by Patrick Connole
WASHINGTON - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency proposed limits for radiation exposure at a planned nuclear waste repository in Nevada, setting levels lower than nuclear regulators had.
The radiation standards are designed to protect public health and the environment from the highly dangerous wastes that would be stored and disposed of in an underground geologic repository in Yucca Mountain, Nevada, possibly as early as late next decade.
The agency, which noted that the rule-making process was not final pending public comments, set the radiation exposure cap at 15 millirems a year, about the equivalent of two chest X-rays.
This compared with a 25-millirem-per-year limit proposed by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
By law, the nuclear commission is required to amend its own high-level-waste rule to make it conform to the environmental agency's final rule. The nuclear industry and congressional backers want to change the law, however, and allow the commission to set the final limit.
The Clinton administration wants the agency to retain the final say on radiation standards and has made the issue a major obstacle to the passage of legislation mandating construction of a permanent repository at Yucca Mountain.
The environmental agency also proposes a separate ground water standard. The nuclear commission says none is necessary.
The commission said its standard protected public health and followed guidelines from the National Academy of Sciences and other sources.
"The 25-millirem limit proposed by the NRC may be compared to the commission's overall annual public dose limit of 100 millirems," its statement said.
Nearly 38,000 tons of nuclear waste is being stored at commercial nuclear power plants across the country. The amount is to double in coming years.
The Department of Energy is exploring whether to confirm the Yucca Mountain site as the permanent home for the waste and for some radioactive material from defence weapon programmes.
A departmental recommendation is due by 2001 after more reviews.
The environmental agency said the Energy Department was responsible for the construction, management and operation of the potential repository.
"When EPA finalises the standards, the NRC will determine whether Yucca Mountain meets the standards and will be responsible for implementing them," the agency added.
Yucca Mountain is on federally owned land in Nye County, Nevada, around 100 miles northwest of Las Vegas.
BERLIN - German Environment Minister Juergen Trittin wants to shut six nuclear power plants by 2003, the news magazine Spiegel said.
The remaining 13 nuclear reactors would be phased out by 2025, Spiegel said, citing internal documents from the Environment Ministry.
The ministry declined to comment on the report.
German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder's red-green coalition has pledged to phase out nuclear power, but the pace at which the shutdown takes place has driven a wedge between Schroeder's Social Democrats and their ecologist Greens junior coalition partners.
Trittin, one of three Greens in the cabinet, is in charge of the shutdown and he wants a speedy end to nuclear power.
The big utilities, which include RWE-AG, VEBA-AG, Viag-AG and Energie Baden-Wuerttemberg, have threatened to sue for damages if they lose any money because of the shutdown.
Economics Minister Werner Mueller, who was formerly a senior executive in the nuclear industry, has come up with a plan to limit the operating life of nuclear plants to 35 years.
Under the Mueller plan, the first German nuclear plant would go offline in 2003.
Spiegel said the Environment Ministry's calculations showed that nuclear plant operators recouped their investments within 15 to 20 years.
The 25-year timeframe will allow the utilities to cover any losses from shutting down the plants, Spiegel reported.
Nuclear power generates about one third of the country's electricity.
PARIS - The Greens party broke France's summer political lull yesterday with a warning that it would quit the government if the Socialist-led cabinet pushed ahead with plans to replace ageing nuclear plants with new reactors.
"This would mean the end of the plural coalition," the Greens' spokesman Denis Baupin told Reuters.
The threat is not necessarily new, as the French Greens regularly campaign for the elimination of nuclear power that provides 80 percent of the country's power.
But, coming during the August holiday slumber when politicians are traditionally mum, it highlighted the Greens' discontent with their senior Socialist partner in the cabinet of Prime Minister Lionel Jospin.
Frustration was fuelled last month by Jospin's refusal to boost significantly the Greens' role in the cabinet to reflect their strong performance in June European elections.
Environment Minister Dominique Voynet is the only Greens representative in the cabinet. She has turned down Jospin's proposal for an extra junior ministry.
Baupin told Reuters the Greens would launch a series of protests in November against nuclear power -- a campaign mirroring that of Germany's Greens who want Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder to speed up the phasing out of nuclear power.
Plans to gradually replace France's aging nuclear plants with European Pressurised Reactors (EPR) from 2005 are to be discussed by the government in the coming months. Voynet has voiced strong opposition.
Baupin also said that the Greens would challenge plans to build an underground laboratory to study the storage of nuclear waste at Bure in eastern France.
Daniel Cohn-Bendit, the firebrand of Paris May 1968 student riots who headed the Greens' European election slate, said the Greens were also set to launch a campaign to demand that a measure of proportional representation be introduced into the existing first-past-the-post system in parliamentary elections.
The next national parliamentary vote is due in 2002.
In an interview with the weekly Paris Match published on Thursday, Cohn-Bendit accused Jospin of reneging on a promise to carry out the reform - which would boost the number of Greens' seats in parliament and their weight in the ruling coalition.
Backing his demand with a warning, Cohn-Bendit said Jospin would need the Greens' votes in his expected duel with conservative President Jacques Chirac in the 2002 presidential election.
by Christian Huot
The contradiction is enough to make Gordon Edwards go ballistic.
On the one hand, according to the local activist and president of the Canadian Coalition for Nuclear Responsibility, Canada's federal government has committed to reducing the amount of nuclear weapons around the world.
But on the other hand, the continuing controversy over the Nanoose, British Columbia, testing range -- over which a no-nukes BC government is fighting a pro-US federal government -- underlines Canada's questionable commitment to nuclear disarmament.
"We're now at a critical period for nuclear disarmament," said Edwards from his NDG home. "If we don't get some serious commitments in the next few years, proliferation will make things a lot more difficult."
Edwards has just returned from Vancouver Island, where he testified against Ottawa's plans to remove control over the Nanoose Bay testing range from BC hands. The BC government does not want to renew the American military's lease on the marine area, where they test their nuclear-attack submarines. The dispute has triggered a vicious and very public three-way political fight.
"Unfortunately, by taking such extreme measures to ensure the tests keep going on," said Edwards, "our government is basically sending the message that nuclear weapons are fine." Edwards adds that Ottawa's defence of the nuclear-sub playground flies in the face of a number of public declarations against nukes. By signing the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, Canada agreed to work toward the "total elimination" of nuclear weapons; also, in December, the Parliamentary standing committee on foreign affairs urged the federal government to work "consistently to reduce the political legitimacy and value of nuclear weapons [in order to achieve] their progressive reduction and eventual elimination.
"To use our facilities to test warships intimately related to nuclear warfare is deeply immoral and against the spirit, if not the letter, of international law," according to Edwards.
Talks between Ottawa and Victoria over Nanoose broke down in May, after Ottawa refused to guarantee that no nuclear weapons would be present on the American subs. Then the BC NDP government played its trump card by deciding not to renew the American military's lease at Nanoose. This move prompted Ottawa to launch an unprecedented federal expropriation of the provincial territory.
For her part. the federal spokesperson denies vehemently that nuclear weapons are being brought into the country. "[Then US presidentj Bush assured us in 1991 that the US wouldn't bring nuclear weapons intq Canada. There's never been and will be any nuclear weapons in Nanoose. People who say that are irresponsible," said Athena Mentzelopoulos of the Department of Foreign Affairs.
This statement puzzles Mentzelopoulos's counterpart in BC.
"But [the no-nuke promise] was our only requirement," says Mark Collins, communications officer for the BC Intergovernmental Affairs Secretariat. "All the feds had to do was put that in writing and we've got a deal. The BC Legislative Assembly declared our province nuclear-weapons free in 1992. This is our chance to put that declaration into action."
