nuclear regulator’s plan to weaken rules for experimental nuclear reactors

OTTAWA, January 21, 2021 – Civil society groups are objecting to plans by the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) to weaken its nuclear security regulations.  A staff presentation to the Commission today reveals that they have been reviewing the regulations since 2018, with no public consultation.

The presentation says amendments are underway to “remove prescriptive requirements” from the Nuclear Security Regulations and publish the revised regulations by late 2021 or early 2022.

A paper by Natural Resources Canada says that prescriptive regulations are more detailed and stringent, and easier to monitor and enforce.

“While the CNSC asserts its decision making is ‘free from external pressure,’ civil society groups continue to question the regulator’s independence,” said Kerrie Blaise of the Canadian Environmental Law Association. “The CNSC is supporting the nuclear industry’s requests to remove regulatory barriers for Small Modular Reactors (SMRs).” 

Indeed, the federal government’s recent SMR action plan confirms that one of its expected results is that “Revised Nuclear Security Regulations only cover high-level principles similar to other regulations and prescriptive requirements are removed.”

The CNSC presentation shows that Canada’s nuclear regulator intends to change its regulatory approach to accommodate new experimental reactor technologies, known as small modular reactors (SMRs). Other regulations being “enhanced” by CNSC deal with safety assessment, design and licensing of nuclear power plants.

Today’s CNSC meeting will finish with an in-camera closed session to consider a staff presentation entitled, “Regulatory project to amend the General Nuclear Safety and Control Regulations and the Nuclear Non-proliferation Import & Export Control Regulations.”

“We are disappointed that CNSC staff has forged ahead and is now proposing a looser regulatory approach without any consultation with Canadians who would be directly affected if and when one of these new experimental reactors is trucked into their community,” said Brennain Lloyd, coordinator of Northwatch, based in northeastern Ontario.

The plan to expand new nuclear technologies across Canada and into remote mining and Indigenous communities is controversial. The United Church of Canada recently joined with over 100 citizen groups, the Assembly of First Nations, the Chiefs of Ontario, the Anishinabek Nation, and three federal parties in opposing SMRs.

The federal government has been promoting SMRs with its action plan and funding from Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada (ISED)’s Strategic Innovation Fund, saying that “Canada is poised to be a leader in the safe and responsible development” of SMRs.  Yet the government has exempted most SMRs from a federal environmental assessment under the new Impact Assessment Act.

Critics say that SMRs would require billions in public subsidies and fear that their designers also want more relaxed safety and security regulations. Of the more than 50 designs that exist for experimental nuclear reactors, the CNSC is reviewing a dozen under pre-licensing agreements with companies like Moltex Energy and GE-Hitachi.

“The CNSC’s SMR design reviews are taking place behind closed doors,” said Lloyd. “That allows these private sector companies to sell their unproven reactor designs to the regulatory staff without any public scrutiny.”

The CNSC staff presentation also states that CNSC is “supporting” two SMR vendors active in New Brunswick, including the study of how they might extract plutonium from highly radioactive irradiated CANDU fuel. A government report highlighted that reprocessing used CANDU fuel, which has never been done previously in Canada, raises nuclear weapons proliferation risks. 

“We are outraged that New Brunswick is being used for a risky and costly experiment with dangerous radioactive materials, and that we will not have an opportunity to voice our concerns during a federal Impact Assessment,” said Dr. Susan O’Donnell, spokesperson for the Coalition for Responsible Energy Development in New Brunswick. 

The CNSC staff presentation suggests that the first SMRs are expected to be constructed soon. Global First Power applied in early 2019 for a license to prepare a site at Chalk River, Ontario (on federally owned land), and Ontario Power Generation has notified the CNSC of its intent to apply for a license to construct new reactors at the Darlington Power Plant by March 2022. 

 – 30 –

Media contacts:

Kerrie Blaise

Northern Legal Counsel, CELA
Email: kerrie@cela.ca

Tel: 416-960-2284 ext 7224 

Brennain Lloyd, Northwatch

Tel: 705-497-0373, cell 705-493-9650

brennain@northwatch.org

Eva Schacherl, CANDOR

Tel: 613-316-9450

evaschacherl@gmail.com

The nuclear industry lobbying club in New Brunswick

Lobbying by the nuclear industry is a key reason why the industry attains so many public subsidies. An analysis of the federal lobby database shows just how powerful the nuclear lobby is. In New Brunswick, CBC reporter Jacques Poitras wrote an article this week about lobbying activity for the proposed nuke projects for the province, in particular by well-connected Liberal party people. As CRED-NB spokesperson Susan O’Donnell says in the article: “It’s a club.” You can read the article here.

