Archive | Uranium and Nuclear Power Industry

Pickering’s false alarm has raised false fears about nuclear power. The fallout from global warming is the bigger threat – by Martin Regg Cohn (Toronto Star – January 16, 2020)

There’s every reason to find out why an emergency alert wrongly went out early Sunday over the Pickering nuclear plant. But a great deal of the alarmist rhetoric over that false alarm simply rings false.

Yes, the screw-up surely rattled many in the eastern GTA. Fear, followed by anger, was to be expected from families wondering if they had enough protective potassium iodide tablets on hand — even if the erroneous alert stressed no abnormal release of radioactivity in the unspecified “incident” that never was.

The reaction from residents was understandable. More predictable, perhaps, was the response from anti-nuclear critics who warned anyone awakened by Sunday morning’s alerts that it was a wake-up call of a higher order. Continue Reading →

We have good reasons to be alarmed about nuclear reactors – by Rosie DiManno (Toronto Star – January 15, 2020)

Let me tell you about nuclear reactors and me. Because suddenly, on Sunday, a nuclear calamity was on everybody’s mind, GTA residents jolted into a queasy awareness of the aging Pickering facility when emergency officials “accidentally” issued a false alarm during testing of the alert system.

A vast complex hunkered down on the shore of Lake Ontario which, we learned just a day later — lousy timing — the Doug Ford government now intends to extend the life of the facility beyond its planned 2024 shuttering. One of the largest nuclear power stations in the world — with six active CANDU reactors — and one of the oldest. Should have been taken offline years ago, as environmentalists urged.

It does not engender much faith in the competence of the nuclear station’s management when they botch a simple communications exercise. Two hours passed before they reversed the erroneous warning. What if it had been a real emergency? Is it seriously possible that Ontario Power Generation is still relying on Amber Alert-type notification for the public’s protection? Continue Reading →

The Sunday alert’s real lesson — Canada’s nuclear reactors are safe – by Jonathan Kay (National Post – January 15, 2020)

A strange, short-lived mini-panic afflicted Ontario on Sunday. And to the extent anyone was genuinely scared, some of the blame likely goes to The Simpsons.

“An incident was reported at the Pickering Nuclear Generating Station,” read an emergency alert broadcast to millions of cellphones at 7:23 a.m. “There has been NO abnormal release of radioactivity … People near the Pickering Nuclear Generating Station DO NOT need to take any protective actions.”

Perhaps it says something about how my mind has been infected by cynical cultural tropes, but by the time I’d gotten to the end of the brief public message, I was channelling the false assurances offered to Simpsons-land TV viewers by Montgomery Burns about an imminent apocalypse at the Springfield Nuclear Power Plant: “Oh, ‘meltdown.’ It’s one of these annoying buzzwords. We prefer to call it an unrequested fission surplus.” Continue Reading →

Australia’s wildfires should get us finally thinking rationally about nuclear power – by Kelly McParland (National Post – January 8, 2020)

One attitude change that might help would be a re-evaluation of nuclear, which is emission-free but hobbled by public fears

I was watching a TV news report on the wildfires in Australia the other day when the announcer suddenly veered off on a tangent.

Until then the report had focused on the astounding images: people huddling on beaches or bobbing offshore on boats, desperately spraying homes with garden hoses against backdrops of burnt-orange skies out of an apocalyptic nightmare.

No doubt there was more to tell, but without warning the host launched into a finger-pointing session on global warming. There was nothing new or different, more a case of claiming victory. Hah, people are suffering! See! We were right! Admit it, this is all your fault! Continue Reading →

Rio Tinto’s plan to clean up Ranger uranium mine in doubt after hedge fund objects – by Ben Butler and Ben Smee (The Guardian – December 17, 2019)

Mining giant Rio Tinto’s plans to clean up the controversial Ranger uranium mine have been thrown into doubt after objections from a Singapore-based hedge fund.

The mine is owned by ASX-listed Energy Resources Australia (ERA), which in turn is 68% owned by Rio Tinto. ERA is required to remediate the mine site and return it to a state fit to be incorporated in the surrounding Kakadu national park, by 2026.