Edwards also questions the accuracy of Mentzelopoulos's no-nukes-never claim.
"She's got it all wrong.... We know for a fact that regular subs carried nuclear-armed Cruise missiles until a few years ago. And all Bush said was that they wouldn't bring nuclear weapons on their attack submarines, but they can still be on the Tridents. Moreover, this statement was never published or even confirmed by the Clinton administration."
Presidential declarations -- whether by Bush or Clinton -- also carry little weight, according to Edwards, as the American adminstration has a strict "no confirm, no deny" rule when it comes to disclosing the [nuclear] weapons payload of their subs. In addition, the subs are off-limits to Canadian authorities.
And though the federal government claims that Trident subs have never been tested in Nanoose, Edwards, quoting BC government sources, says that the machines have been tested in 1991, 1992 and 1995.
Trident submarines -- one third of the American nuclear arsenal, along with silo-based intercontinental missiles and airborne nukes -- are one of the most destructive killing machines ever built. Each sub, two football fields long, can carry and launch enough nuclear missiles to "destroy every capital city in the northern hemisphere," according to Edwards. The US has seven Tridents based on the West Coast, inWashington State, just across the water from the Nanoose range.
Although the BC media have generally focused on the nuclear aspect of the subs -- "floating Chernobyls", some have called them -- Edwards believes the core issue goes far beyond the "not in my backyard" mentality of much of the West Coast rhetoric.
"We just don't want these weapons at all. Not here, not anywhere."
by Dr. Sylvia Keet, M.D., F.R.C.P.
I appreciate this opportunity to address my objection to the intended expropriation by the Federal Government of the seabed at Canadian Forces Maritime Experimental and Test Range in the Nanoose Bay area of British Columbia.
I do so on the grounds that the Government of Canada will not confirm that visits to the licensed area by US Navy submarines and warships carrying nuclear warheads, will be prohibited. In addition, allowing nuclear-powered vessels in our waters carries an unacceptable risk to human health and the environment.
The presence of nuclear weapons in our territory and in Canada is morally indefensible and is rejected by the vast majority of our citizens. An Angus Reid Public Opinion Poll conducted in February 1998 showed 93 percent of Canadians in favor of Abolition of nuclear weapons, and 92 percent in favor of Canada taking a leading role in bringing about such an abolition. In 1992 the citizens of British Columbia voted to become a Nuclear free province.
The Canadian Government's recently released Policy on nuclear weapons commits to "working to devalue the political significance of nuclear weapons" and concludes "that given their catastrophic potential and the frailties of human nature, the only safe and realistic course is to eliminate them".
I have no particular expertise in the legal and constitutional aspects of this issue. Others more qualified have spoken to these. As a physician, my conscience and duty arising out of my medical knowledge and experience demands that I bring the human face of awareness to this hearing, and warn of the dangers that lurk in the presence of nuclear weapons and nuclear power in our waters, threatening our territory and placing at risk the estimated two million people that live in southern BC.
I submit that our knowledge and comprehension of the risks has increased considerably since this agreement with the US military was first made in 1972. Times have changed and we must change too. The renewal of this agreement gives us a 'window of opportunity' to rethink our values.
This is a human health issue. Contrary to the claim that the expropriation would be in the interests of National Security, Canada may be placing herself in a more vulnerable position as a prime target, should East-West relations deteriorate, by allowing the US to continue to bring nuclear weapons into our territory.
I speak as a Pediatrician, who in my early training spent six months on the children's oncology ward at the Princess Margaret Hospital in Toronto. There I saw and took part in the treatment of many children with malignancies and witnessed the effects of the carefully controlled doses of radiation that were given to remediate their cancers. I agonized with the parents and families over their heart-breaking process of gradually coming to terms with the death of their children ... surely the most profound of all human experiences. I also spent a year in Hematology at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto and had similar experiences there.
In more recent years I specialized in treating handicapped children -- the deaf, the blind and developmentally delayed. This gave me a greater understanding of the children who suffered similar problems as a result of radiation received in utero, when I spoke with their parents in Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
I remember vividly August 6th 1945 -- ironically 54 years ago today -- when the world was shocked at the news of the dropping of the first Atomic bomb. I was 15 years old, in an English boarding school, when the news broke.... My parents were P.O.W.'s in a Japanese internment camp in Singapore and it meant a swift end to the War in the Far East. I think it saved the lives of my parents, and the lives of many allied troops poised for the invasion of Japan.
But I have since come to realize there were other ways in which this end could have been achieved without sacrificing the lives of so many innocent people. What was done at the time seemed expedient to the military and political decision makers who would not listen to the scientists' advice: to demonstrate this new weapon of mass destruction to the Japanese Chiefs of Staff, on some remote island.
The US decision makers didn't fully comprehend the effects of radiation on the surviving populations. It became a massive human experiment that is being studied by combined teams of US and Japanese scientists to this day. One US Admiral resigned his commission in moral protest.
It was WRONG in my opinion, and could have been prevented, and Surrender achieved by other means, if the decision had been made based on a wider representation. But it was at the end of a long and grueling War ... and that was then and this is now.
Let us hope our decision makers today can learn from the mistakes of the past, when they make decisions with potential HARM to the lives of innocent people.
In 1989 I visited Hiroshima and Nagasaki for a Congress of the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (I.P.P.N.W.). Doctors from many countries gathered to pursue their goal to find a way to rid the world of nuclear weapons. Since their realization that nuclear weapons are very different from conventional weapons, and there can be no [effective] medical treatment following a nuclear war, doctors formed an International Organization to try and prevent nuclear war. For their work at the height of the Cold War, IPPNW was awarded a Nobel Prize. (1985)
I will never forget the plea of "Never Again" that the Japanese doctors made to the 3000 or so gathered there. The human suffering they described was devastating, and the ongoing results of radiation continue to take their toll on survivors to this very day. We visited the Atom Bomb Hospital and the Museum, and met some of the survivors.
We saw microcephalic adults, 44 years old, suffering from mental handicap as a result of the radiation they received in utero. One mother expressed her extreme anger that she had not been told of the harmful effects of the bomb on her unborn child, and offered termination [of the pregnancy]. The doctors who ministered to the survivors did not know what the people were suffering from for some time, nor the true nature of the devastation around them.
The death rate of children in the early days and years after the bombs dropped was greatest due to their increase susceptibility to radiation.
The effects on human health depend on the dose of radiation received.
We were shown a horrendous list of congenital birth deformities in infants born after the bombs dropped, due to the teratogenic effect of intrauterine irradiation, and inherited genetic defects occurred in later generations due to gene mutations.... The Japanese doctors who ministered to the survivors did not know, to begin with, that the sickness they were treating was due to radiation. We met some of those doctors and heard their testimonies.
Since then, many studies have been done to document the effects of radiation on human health of the survivors of the atomic bombs ... known as the 'Hibakusha'. The human suffering and heartache for all the families of those affected, must have been unbearable, and cannot be measured by statistics. [Of] those far enough away from the Epicenter to survive the BLAST and the Flash Burns of the explosion, [some] were exposed to a lethal dose of radiation and died within 48 hours. Those with lesser dose exposure developed radiation sickness with vomiting and diarrhoea, extreme thirst, and bone marrow suppression causing bleeding into skin, gums and internal organs ... after which 10 percent deaths would occur from infections and hemorrhages, and few os those survived the first year. Lesser exposures produced milder symptoms including loss of hair, and some still survive, but with an increased risk of developing cancers.