Video: More nuclear reactors for New Brunswick?

The province and NB Power are promoting two more nuclear reactors (SMRs), to be built next to the existing reactor at Point Lepreau on the Bay of Fundy.

On Jan. 14, the New Brunswick Environmental Network (NBEN) invited Susan O’Donnell, CRED-NB member and leader of the RAVEN project at the University of New Brunswick, to make a presentation about the proposed nuclear reactors.

The video (31 minutes) is here:

Webinar: Ending the global security threats of nuclear power

Webinar: Ending the global security threats of nuclear power: Lessons from the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons

3 – 4:30pm Eastern • Wednesday, January 27, 2021

Everyone is welcome to join this international panel session to learn about the links between nuclear power, SMRs, global security and nuclear weapons. Lots to learn! This event is free and open to the public.

Register to attend this international panel session (zoom link + reminder will be sent to registered participants):
https://unbvirtualclasses.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_Gv5APIANQYOU2h5bYAZBvQ

Hosts: Coalition for Responsible Energy Development in New Brunswick (CRED-NB) + Canadian Environmental Law Association (CELA) + Beyond Nuclear + NB Media Co-op

Synopsis: Through considerable organizing by civil society, the dream of a Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) comes into force on January 22. The effort involved challenging existing claims about the value of nuclear weapons, creating a new narrative centered on human security, building new alliances between civil society and governments, and using international law and institutions to drive change.

Can these approaches help tackle the strong but subtle link between nuclear power and nuclear weapons, halt emerging programs to build so-called small modular nuclear reactors (SMRs), and finally end the reckless pursuit of nuclear energy programs worldwide.

Panel

Ray Acheson, Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom: The keys to the success of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW)
What were the TPNW campaign approaches, messaging and tactics? What are the lessons that can inform a similar effort to ban nuclear power?

Zia Mian, physicist, Senior Research Scholar and Co-Director, Program in Science and Global Security (SGS), Princeton University: The limits of the nuclear proliferation management approach. How have we tried to understand and manage the global security risks from nuclear power? What are the limits of the Nuclear Proliferation Treaty and supply side controls, and the challenges of the existing nuclear power international order? Is there a link between nuclear energy and the TPNW?

David Lowry, Senior International Research Fellow, Institute for Resource and Security Studies, Cambridge, Massachusetts (but based in London, England): Next-generation nuclear reactors and the maintenance of military nuclear programs. How are new nuclear reactors tied to military nuclear programs through naval nuclear reactors? What are examples from the promotion of SMRs in the UK?

Gordon Edwards, President, Canadian Coalition for Nuclear Responsibility: Added proliferation dangers from next-generation nuclear power. What is ominous about the next generation nuclear energy fuel chain (SMRs, increased fuel enrichment level, reprocessing…), and its links to nuclear weapons? What is needed to break the proliferation chain, and create a stable energy framework compatible with a nuclear weapons-free world?

Register to attend this international panel session (zoom link + reminder will be sent to registered participants):
https://unbvirtualclasses.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_Gv5APIANQYOU2h5bYAZBvQ

Online Workshop: Calculating the Risks and Benefits of SMRs in New Brunswick

The New Brunswick Environmental Network (NBEN) is organizing a workshop, co-hosted by RAVEN, a CRED-NB member, and the NB Media Co-op.

Join us on January 14th at 7pm Atlantic time, as we explore what Small Nuclear Reactors (SMRs) really mean for New Brunswick’s energy future. Free workshop. English with french interpretation.

Susan O’Donnell, lead researcher with Rural Action and Voices for the Environment (RAVEN), will give a presentation on SMRs. Participants will then be asked to use the NBEN’s Risks and Benefits Calculator to come to their own conclusion. A period of questions and exchange will follow.

Register here: https://nben.ca/en/?option=com_rsform&view=rsform&formId=323

A zoom link will be sent to registered participants on January 14th only.

///Joignez-vous à nous le 14 janvier à 19h, pour découvrir ce que les petits réacteurs nucléaires signifient réellement pour l’avenir énergétique du Nouveau-Brunswick.

Susan O’Donnell, chercheuse principale de Rural Action and Voices for the Environment (RAVEN), fera une présentation sur les petits réacteurs nucléaires. Les participant(e)s seront ensuite invité(e)s à utiliser la calculatrice de risques et d’avantages du RENB pour arriver à leur propre conclusion. Une période de questions et d’échange suivra.

Veuillez vous inscrire ici : https://nben.ca/fr/?option=com_rsform&view=rsform&formId=324

Un lien pour la participation par zoom sera envoyé aux participant(e)s inscrit(e)s le jour de l’atelier. Anglais avec interprétation en français.