There have been longstanding concerns about the risk of a uranium leak from the Ranger mine, amplified by its location at the eastern end of the remote national park in the Northern Territory. Continue Reading →

A cheer for the Trump uranium plan – by Stephen Moore and Katie Tubb (Washington Times – December 15, 2019)

Our sources are telling us that President Trump is nearing a decision on how to revive the all-but-dormant American uranium industry. This proposed plan would create a reserve of domestically-mined uranium and stored in a “Federal Uranium Security Stockpile.” One option on the table is for the Department of Defense to purchase uranium through the 1950 Defense Production Act.

The president concluded in July that: “The United States requires domestically produced uranium to satisfy DOD requirements for maintaining effective military capabilities,” including the Navy’s nuclear fleet.

Uranium is used for America’s nuclear arsenal as well as domestic nuclear power plants. The U.S. reactor fleet purchased about 40 million pounds of uranium last year. Continue Reading →

OPINION: Small modular reactors help us take a giant leap in the fight against climate change – by John Gorman (Globe and Mail – December 13, 2019)

John Gorman is the president and chief executive officer of the Canadian Nuclear Association.

To many Canadians, it may not seem like a big deal that the three provinces that have nuclear sectors – Ontario, New Brunswick and Saskatchewan – signed an agreement to develop small modular reactors (SMRs). But this milestone represents a giant leap forward for Canadian industry and the fight against climate change.

I’m new to the nuclear industry, but I’ve been working in the energy sector for 20 years. I’ve seen new technologies revolutionize how we produce and manage electricity. The development and deployment of SMRs has the potential to be even more transformative than the introduction of wind and solar power.

Why am I and others in the energy sector so excited about SMRs? The answer is in their name. First, they are small. Large reactors are powerful: They generate clean and inexpensive electricity for decades. But they take years to build, they are suitable only for large demand and they can’t be moved. SMRs, on the other hand, are like solar power in that they can be scaled to suit local needs. Continue Reading →

Mini yet mighty, these nuclear power reactors have 3 Premiers becoming ‘besties’ with the Canadian uranium industry – by Ron Wortel ( – December 10, 2019)

Three Canadian premiers agreed they want more nuclear power in a meeting of like minds prior to the Council of Federation in December. Ontario, Saskatchewan and New Brunswick premiers signed a memorandum of understanding to work together to get small modular reactors (SMRs).

Mini yet mighty, these nuclear power reactors could replace coal and diesel power. In remote locations, they would give Canadians access to clean, green, stable energy and reduce their power pollution footprint.

And note to investors, if the government wants more nuclear power, they will want more uranium. In 2018, more uranium was mined in Canada than any other country – 531,608 tU, about one-fifth of the world total. Continue Reading →

Trump panel urges U.S. to buy more uranium from American miners – by Ari Natter (BNN/Bloomberg News – December 4, 2019)

A White House task force is recommending that President Donald Trump direct the federal government buy more uranium from domestic producers, according to two people familiar with the matter.

The purchase of uranium by the U.S. Defense Department is among the recommendations being made by the U.S. Nuclear Fuel Working Group, comprised of cabinet level and other high-ranking officials, according to the people, who requested anonymity to discuss non-public deliberations.

The task force was established to study ways to revive the U.S. uranium mining industry. Continue Reading →

OPINION: Requiem for a Climate Dream – by Holman W. Jenkins, Jr. (Wall Street Journal – December 3, 2019)

If the world isn’t slashing CO2, blame overreaction to the Fukushima disaster.

Rigor could be restored to mainstream climate journalism with a single clause. That clause consists of the words “if climate models are accurate.” A United Nations study issued in advance of this week’s climate summit in Madrid would appear in a different light, though still worrisome, and still a challenge to policy makers, if it were reported as saying:

To avoid any chance of a temperature increase of 1.5 degrees Celsius, annual emissions cuts of 7.6% must begin next year if computerized climate simulations are correct.

Such simulations, we should admit, are science. Their findings represent a legitimate pursuit of knowledge. The common failing in the media involves leaving out the necessary caveats. Such carelessness has ultimately enabled a new kind of science denial on the left, where advocates like Greta Thunberg and the U.K. group Extinction Rebellion increasingly talk about climate change leading to a human demise that is nowhere supported in the work of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change or other scientific bodies. Continue Reading →

Three premiers plan to fight climate change by investing in small nuclear reactors (Canadian Press – November 30, 2019)

TORONTO — TORONTO – Three of Canada’s premiers will announce Sunday a plan to fight climate change by working together on small nuclear reactors, a company that’s developing the technology said Saturday.