Dr. Mary Wynne-Ashford made a presentation on behalf of Physicians for Global Survival (PGS-C) on opening day of the Hearings at Nanaimo. She spoke about the hazards related to nuclear powered ships and submarines [as detailed] in the report by Jackson Davis (1987) on Nuclear Accidents in military vessels in Canadian Ports. I refer you to the risks outlined in your copy of that report.
The risk of a shipboard fire causing incineration of a nuclear warhead would release deadly carcinogenic plutonium with early fatalities in the immediate area from inhalation, and downwind, related cancers over a longer period.
The possible risk of a reactor meltdown and damage to the coolant systems, is theoretically 'tiny' by DND estimates -- less than 1 in 10,000,000, they say. Nevertheless when such an accident does happen, it's 100 percent, and nothing can be done to save lives or contain the escape of radioactive effluent into the surrounding water to be carried by the tides ... or to stop the fallout from the radioactive plume.
In either case the ability to mitigate the situation would be extremely ineffectual. Disaster planning for a radiation accident to contain radioactive contamination and protect human and environmental health would be virtually impossible. Evidence to support this comes from reports following the Chernobyl disaster where they were not able to contain the radioactive contamination. As we know now, 90 percent of the surrounding land is still contaminated 10 years later, and unusable to grow food. The children of Chernobyl visit Canada and other countries each summer to breathe fresh air and rid their bodies of stored radioactivity to reduce their risk of Cancer.
Our own DND admits that although it has a NERT (Nuclear Emergency Response Team) to monitor the safety of nuclear powered ships coming into our harbors, they do not have a disaster plan for civilians should an accident occur.
Such an event would result in a litany of heartache and suffering for all the families touched by those affected, especially those who suffer the death of a child, the most profound human experience.
In the Jackson Davis study the projected effects of a meltdown of a relatively small 80 megawatt naval reactor was estimated to cause a radiation exposure of 600 rems to a population for a distance of one kilometre, and would decrease exponentially further from the reactor. The plutonium on the ground however, would be elevated beyond maximum permissible levels, more than 100 kilometres from the accident scene, and will remain there and leach into the ground by a process called weathering.
One can absorb quite a bit of radiation over a long time, in the hundreds of rads, spread out over months or years, without dying. Gradual exposure is non-lethal. If one absorbs the same dose, say 500 rads in a fairly short time, it could well be lethal.*
The DND Technical Assessment Berthing Re-examination Study in August 1966 concluded that the perimeter around the vessel that would need to be evacuated to mitigate against the effect of direct radiation from an exposed core melt would be limited to 250 metres. This limit bears no relationship to reality. A radioactive cloud would be released in a meltdown, as we have seen from the Chernobyl disaster.
I speak now as a mother and grandmother, who wants to see all children grow up healthy, to enjoy this beautiful province and gorgeous coastline which is theirs to inherit.
I speak in the interests of future generations, the children and grandchildren of British Columbians and those yet unborn, who live in this part of Canada. I speak also for children all over the world whose interests would be served by Canada's example and leadership in saying "No" to this intended expropriation.
It would point the way to other nations by ending our complicity in an agreement which is no longer legal under International Law (in view of the World Court Ruling of July 8th 1996), and it would ensure tomorrow's children their right to a nuclear weapon-free world.
Many people of this province have deep-seated fears that give rise to an instinctive rejection of nuclear weapons, as well as the dangers inherent in nuclear powered ships in our waters. That is why they voted for our province to be a nuclear-free zone in 1992.
You don't need a psychiatrist to tell you that this is not paranoia ... these fears are realistic. They must be heeded and used to guide our course of action.
As former Ambassador for Disarmament, Senator Douglas Roche said "I am a realist, because I have been to Hiroshima" he thought any one charged with such responsibilities should have such an experience in advance.
If we permit nuclear weapons in the Straits of Georgia and Nanoose Bay it would make the area a prime strategic target should East-West relations deteriorate. In addition, there are the risks of nuclear powered reactor accidents.
I CALL for an INDEPENDENT, UNBIASED study to be carried out before Ottawa can, in all conscience, go ahead and expropriate.
Canada and the Nuclear Challenge: Reducing the political value of Nuclear Weapons for the Twenty-First Century. Report of the Standing Committee on Foreign affairs and International Trade (SCFAIT). December 1998. (Also: Government Response, April 1999.) ASHFORD Mary-Wynne. Presentation to Nanoose Bay Hearings for Physicians for Global Survival (PGS). July 19, 1999.
DAVIS, Jackson. Nuclear Accidents on Military Vessels in Canadian Ports: Site Specific Analysis for Esquimault/Victoria. Canadian Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War. (1987)
TURCO, R.P. Nuclear Winter: Global Effects of Nuclear War. Science 1983 Publications of the RADIATION EFFECTS RESEARCH FOUNDATION (RERF) and the ATOMIC BOMB CASUALTY COMMISSION (ABCC), Combined US/Japanese studies.
THE CHILDREN OF THE ATOM BOMB SURVIVORS. Five decades of combined studies from Hiroshima and Nagasaki. John Wily and Sons. N.Y.
CHILDREN OF THE ATOMIC BOMB. An American Physician's memoirs of Nagasaki and Hiroshima and the Marshall Islands. Duke University Press. 1995.
SUFFERING MADE REAL. M. Susan Lindee. University of Pennsylvania.
SONG AMONG THE RUINS. Fifty years of studies of Atom Bomb survivors. Annual Meeting, National Academy of Sciences, April 1999.
PHYSICIAN TO THE GENE POOL. Genetic Lessons and other stories by James Neal.
by Ted Hayes
My name is Ted Hayes and I live in North Saanich. I was born and raised in British Columbia although I have lived and travelled elsewhere. I am a psychiatric nurse and a social scientist. My concern is with the unwarranted intrusion by the federal government into the legitimate affairs of this province. I am here because I cannot let this hearing go by without voicing my objection.
My objections extend to both the purpose and process of the federal government's expropriation. On August 3, 1999, I received by registered mail a Notice to Objectors for this expropriation hearing. By that time, the Nanaimo hearings had already finished and the Vancouver hearings had already begun.
As a Vancouver Islander, I object that I must travel to Vancouver in order to register my opinion. The time required for my travel is considerably longer and more inconvenient than travel to Nanaimo. So, in addition to having no time to prepare, I am now also unnecessarily placed in the position of having to waste much of a day simply travelling back and forth to Vancouver.
And the reason, I am told, is that there was "a processing error" which caused me to be notified of the hearings after they had begun. This requirement for adequate notice has been set out in Section 8 of the Expropriation Act. The failure of the federal government to give adequate notice is not saved by Section 6 of the Act which deals only with errors in the content of the notice.
These grounds, I believe, are sufficient for this hearing to conclude that there has been a miscarriage of justice. I understand that I am not alone in my experience. I believe that at least 500 other persons were similarly deprived of this right to adequate notice.
Because I do not find the British Columbia media a reliable source of information, I rarely buy newspapers or listen to television or radio commentary. I did not receive notice of my right to attend these hearings until I received the Notice to Objectors.
Given that I have another life that is not associated with these hearings and given that, in addition to attending the hearings, I must also do the necessary background research, I believe that the late notice I received has seriously undermined my right to properly represent my opinion. I have done what I could, but there are many areas in which more detailed research would have strengthened my case.