Feds’ Small Modular Reactor Action Plan is a dangerous distraction from climate change mitigation

CRED-NB member Rick Cheeseman, representing the group VOICES for Sustainable Environments and Communities, published an article this week with Corporate Knights. Rick’s article includes many useful links to source materials, including his SMR Facts & Fictions resource, now available in a fully bilingual version. You can read the article and access the links here.

Government’s early holiday gift to the nuclear industry “naughty, not nice”

le français suit…

Public interest groups across Canada reject federal funding of small modular nuclear reactors

OTTAWA, December 17, 2020 – Public interest groups across Canada are criticizing the federal government for funding development of prototype small modular nuclear reactors (SMR) with the SMR action plan that is expected to be announced tomorrow. [Friday, December 18]

“Not a penny should go from taxpayers to nuclear corporations when the private sector is not willing to fund the huge cost of these dirty, dangerous technologies,” said Prof. Susan O’Donnell from the Coalition for Responsible Energy Development in New Brunswick and member of a national stop-SMRs action group. “Canada needs to take real climate action by investing in renewable energy and energy efficiency, not nuclear experiments.”

“The federal government’s early Christmas present to the nuclear industry is naughty, not nice,” said Gordon Edwards, President of the Canadian Coalition for Nuclear Responsibility. “Not only is it a waste of money. The stocking is also filled with more ‘get-out-of-jail free’ cards for the nuclear industry, like exempting small reactors from the Impact Assessment Act.”

The Santa for the nuclear industry is Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources Seamus O’Regan. The government’s SMR Action Plan is expected to include a big bag of goodies for private sector companies, mostly based in the US and UK – millions in taxpayer funding to develop experimental nuclear reactors. 

Federal funding for new nuclear energy is opposed by over 70 groups from coast to coast, including the West Coast Environmental Law Association, Friends of the Earth Canada, Greenpeace Canada, Canadian Environmental Law Association, Environmental Defence, Coalition for Responsible Energy Development in New Brunswick, Coalition for a Clean Green Saskatchewan, Concerned Citizens of Manitoba, Northwatch, Sierra Club Canada Foundation, Ralliement contre la pollution radioactive, Équiterre and the Canadian Coalition for Nuclear Responsibility.

A Special Chiefs Assembly of the Assembly of First Nations passed a unanimous resolution in December 2018 demanding “that the Government of Canada cease funding and support of the Small Modular Nuclear Reactors program” (Resolution no. 62).

“Building new nuclear reactors does not belong in a climate action plan,” said O’Donnell. “Leading researchers have shown that investing in renewable energy is the best path to net zero and that adding nuclear energy to the mix actually hinders rather than helps.”

Shawn-Patrick Stensil, Director of Programs at Greenpeace Canada, said: “The Liberal government is throwing good money after bad.  Hypothetical new nuclear power technologies have been promising to be the next big thing for the last forty years, but in spite of massive public subsidies, that prospect has never panned out.”

“Next-generation nuclear reactors are a dirty, dangerous distraction from tackling the climate crisis. Nuclear energy is not green, not clean, too costly and too slow to build,” said Kerrie Blaise, Northern Services Legal Counsel, Canadian Environmental Law Association.

The groups charge that the federal government is trying to save the nuclear industry rather than saving the environment and protecting health.

The groups say (See Backgrounder below)

  • Small Modular Reactor (SMR) development is too slow to address the climate crisis
  • SMRs are far more expensive than renewable energy
  • Nuclear power creates fewer jobs than renewable energy
  • SMRs are dirty and dangerous

The federal government has never consulted the public about small modular reactors, which would create environmental risks and financial liabilities for Canadians.

An ever-growing number of public interest groups oppose SMR funding and have endorsed a Statement on Small Modular Reactors.

– 30 –

Media contacts:Theresa A. McClenaghan, CELA
Tel. 416-960-2284 ext.7219
E-mail theresa@cela.ca

Eva Schacherl
Tel: 613-316-9450
evaschacherl@gmail.com

Backgrounder: Why SMRs Are a Dirty Dangerous Distraction

Small Modular Reactor (SMR) development is too slow to address the climate crisis:

The 2020 World Nuclear Industry Status Report says that developing new nuclear energy is too slow to address the climate crisis – as well as more expensive – compared to renewable energy and energy efficiency. No SMRs have yet been built and the models being proposed will take a decade or more to develop.

SMRs are more expensive than renewable energy:

Canadian study found that energy from small nuclear reactors would be up to ten times the cost of renewable energy. In the past decade, the cost of building solar, wind power and battery storage has gone down dramatically, while the cost of building new nuclear reactors has gone up. Small reactors will be even more expensive per unit of power than the current large ones. The most advanced SMR project to date in the US has already doubled its estimated cost – from $3B to over $6B. 