New Brunswick-based ARC Nuclear Canada said in a news release that its president will attend a signing ceremony Sunday between the provinces of New Brunswick, Ontario and Saskatchewan to work in collaboration on the modular reactors “in an effort to mitigate the effects of climate change.”

The Ontario government said Premier Doug Ford will meet with Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe and New Brunswick Premier Blaine Higgs for an announcement at a hotel near Pearson International Airport on Sunday afternoon. Continue Reading →

Opinion: Small modular reactors would be a worthy investment for Sask. – by Sarath Peiris (Saskatoon StarPhoenix – November 27, 2019)

Premier Scott Moe is taking a page from his predecessor Brad Wall’s book and proposing nuclear power as part of Saskatchewan’s base load energy mix — a welcome departure from his ranting against the federal carbon tax even as his government delays action to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions.

Moe is pondering the adoption of Small Modular Reactors (SMRs), which can be designed to generate as little as three megawatts of electricity or as much as 300 MW — approximately the capacity of the Shand coal-fired power station — whereas a conventional reactor produces 1,000 MW to 1,600 MW.

With one-third of SaskPower’s electricity generated via three coal-fired plants that burn low-heat lignite coal — an engineer at the utility once described the fuel as “only a little better than burning dirt” — and another 40 per cent produced from burning natural gas, Saskatchewan certainly can benefit from an alternative power source that is GHG-free. Continue Reading →

Mining for the future: Saskatchewan Research Council R&D fosters innovation and sustainability – by Greg Klein (Resource Clips – November 21, 2019)

Predictably for a jurisdiction so rich in potash and uranium, mining plays a prominent role in the Saskatchewan Growth Plan, a 10-year economic program announced last week. Skeptics, however, might question the goal to extract lithium and rare earths locally and even set a near-precedent in non-Chinese commercial REE separation.

But it turns out that some of that work has been underway for years, while other targets have already been in the planning stage. That’s just part of a wide range of mining expertise developed and applied by the Saskatchewan Research Council.

SRC figures strongly in the province’s new agenda, whose mining-related initiatives include a continuation of the PST exception on drilling, streamlining permitting, creating a Geoscience Data Management System, boosting annual uranium and potash sales, upgrading and building road, rail, pipeline and power infrastructure, and developing nuclear energy. Continue Reading →

Shutting Down All Of Japan’s Nuclear Plants After Fukushima Was A Bad Idea – by James Conca (Forbes Magazine – October 31, 2019)

By now, more Japanese have died from the closing of Japan’s nuclear power plants following the 2011 Tohoku quake than from the tsunami and the earthquake combined, which was about 20,000 people. Of course, no one has died from any radiation released from the reactor, and no one ever will. There just wasn’t enough dose to anyone.

These conclusions are now echoed across the scientific and medical communities. The latest study, from Matthew Neidell, Shinsuke Uchida and Marcella Veronesi, discusses how after the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident, when all nuclear power stations ceased operation and nuclear power was replaced by fossil fuels, there was a significant increase in electricity prices and in public mortality.

The increase in price led to a reduction in energy consumption, which caused an increase in mortality during very cold temperatures. An increase in mortality also occurred from the burning of fossil fuels, especially coal, which causes upper respiratory effects. Continue Reading →

‘Mailbox 200’: Soviet waste dump a landslide away from poisoning millions – by Mariya Gordeyeva (Reuters U.S. – November 5, 2019)

MAILUU-SUU, Kyrgyzstan (Reuters) – Hidden in a remote Central Asian gorge, thousands of tonnes of radioactive waste are one landslide away from contaminating the water supply for the whole Ferghana valley, home to millions of people, environmentalists say.

Neglected for decades by the Soviet Union and then Kyrgyzstan, uranium ore dumps near the town of Mailuu-Suu must be urgently reinforced to prevent disaster, according to the European Commission and European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) which are raising funds for the project.

“There are 14 million people in the Ferghana valley and in the event of a natural disaster water may wash away the tailings into the Naryn (Syr Darya) river which will be a tragedy for the whole valley,” says Bolotbek Karimov, an environment researcher based in the southern Kyrgyz city of Osh. Continue Reading →