I would like to have done more research on the American connection to Nanoose Bay. There are details of some historical and contemporary incidents with the United States which I would have liked to have researched further. There is an array of constitutional material that I would have liked to have examined. But I could not. I could not because the federal government in its haste failed to give me decent notice of my right to attend these hearings.
In its Notice of Intention to Expropriate, the federal government has indicated its purpose for expropriation as "a purpose related to the safety or security of Canada or a state allied or associated with Canada and it would not be in the public interest further to indicate the purpose". This purpose is specifically defined in Section 5(3) of the Expropriation Act. That Section may be used for only one purpose, that is, to protect our national security. Therefore, the federal government is committing itself to a single justification for expropriation, that is, the purpose of national defence. If it can be shown that the action would not be in the interests of national defence, then the expropriation may not proceed.
Section 91(8) of the Constitution Act 1867 establishes the powers of the federal government. The Act is quite clear that "Militia, Military and Naval Service, and Defence" are the legislative prerogative of the federal government. On the other hand, Section 92 (13) of the Act gives responsibility to the Province for "Property and Civil Rights". Section 92 (5) also gives the Province authority over "the management and sale of public lands belonging to the Province".
The federal government's intention to expropriate the Nanoose site would appear to conflict with Province's authority over property. Now, it might be argued that the greatest national interest is national security since, without national security, the nation and the provinces might cease to exist. For that reason, the federal government might be justified in claiming that its right to legislate national security is greater than the Province's right to legislate property rights. I would like to address that issue.
W.P.M. Kennedy in his book, Constitution of Canada 1534-1937  states that
"It does not invalidate a federal Act if it interferes with the operation of a provincial Act, provided that it is not substantial legislation on a matter belonging to the exclusive jurisdiction of the province."However, the federal Expropriation Act does enter into an area of provincial jurisdiction. Indeed, the Province has its own Expropriation Act.
And, while Kennedy also refers to the preference of the courts to limit the generality of Section 92 (13) of the Constitution Act 1867 , he does so only insofar as it relates to "civil rights". Property rights would appear to remain the exclusive preserve of the Province as does the management and sale of crown lands. In other words, while the federal government might have the right to legislate on matters of national defence, that right would most certainly conflict with the provincial right to legislate on property.
Now, if the federal government were expropriating the Nanoose site exclusively for its own military purposes, then the constitutional conflict might be justified under Section 91 (8) of the Constitution Act 1867. The Government of Canada contends that "The seabed is being expropriated for the purposes of national defence" . But that does not appear to be the real reason. Of the six documents that the federal government has reproduced on its Nanoose Bay web site (see Appendix I), one, entitled Fact Sheet (see Appendix II), is devoted entirely to the defence relations with the United States. Another document, entitled Chronology of Events (see Appendix III) shows that the Nanoose Bay site was established for use by the Americans.
Indeed, we know that, during the Salmon Treaty dispute, the British Columbia Government targeted Nanoose Bay specifically because it was a uniquely American installation over which the Province had some authority. The Government of Canada appears never to have challenged that assumption and all the evidence available to us would indicate that the site is operated for the benefit of the Americans; there being no satisfactory alternatives in Hawaii or California.
If we are to assume that Section 91 (8) of the Constitution Act 1867 applies to Canadian defence, then the question of the federal right to expropriate on the grounds of national defence becomes less compelling. In fact, since colonization by the British and French, Canadian borders have only ever been attacked or seriously threatened by one country, to wit, the United States of America.
An historical examination of the American military threats on this country produces a remarkably consistent picture of actual and threatened invasion or annexation. (For historical references see Appendix IV.)
Although all these incidents took place a century or more ago, there is no shortage of such examples right up into modern times. Only a few years ago, the Americans sent an American warship through the Northwest Passage. They did so publicly and deliberately without requesting Canadian permission. The purpose of the trip was to establish American sovereignty in an area long recognized and claimed by Canada.
Closer to home, there remains the outstanding dispute over the Dixon Entrance. The internationally-recognized border at the Dixon Entrance was established as 54º 40' in an 1825 treaty with the Russians, yet American oil interests have recently decided otherwise. Over the last few years, the Americans have used threats and force to stake their claim on this new territory.
The Pacific salmon dispute -- which gave rise to the present federal-provincial dispute -- is another such case. The federal government, by its own admission, conceded British Columbia fish to American interests in order to buy security for its remaining stocks -- stocks that were being threatened by the Americans. In other words, they yielded to American threats.
If there is a defence threat to Canada, then all the evidence suggests that the threat comes exclusively from the Americans. The Russians have never attempted or threatened to invade Canada. Indeed, despite the Cold War, the only hostilities ever between Russia and Canada was an abortive invasion of Russia by Canada and her allies shortly after the Russian Revolution.
The Government of Canada will not require the Americans to forego importation of nuclear weapons and [nuclear] fuels as a condition of use for the Nanoose Bay site. Such weapons and fuels are the most dangerous arms and propellants known to humanity. Yet, the Government of Canada appears willing to countenance their importation by a country which has a long history of hostility to our own.
The Government of Canada has justified its haste in bringing this expropriation by its desire to placate American military interests in the area. In a press release, the Honourable Art Eggleton stated that
"The Government of Canada cannot permit itself to be put in breach of its international obligations. As such, I have reluctantly asked the Minister of Public Works and Government Services to initiate the process of expropriation." In so saying, he has admitted that the issue is not an internal defence matter, but a foreign military one.
An interest by a foreign military power is not a Canadian defence interest as defined in the Constitution Act 1876. (In invoking Section 5 (3) of the Expropriation Act, the federal government has foregone any constitutional authority it might be afforded by Section 132 of the Constitution Act 1867 which gives the federal government responsibility for foreign treaties.) A military interest by a foreign power is even less a Canadian defence interest when it is considered that the foreign power in question is one that with a long and recent history of assaults on Canadian sovereignty. In refusing to place any constraints on the fuels or armaments which that foreign power brings into Canada, the Government of Canada may actually be abrogating its constitutional responsibilities.
The federal government has stated its intention to expropriate land which falls under the constitutional responsibility of the Government of British Columbia. It has claimed its right to do so under its own constitutional responsibility for defence. However, the federal government has made evident its view that the Nanoose test site is run primarily or completely for the benefit of a foreign power. As such, it loses any authority it might otherwise have for military expropriation. Until and unless this constitutional problem is decided, this expropriation must not proceed.
Obviously, any power the federal government might have to expropriate seabed that is the property and constitutional responsibility of the Government of British Columbia is limited. It is unlikely, for example, that the federal government would have the authority to expropriate all the seabed in British Columbia. The power to expropriate provincial crown land, if there is such a power, is not unrestricted. The Province may well be correct, then, in arguing that the federal government is asking for more land than is necessary for its purposes or, more correctly, the purposes of a foreign power. That limitation must also exist in the purpose or cause for federal expropriation as well as the extent of the expropriation.
In making its judgments, the courts have been guided by public opinion as much as by legal doctrine. More than 2,000 objections were filed against the Nanoose Bay expropriation.  Two thirds of British Columbians are opposed to the Nanoose Bay expropriations, most of them are strongly opposed. Two thirds of British Columbians also wish the federal government to prohibit nuclear weapons in the area.  The decision by British Columbia to cancel the Nanoose lease in response to American intransigence on the Salmon Treaty was endorsed by all parties in the British Columbia legislature. On April 23, 1992, the British Columbia legislature overwhelmingly endorsed an all-party resolution that declared the province "a nuclear weapons free zone".