Nuclear power creates fewer jobs than renewable energy:

Renewable energy is one of the fastest-growing job sectors in North America. An American study found that solar energy leads to six times as many jobs as nuclear power for each gigawatt-hour of electricity generated.

There are better sources of energy:

Minister O’Regan has said repeatedly, without providing evidence, that there is no path to net-zero greenhouse gas emissions without nuclear energy. In fact, on the contrary a new study of 123 countries over 25 years found that countries that invested in renewable energy lowered their carbon emissions much more than those reliant on nuclear energy.

SMRs are dirty and dangerous:

The new “small” reactors, proposed to be built across Canada, will produce radioactive waste of many kinds. Some of the proposed models would extract plutonium from irradiated fuel, worsening concerns about weapons proliferation and creating new forms of radioactive waste that are especially dangerous to manage. The federal government currently has no detailed policy or strategy for what to do with radioactive waste, and no design or location for a deep underground repository where industry proposes to store high-level radioactive waste for hundreds of thousands of years.The Union of Ontario Indians and the Assembly of First Nations have both denounced SMR funding:

www.ccnr.org/COO_resolution_SMRs_2018.pdf

www.ccnr.org/AFN_resolution_SMRs_2018.pdf

***

Communiqué de presse

Le cadeau de Noël du gouvernement à l’industrie nucléaire :
“plus vilain que gentil”

Dans tout le pays, des groupes citoyens rejettent le financement fédéral
pour les petits réacteurs modulaires
 

Montréal, le 17 décembre 2020—Partout au Canada, des groupes citoyens reprochent au gouvernement fédéral de subventionner la mise au point de plusieurs prototypes de petits réacteurs nucléaires modulaires (PRM). Le plan d’action PRM devrait être annoncé demain par le ministre des Ressources naturelles du Canada, l’honorable Seamus O’Regan.

« L’industrie nucléaire ne devrait même pas avoir un sou des contribuables quand le secteur privé refuse d’investir dans ces technologies sales et dangereuses », lance la professeure Susan O’Donnell au nom de la Coalition pour un développement énergétique responsable au Nouveau-Brunswick et membre d’un groupe d’action national contre les PRM. « Si le Canada veut protéger le climat, dit-elle, il ne doit pas se lancer dans une aventure nucléaire, mais plutôt investir dans les énergies renouvelables et dans l’efficacité énergétique. »

« Le cadeau de Noël du gouvernement fédéral à l’industrie nucléaire est plus vilain que gentil », soutient Gordon Edwards, président du Regroupement pour la surveillance du nucléaire. « Ce n’est pas juste un gaspillage d’argent; le bas de Noël de l’industrie nucléaire est aussi rempli de cartes de jeu pour sortir de prison, puisque les petits réacteurs vont échapper à la loi sur les études d’impact. »

Le père Noël de l’industrie nucléaire semble être le ministre canadien des Ressources naturelles, Seamus O’Regan. Le plan d’action PRM du gouvernement inclurait un grand sac de cadeaux destinés à des entreprises privées, plusieurs étant des États-Unis et du Royaume-Uni; ce sont des millions de dollars en fonds publics pour mettre au point des réacteurs nucléaires expérimentaux.

D’un océan à l’autre, plus de 70 groupes se sont ligués contre les subventions fédérales destinées à des réacteurs nucléaires prototypes. Dans ce groupe, la West Coast Environmental Law Association, les Amis de la Terre Canada, Greenpeace Canada, l’Association canadienne du droit de l’environnement, Environmental Defence, la Coalition pour un développement énergétique responsable au Nouveau-Brunswick, la Coalition for a Clean Green Saskatchewan, Concerned Citizens of Manitoba, Northwatch, la Fondation Sierra Club Canada, le Ralliement contre la pollution radioactive, Équiterre et le Regroupement pour la surveillance du nucléaire.

Réunis en assemblée spéciale en décembre 2018, les chefs de l’Assemblée des Premières Nations avaient été unanimes à exiger « que le gouvernement du Canada cesse de financer et d’appuyer le programme des petits réacteurs nucléaires modulaires» (Résolution no 62).

« La construction de nouveaux réacteurs nucléaires n’a pas sa place dans un plan d’action climatique », dit Susan O’Donnell. « Des chercheurs de premier plan ont démontré que la meilleure manière d’arriver à zéro émission de gaz à effet de serre, c’est d’investir dans les énergies renouvelables; si on rajoute l’énergie nucléaire dans l’équation, c’est bien plus nuisible qu’utile. » 

« Le gouvernement libéral jette son argent par les fenêtres, soutient Shawn-Patrick Stensil, directeur des programmes chez Greenpeace Canada. Il y a déjà quarante ans qu’on nous promet de nouvelles technologies nucléaires hypothétiques qui devaient tout régler, mais on les attend toujours malgré d’énormes subventions publiques. »

« Les réacteurs nucléaires de nouvelle génération ne sont qu’une distraction sale et dangereuse face à la crise climatique, dit Kerrie Blaise, conseillère juridique des Services du Nord à l’Association canadienne du droit de l’environnement. L’énergie nucléaire n’est ni verte, ni propre; elle est trop chère et prend trop de temps à construire. »

Ces groupes accusent le gouvernement fédéral de vouloir surtout sauver l’industrie nucléaire plutôt que de protéger l’environnement et notre santé.

Les groupes disent que (voir le document d’information ci-dessous) :

∙ La mise au point des petits réacteurs modulaires (PRM) est trop lente pour contrer la crise climatique

∙ Les PRM sont beaucoup plus chers que les énergies renouvelables

∙ L’énergie nucléaire crée moins d’emplois que les énergies renouvelables

∙ Les PRM sont polluants et dangereux

Le gouvernement fédéral n’a jamais consulté le public sur les petits réacteurs modulaires qui vont menacer l’environnement et endetter les Canadiens.

Un nombre croissant de groupes citoyens s’opposent au financement des PRM et ils ont émis une déclaration contre les petits réacteurs modulaires.

– 30 –

Contacts pour les médias :

Ginette Charbonneau
Ralliement contre la pollution radioactive
514-246-6439
ginettech@hotmail.ca

Gilles Provost
Ralliement contre la pollution radioactive
514-773-5704
artscience@videotron.ca

Document d’information:
Pourquoi les PRM sont une distraction très dangereuse

La mise au point des petits réacteurs modulaires (PRM) est trop lente pour contrer la crise climatique

Le rapport sur l’état de l’industrie nucléaire mondiale en 2020 indique que la mise au point des réacteurs nucléaires de nouvelle génération est trop lente pour faire face à la crise climatique – et plus coûteuse – par rapport aux énergies renouvelables et à l’efficacité énergétique. Aucun PRM n’a encore été construit et la mise en service des modèles proposés demandera encore au moins une décennie.

Les PRM coûtent plus cher que les énergies renouvelables

Une étude canadienne a révélé que l’énergie produite par les petits réacteurs nucléaires coûterait jusqu’à dix fois plus cher que l’énergie renouvelable. Au cours de la dernière décennie, le coût de la construction de l’énergie solaire, de l’énergie éolienne et du stockage des batteries a considérablement diminué, tandis que le coût de la construction de nouveaux réacteurs nucléaires a augmenté. Les petits réacteurs seront encore plus chers par unité de puissance que les grands réacteurs actuels. Les prévisions actuelles de coût du projet de PRM les plus avancés aux États-Unis ont déjà doublé, passant à plus de 6 milliards de dollars.

L’énergie nucléaire crée moins d’emplois que les énergies renouvelables

L’énergie renouvelable est l’un des secteurs d’emploi qui connait la croissance la plus rapide en Amérique du Nord. Une étude américaine a révélé que l’énergie solaire génère six fois plus d’emplois que l’énergie nucléaire pour chaque gigawattheure d’électricité produite.

Il existe de meilleures sources d’énergie

Le ministre O’Regan a répété à maintes reprises, sans fournir de preuves, qu’on ne pourrait pas atteindre la cible de zéro émission nette sans faire appel à l’énergie nucléaire. Au contraire, une nouvelle étude de 123 pays échelonnée sur 25 ans a révélé que les pays qui investissaient dans les énergies renouvelables réduisaient beaucoup plus leurs émissions de carbone que ceux qui misent sur l’énergie nucléaire.

Les PRM sont polluants et dangereux

Les futurs «petits» réacteurs, que l’on voudrait construire dans tout le Canada, produiront des déchets radioactifs de toutes sortes. Certains des modèles proposés extrairaient le plutonium du combustible irradié, aggravant les risques de prolifération des armes nucléaires et créant de nouvelles formes de déchets radioactifs dont la gestion serait particulièrement dangereuse. Le gouvernement fédéral n’a actuellement aucune politique ou stratégie détaillée sur le sort des déchets radioactifs, ni aucun plan précis ni même un emplacement pour un dépôt souterrain profond où l’industrie pourrait stocker ses déchets radioactifs de haute activité pendant des centaines de milliers d’années.