It would certainly appear that both the provincial legislature and the general public strongly hold the opinion that the federal government has no business expropriating British Columbia land for a purpose that will not preclude a foreign power from bringing nuclear arms onto the site. Both provincial and federal governments have acknowledged the expropriation decision was a political decision. Therefore, any recommendations that come from this hearing must take into consideration the political climate in which they are occurring.
It is evident that the public and the Opposition stand overwhelmingly with the Province. That is the political answer to the political question. Unless there is a strong and unified demand from elsewhere in Canada to outweigh the will of the people of this province, then there is no other possible political answer to this political question. I have been able to discern no such outcry from the [part of] Canada outside British Columbia and I must conclude that the federal government must drop its plans for expropriation.
I have presented three separate arguments in objection to the federal government's expropriation intentions.
Because the foreign power [in question] is the only foreign country to assault the sovereignty of this country and because these assaults have continued to occur over a period of more than two hundred years right up to the present time, the government is failing to live up to its constitutional obligations for the defence of Canada. By failing to limit the weapons and fuel used on Canadian soil by this foreign power, the Government of Canada has further failed to live up to its constitutional obligations. Far from providing grounds for overriding the Province's constitutional responsibility for property, the federal government has manifestly shown that it is not living up to its own constitutional responsibilities for defence of the country.
However, the people and the entire legislature of British Columbia support the position of the Province. Other than in the rarefied air of Ottawa, there appears to be no strong feeling to the contrary from outside the province. The political solution is obvious. The federal government's decision is neither welcome nor acceptable in this province nor, it would appear, in any other.
- Ontario Emergency Plan Required for a Chornobyl-style disaster.
by Rachel Furey
TORONTO (CP) - Ontario is calling on communities with nuclear power plants to prepare for a Chornobyl-style disaster. But if the province doesn't cough up the cash to pay for its new emergency plan, some municipalities warn they'll be left unprepared.
The potential risk to Ontario citizens living near five nuclear power plants has been called catastrophic, and has at last one health official putting in sleepless nights.
"There's a moral responsibility to do this," said Dr. Murray McQuigge, medical officer of health for the Bruce-Grey Owen Sound public heath unit, which is responsible for implementing the emergency response plan.
"I certainly am not going to sleep well at night unless this kind of capability is in place."
The most recent draft of the 1999 Nuclear Emergency Plan is a strategy that includes immediate evacuation, medical treatment and counselling for victims of any disasters in communities near Chalk River laboratories and nuclear generating plants in Pickering, Darlington, Bruce County and Monroe, Mich., near the Canadian boarder.
Ontario already has a plan to deal with nuclear emergencies. But the province wants a more rigorous approach to potential crisis because the old plan didn't account for an immediate, uncontainable [radioactive] leak.
"It's long overdue," said Kristen Ostling, the coordinator of Campaign for Nuclear Phaseout, a national lobby group.
She said the chance of a nuclear disaster like the one in Chornobyl is slim but real. People are still feeling the devastating health effects of that 1986 nuclear reactor explosion, which occurred when the Ukraine was still a Soviet republic.
"It would be very serious if there was an accident. The government knows that, they've known for years."
A provincial report on the safety of Ontario's nuclear reactors released several years ago warned that a catastrophic nuclear accident in the province isn't out of the question. It said that thousands of people could be killed instantly, with many more susceptible to cancer and genetic defects affecting future generations.
Yet while the Ontario government wants municipalities to be ready for anything, officials said Friday it is not prepared to foot the bill.
"We don't think it will cost anything extra," said Elaine Simpson, a spokeswoman for the Ministry of the Solicitor General.
That angers McQuigge, who estimates the cost of the project will be at least $15,000 for his area alone. "It'll take 10 public health nurses to do this," he said. "How they think I'm going to take 10 people out for a week to train them without additional costs is beyond me."
While the province used to fund 75 per cent of the health unit's cost, it now pays only half, with the rest downloaded to municipalities.
Irene Kock, of the Nuclear Awareness Project, says the most obvious solution is to bill Ontario Power Generation, the company responsible for nuclear power. "It should simply be one of the costs of nuclear generated energy," she said.
A spokesman for Ontario Power Generation, formerly Ontario Hydro, says the company already gives municipalities money to pay for disaster plans. John Earl says it's up to the communities to decide how to spend it.
Meanwhile, Ostling vowed to continue her group's campaign, saying the Ontario situation underscored the need to eliminate nuclear power in the country.
"Canada's experiment with nuclear power has been a costly mistake both for the economy and for the environment," she said. "The buck is constantly being passed about who's going to pay for it -- and it should just be eliminated."
- Greenpeace vessel, Rainbow Warrior, still sailing and campaigning.
by David Luhnow
ABOARD THE RAINBOW WARRIOR, Edinburgh - It has been rammed, shot at, harpooned, and raided, and its predecessor was bombed and sunk.
For some, it is an enduring symbol, an environmental David taking on the Goliath of global industry, for others it is a vehicle for militant environmentalism.
Greenpeace's Rainbow Warrior II flagship arrived in London on Tuesday for the first time since it was publicly launched there a decade ago to replace the original - sunk by French commandos in a New Zealand harbour in 1985 during a campaign to stop nuclear testing in the South Pacific.
In the time since it left the Thames, the converted trawler has circled the globe countless times trying to right perceived environmental wrongs, from stopping oil drilling off Alaska's pristine coast to protecting sea turtles near Cyprus.
The 55-metre (180-foot) boat finally returned to Britain's shores last week and visited Scotland - where it was first built in 1957 - to undertake an unusually low-risk venture: promoting wave power as an alternative source of energy.
"There is a common misperception that Greenpeace is always running around getting in front of oil ships or nuclear cargo. But physically trying to stop something is really a last resort thing," Kim Borgstrom, the ship's first mate, told Reuters during the Rainbow Warrior's stop in Edinburgh.
But it is those "last resort" actions of the world's most famous private navy - there are five ships in total - that have given it fame and allowed it to fund the less sexy work of scientific research, education campaigns and political lobbying.
And Greenpeace knows this. Tourists who clambered aboard in Edinburgh were treated to a fast-paced video with rock music of activists locked in the heat of battle to save the planet: dodging charging Norwegian whaling ships, getting giant oil drums dropped on them, and being sprayed by water cannons from naval ships.
SCRUB THE DECK, THEN CHASE THE FRENCH WARSHIP
Life on board the Rainbow Warrior, painted green with a giant rainbow emblazoned on its hull, is a mixture of the mundane and the extraordinary.
"We spend most of our time working as deck hands, maintaining the ship. The only real difference between this and a merchant cargo ship is that the crew come from all walks of life," said the New Zealand-born Borgstrom, who worked as a sailor before joining Greenpeace.
The crew of 13 represent no less than eight nationalities: the cook is Swedish, the chief engineer from Ghana, the second engineer is Dutch and the doctor English.
As is the case with merchant fleets, the crew and other Greenpeace activists usually sign on for four months at a time - meaning long stretches away from loved ones and home.
And riding the waves to save the planet can be anything but glamorous.
"A lot of people think we're laid back hippies. But this is hard work," said Doctor Janine Bonnet, who adds that she gives out a lot of sea-sickness pills to activists whose stomachs are often protesting even if they are not.
Not that the hippie stereotype is absent on the ship. Strains of 1970s folk singer James Taylor's music waft through the air and the walls are covered with eco-phrases ranging from "No Nukes" to "Save the Whales."
There is also a white guy with long dreadlocks on board, and several crew members with pierced body parts or tattoos.
But these are some tough hippies. Several afternoons a week bring training sessions on inflatable boats - repeatedly lowering dinghies into the water, zooming off into the swell and back to ship again.
The ritual is designed to ensure activists can outrun or outfox other boats if they are being chased.
And it doesn't take too long before any boredom is shattered by hair-raising events.
In June, British activist Mark Hardingham was seriously injured when a Norwegian coast guard boat crashed into one of the group's rafts. One of the whalers fired a shotgun at the dinghy when it got between the harpoon and its prey.
"It can be very intense, and we train hard to avoid accidents. Every time I start an operation, I always make sure I have an escape route," said Alfonso Grande, a 44-year-old former merchant marine captain from Spain.
Grande himself was once nearly caught between two ships when he tried to stop a barge from dumping dredge into the sea.
The only Greenpeace activist to die in the line of duty was during the 1995 Rainbow Warrior sinking. The two French navy commandos who placed a mine on its hull were later caught by New Zealand, convicted of manslaughter and jailed for 10 years.
Ironically, the French government paid for the new ship as compensation for blowing up the original. And the boat it helped buy has often been a thorn in its side.
The ship has been raided by French commandos firing tear gas and smashing in windows several times, and was once seized and held by France for six months during its South Pacific nuclear testing in late 1995.
The Rainbow Warriors' actions often accomplish little - when its inflatables blocked a huge floating oil rig from drilling off the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in 1997 they delayed the project by just one day.
And they are sometimes accused of eco-terrorism, undertaking actions such as tying environmentally-unfriendly driftnets together to render them ineffective or buzzing the waters over school of bluefin tuna to drive them away from fishermen near Australia.
But Greenpeace knows that its symbols are an important weapon in the television age. And Rainbow Warrior is its most potent symbol.
- European Union urged to do more for cogeneration power plants.
BRUSSELS - European legislators must do more to promote cogeneration plants, which collect and use heat generated during power production, if the European Union is to cut greenhouse gas emissions, an industry group said yesterday.
Cogeneration now accounts for around 10 percent of national power production in the 15 EU states, but this could easily rise to 30 percent with the right legal framework, said a new report from Cogen Europe, which represents the industry across the bloc.
"Cogeneration is a key technology for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and is thus targeted to double its usage in the next decade," the report said.
"To achieve this, coordinated promotion policies will be needed at the member state level. In many countries, these policies are currently inadequate to reach the EU growth targets."
Cogeneration plants are designed to tap the massive quantities of heat produced during power generation and put it to use rather than simply releasing it into the atmosphere.
Cogen estimated that while cogeneration currently accounts for ten percent of EU power production, this varies from around 45 percent in Denmark to less than two percent in Ireland.
It said cogeneration's share of total electricity production could rise to 30 percent by 2010 given the right encouragement, thus reducing overall generation requirements.
This in turn could reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 221 million tonnes a year by 2010, or 46 percent of the EU's original negotiating target agreed in 1997 to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 15 percent from 1990 levels, Cogen estimated.
But Cogen warned that regulations in most countries still discriminate against the technology. It called for EU legislation to guarantee cogeneration "fair access to the electricity system".
The EU agreed at the 1997 Kyoto climate change conference to reduce its emissions of six greenhouse gases by eight percent from 1990 levels between 2008 and 2012.
- Ford opens hydrogen fueling station to service fuel cell vehicles.
by Michael Ellis
DEARBORN, Mich. - Ford Motor Co. opened a hydrogen fuelling station as part of an effort to launch a vehicle powered by a fuel cell by 2004.
The $1.5 million station, only the second of its kind in the world, is able to refuel Ford's P2000 prototype car with either liquid or gaseous hydrogen, which is then combined with oxygen in a fuel cell to create electricity. The only emission from a hydrogen fuel cell, which also powers NASA's space shuttle, is water.
Spurred by competitive and regulatory pressures, General Motors Corp. and Daimler Chrysler AG have also pledged to launch a fuel cell vehicle by 2004.
Ford vice president of research Bill Powers said the station will help the automaker analyse the benefits of liquid versus gaseous hydrogen, different types of nozzles for refueling and different pressures for optimal use.
A solid form of hydrogen for fuel cells is also being explored, said John Wallace, Ford director of environmental vehicles. Ford also has to explore whether pure hydrogen would be used, or more readily available gasoline or methanol would be converted to hydrogen using a "reformer" for the fuel cells and whether the reformer should be located in the vehicle or at the filling station.
Ford officials admit they do not have the answers yet.
"That ought to be our motto, 'we don't know'," Wallace said only half-jokingly.
A Ford official told dealers at a conference in Philadelphia on Monday that the No. 2 automaker will spend $1 billion on alternative fuel research over the next five years, including $400 million on hydrogen alone.
Other fuels being researched include clean diesel, electricity, propane, natural gas and ethanol, Kelly Kohlhepp, dealer operations manager, said at the conference.
She said all of Ford's model year 2000 F-Series pickup trucks will have a bi-fuel option - meaning they can run on more than one fuel.
Ford and Mobil Corp. also announced on Monday they have made progress in developing an on-board gasoline fuel processor that would create hydrogen and convert it to electricity to power a fuel cell. The reformer could boost fuel efficiency by 50 percent over the current internal combustion engine.
- Turkey and U.S. to talk about nuclear power and Caspian oil/gas.
by Ercan Ersoy
ANKARA - U.S. Energy Secretary Bill Richardson arrived in Turkey yesterday to discuss carrying Caspian hydrocarbon reserves to Western markets through Turkey, and Turkish plans to build a nuclear power plant.
Turkey's Energy Minister Cumhur Ersumer said he would meet Richardson in Istanbul today for talks on proposed pipelines to carry Azeri oil and Turkmen gas to Turkey.
"We will talk about the Caspian oil and gas projects involving Turkey, for which the United States has already expressed open support," Ersumer told reporters in Ankara.
Richardson is also scheduled to visit Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan later in the week.
Turkey has proposed building a 1,730-km (1,081-km) pipeline from the Azeri capital Baku to its Ceyhan oil terminal on the Mediterranean to bypass its narrow straits because of already heavy traffic there.
Ersumer said the fighting in Dagestan in the North Caucasus region showed how relatively secure the Baku-Ceyhan pipeline would be.
Turkish energy officials said the timing of Richardson's visit and a decision by the government to promote the Baku-Ceyhan project among U.S. finance circles later this month were not a coincidence.
"Two week before Richardson's visit, the (U.S.) Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) suggested in a meeting that (Turkish state pipeline company) Botas will promote the project to U.S. financiers," said one senior oil official.
"So the visit will raise Baku-Ceyhan's profile in the U.S. finance market," he said.
The Baku-Ceyhan proposal is being taken up by the Azeri International Operating Consortium (AIOC), which began producing oil in the Caspian region in November, 1997, under an $8 billion project.
AIOC, led by BP Amoco and Norway's Statoil, is expected to propose its recommendation to the Azeri government on the main export route from among three options, one of them being the Baku-Ceyhan pipeline.
The other options are pipelines from Baku to Russia's Novorossiisk and Georgia's Supsa, which is the only outlet presently used by the AIOC.
Under several draft agreements between Turkey, Azerbaijan and the AIOC, Botas is proposed as the contractor of the pipeline, which will carry up to an annual 60 million tonnes.
Turkey has raised the cost of the pipeline to $2.7 billion from $2.4 billion after reviews on the capacity and equipment to be used on the pipeline.
The figure compares to $3.7 billion put by the AIOC, which has opposed the project, saying even its peak output of 800,000 barrels per day (bpd) expected after 2007 could not fill the one-million bpd pipeline.
Despite AIOC concerns, the United States and Azerbaijan back the Baku-Ceyhan and other non-Russian pipeline projects to lessen Russian and Iranian energy influence in the region.
Turkey says oil to be produced in other Caspian development projects including that from vast Kazakh reserves would be sufficient to justify the Baku-Ceyhan pipeline's cost.
Also on the agenda is a project to carry up to 30 billion cubic metres of Turkmen gas a year across the Caspian sea to Turkey through a pipeline. A U.S. consortium has undertaken the construction of the 2,000 km (1,250-mile) pipeline.
Ersumer said Turkey would also discuss with Richardson "energy projects involving American companies." Included in such projects is Turkey's first nuclear power plant, in which a U.S. Westinghouse-led consortium was among the three bidders with two options worth $2.4 and $2.96 billion respectively for the tender which closed in late 1997.
"We will have to make a decision and award the tender by October 15, otherwise Turkey's credibility in nuclear power plants will be harmed," Ersumer said.
- Bulgaria shuts down nuclear reactor after non-radioactive leak.
SOFIA - A reactor at Bulgaria's nuclear power plant in Kozloduy was shut down early yesterday following a non-radioactive water leak, a plant official said.
"The leak has no implications on the radioactive safety of the plant," a spokeswoman for the plant told Reuters by telephone from Kozloduy.
The 440-megawatt reactor number two was shut down at 4:00 (1:00 GMT) on Monday after a leak in the system that supplies fresh water to a non-radioactive circuit in the unit, she added.
The unit will be shut down until August 27 for repairs.
Preparations to shut down reactor number one, another of the four Soviet-made 440-megawatt units at Kozloduy, for routine annual repairs will begin at 21:00 GMT tonight, the plant said in a statement.
The repairs which were expected to last about three months would be part of a wider programme to boost operational safety at the plant.
Apart from its four oldest 440-megawatt reactors Kozloduy plant has two more modern 1,000-megawatt units.
The Soviet-made plant is located on the banks of the Danube some 200 km (108 miles) north of Sofia and meets nearly half of Bulgaria's electricity demand.
- Innu demands delay Quebec-Newfoundland power project in Labrador.
by Patrick White
QUEBEC CITY - Quebec and Newfoundland said that plans for a huge hydro-electric project in the Churchill Falls region of Labrador would be delayed to meet Canadian Native demands for participation in an environmental impact study.
"With a project of this magnitude, we will take the time necessary to get it right," Newfoundland Premier Brian Tobin said after an annual conference of provincial premiers.
Negotiations on the project have been stalled since March 1998 by aboriginal groups demanding to be involved in the decision-making process.
Natives in Quebec and the Newfoundland region of Labrador have vowed to launch an international lobbying campaign and to take their fight to the courts to stop the project from going ahead without their approval.
The C$6.5-billion plan, an expansion of the existing Churchill Falls project built 25 years ago, would partly divert one river to a reservoir and allow new turbines to be added. It would also involve construction of a new dam 200 kilometres (125 miles) downstream. Some 45,000 jobs would be created by the project.
Tobin said he and Quebec Premier Lucien Bouchard were now willing to hold "meaningful consultations" with the Innu people of Labrador and Quebec.
"This project will have potential impacts on aboriginal communities in both our provinces," Tobin said.
The Innu are native Indians made up of four groups - the Montagnais, Naskapi and Atikamekw of northeastern Quebec and a group in Labrador that calls itself Innu.
The environmental impact on Native lands, specifically the flooding of large areas, has enraged the Innu, who say they were never compensated for the flooding of their ancestral lands by the original project in the early 1970s.
Project officials say much of the estimated 2,200 megawatts generated could be sold in the northeastern U.S. power market by Hydro-Quebec, the province's publicly owned utility.
The rest, some 1,000 megawatts, would be sold in Newfoundland and Labrador, possibly in part to power a proposed smelter for Inco Ltd's nickel project at Voisey's Bay in Labrador.
Bouchard said he was confident of successful negotiations with the Natives.
"I am very satisfied with the development of the Churchill Falls project because we have to work with the Innu," he told reporters.
"We shall ensure that they are given an appropriate amount of time to develop a full appreciation of this project and the benefits and opportunities that come with it," he said.
Construction could start about nine to 12 months after a settlement between the provinces and the natives. And electricity production could begin between 2006 and 2008.
Bouchard reaffirmed the province's commitment to a single environmental assessment for the project, and to the involvement of the Natives in the process.
The project is seen as key to resolving a long, bitter dispute between Quebec and Newfoundland over the existing Churchill Falls power station. Newfoundland has long accused Quebec of making a deal to buy the power cheaply and selling it at a significant profit, much of it in the United States.
- British plutonium stockpile set to double - Government report.
by Matthew Jones
LONDON - Britain's stockpile of weapons-grade plutonium [correction: should read "weapons-usable" (GE)] could almost double to 150 tonnes because the country has no means of dealing with high-level radioactive waste, a government-commissioned report said late last week.
The report by consultants Quantisci, which was leaked to the media, said no technology exists to deal with plutonium which is created during the course of reprocessing spent nuclear fuel.
Britain already has a stockpile of 92 tonnes of plutonium.
Reprocessing - turning spent nuclear fuel from power stations into either vitrified waste or new nuclear fuel - generates billions of pounds for British Nuclear Fuels, a state-run concern set for partial privatisation within the next few years.
Anti-nuclear campaigners welcomed the report because it views plutonium as a waste.
"Plutonium has in past studies being classed as a fuel, but this report classes plutonium as a waste and calls for urgent plans for its treatment to reduce the risk of nuclear weapons proliferation," Rachel Western, nuclear campaigner at Friends of the Earth, told Reuters.
Environmentalists have long argued that nuclear reprocessing is a sham.
The drive behind reprocessing was to produce plutonium for use in weapons and also to produce enough plutonium so it could be used as a fuel in so-called fast-breeder reactors.
Uranium, which powers most nuclear power stations, was thought to be scarce and there were worries that stocks would run out. In the 1950s and 1960s designers started looking at fast-breeder reactors which could use and generate plutonium.
But environmentalists say these arguments are no longer valid.
Nuclear weapons proliferation is no longer a goal for Britain and uranium is not rare. Japan is the only nuclear country with a fast-breeder programme.
Friends of the Earth's Western said reprocessing at Sellafield in northeast England should now cease at once to stop adding to the plutonium stockpile.
A British Nuclear Fuels spokesman said the company does not regard plutonium as waste.
"We regard plutonium as energy in the bank. Future generations would question us if we were to dispose of an asset like this," he said.
- South Africa's Western Cape province says no to plutonium shipments.
by Jeremy Lovell
CAPE TOWN - South Africa's Western Cape province, facing the prospect of ships carrying the [plutonium] equivalent of 300 nuclear warheads a year rounding its shores, said it wanted the shipments to end.
"Because the shipments are expected to continue for the foreseeable future, the risk incurred at no benefit to us will be a recurring risk. This is a risk that our province does not want to carry," said regional environment minister Glen Adams.
Two armed nuclear transport ships, the Pacific Teal and the Pacific Pintail, are somewhere off the Cape of Good Hope on their way from France to Japan carrying highly toxic MOX nuclear fuel pellets.
Environmental group Greenpeace, noting the rising tension in the Asian region with China and Taiwan at loggerheads, Pakistan and India in conflict and North and South Korea on edge, said each ship is carrying the [plutonium] equivalent of 30 nuclear warheads.
Adams' spokeswoman Michelle Alexander told Reuters a representative of British Nuclear Fuels who met the minister on Wednesday told him the company and its French counterpart Cogema expected to make five such twin voyages a year.
South Africa has asked that the two ships keep outside the country's 200 mile (321.9 km) exclusive economic zone (EEZ), but only has the right to force them to keep out of its 12 mile territorial waters.
British Nuclear Fuels, which says the shipments are perfectly safe, has declined to say if the ships will stay more than 200 miles off the South African coast or to reveal their precise location.
However, Greenpeace spokesman Mike Townsey told Reuters on Friday the Teal and the Pintail had rounded the Cape and were on their way towards Australia and New Zealand.
"This time they kept outside the 200 mile EEZ, but that was due to the weather rather than consideration for South Africa's wishes," he said.
Adams said in a statement the shippers had failed to obtain the prior consent necessary for the shipment of hazardous cargoes and had not carried out a detailed assessment of the environmental consequences of one of the ships sinking.
"The concern of this ministry arises out of the fact that the Western Cape Province is placed at risk, and in particular that in the event of a disaster, our marine resources and tourist industries would be most adversely affected whether or not there is nuclear contamination of the environment," he said.
"Cape Town and the province are dependent on these industries to provide employment and earn foreign exchange," he added.
- Clinton orders step-up in crop-energy development (renewable fuels).
by Randall Mikkelsen
WASHINGTON - President Bill Clinton yesterday stepped up a federal push to develop ways of turning crops and trees into energy sources, aiming to triple the amount of fuels and other products derived from such sources by 2010.
"Bioenergy and bioproducts have enormous potential to create new economic opportunities for rural America, enhance U.S. energy security, and help meet environmental challenges like global warming," the White House said in a statement.
"By creating high-tech jobs and new economic opportunities, meeting the president's goal of tripling U.S. use of bioenergy and bioproducts could add $15 billion to $20 billion in new income for farmers and many rural communities," it said.
Clinton was to highlight his new efforts with a speech at the U.S Agriculture Department on Thursday.
An executive order issued by Clinton on Thursday established a research council consisting of the heads of the Agriculture and Energy departments, the Environmental Protection Agency, the National Science Foundation and other agencies.
The council will annually propose a detailed research programme for biomass projects, which aim to produce fuels such as ethanol or other products from crops, trees and agricultural and forestry wastes.
The council also will work to ensure relevant federal regulations promote products and energy derived from biomass.
"For rural America a fast-growing bioenergy market will greatly increase the demand for energy crops and for agricultural and forest residues, or wastes, of all types," the White House statement said.
It said increased use of crops and other plant sources for energy would also cut emissions of greenhouse gases, which are emitted through the consumption of fossil fuels and which are thought by some scientists to contribute to a global warming trend.
Thursday's initiative was in addition to an earlier proposal by Clinton, as part of a proposed electricity industry restructuring bill, that would require all U.S. electricity to come from renewable energy sources by 2010.
Clinton in 1998 ordered federal agencies to use products derived from plant sources when possible, and proposed tax credits for biomass-based electricity production.
- Nanoose Expropriation Hearings -- Update and Summary.
Nanoose Conversion Campaign
by Norman Abbey
("one man's perspective")
As the Nanoose Hearings wind down in Vancouver, we're gearing up for the next steps in resisting what Senator Pat Carney has described as Ottawa's "jackboot" attempt to expropriate Nanoose for U.S. nuclear warheads.
The federal Liberal government of Canada would like to simply "take possesion of the proprerty" after Hearings Officer Mr. D. M. M. Goldie submits his report on Friday September 3. But their fast-track railroad could end up in the ditch amid multiple legal challenges and a growing political backlash. First, here's a brief update on the last couple of weeks.
A steady stream of 15 to 20 objectors per day have been presenting objections day after day for the last four weeks. Despite a series of bureaucratic errors, procedural failures and deliberate attempts to disqualify and limit objectors, well over 200 individuals and organizations made it past the gate-keepers and recorded a mountain of detailed submissions, including a lot of new information.
SPEC has ordered a complete set of tapes of the hearings, and also collected paper copies of many of the presentations -- from which we intend to compile an alternative "citizens' report". This will include the material Mr. Goldie intends to deliberately omit.
Also, at least three web-pages (in Montreal, Victoria, and Sechelt) are posting Nanoose "objections" for the world to see, and the BC government has also posted their own massive and detailed objection (several hundred pages of highly organized documents).
As well, Rogers Community TV (Cable-4 in Vancouver) has filmed and produced a four-part documentary of the hearings which is available across Canada by request. SPEC's newspaper clippings scrapbook, while not comprehensive, is already 77 pages (11" x 17") long, full of articles from Canadian, US, German, and Japanese newspapers.
It is impossible to summarize all of the many presentations, but here are a few random highlights:
CONGRATULATIONS to the about 240 objectors who made presentations in person to the hearings, and the approximately 1,020 who tried hard but were rejected -- for reasons that may prove to have been illegal -- and to the many supporters who attended, updated web-pages, represented on behalf of people who couldn't attend in person, flew to Vancouver or Nanaimo at their own expense from Saskatoon, Montreal, Ottawa, California and elsewhere.
It's worth noting that a lot has been happening over the last two weeks as well as the hearings themselves. Two demonstrations (August 3, and August 9) were held at the hearings building on Georgia Street, and two more, (August 9 and August 10) at Canada Place (just down the street) where Vancouver's Anti War Machine organized a tremendously energetic and visually boisterous demonstration against the US Navy ship Tarawa and the associated Military Trade Show "Aerospace North America".
On August 7 and 8 Nanoose Objector Dr. Rosalie Bertell also spoke at a major symposium organized by the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom as well as at a Hiroshima Day lantern ceremony and dinner on August 6. Vancouver's popular annual "Under the Volcano" festival also dealt with many of these issues on August 8 and 9.
A number of meetings in Nanoose, Victoria and Vancouver are now organizing follow-up for the next steps, and there are many opportunites open to effectively de-rail this ill-advised expropriation! At least four court challenges are being launched or prepared, as well as several rallies, demos, and related campaigns...
Letters to the editor:
Vancouver Sun fax: (604)605-2522 email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Vancouver Province fax: (604)605-2099 email: email@example.com
Globe and Mail fax: (604)684-7956 email: letters@GlobeAndMail.ca
- Use of weapons-grade uranium in reactor gets go-ahead from AECB.
by Kelly Egan
Canada's nuclear regulator has conditionally approved a licence to operate a new reactor at Atomic Energy of Canada's laboratories in Chalk River that will use weapons-grade uranium.
Maple 1 and Maple 2 are to be commissioned next year and are eventually to be owned by MDS Nordion, the Kanata company that supplies most of the world's isotopes used in nuclear medicine.
The Atomic Energy Control Board of Canada yesterday agreed to a conditional licence for Maple 1, to go into service in May, and the associated processing plant. The board will withhold the licence for the second reactor until it sees some performance results from Maple 1 which is now under construction.
On its 4,000-hectare property 190 kilometres west of Ottawa, AECL's only operating reactor, NRU, is nearing the end of its life after about 40 years of service.
Nordion is spending $140 million to ensure it has a steady, long-term supply of isotopes, which have a short shelf life but are essential for certain diagnostic tests. Nordion needs a continuously operating reactor to keep its inventories in good shape to supply a global market that has reached 50,000 daily diagnostic tests. AECL will operate the plant under contract with Nordion.
"The real fundamental issue for Nordion is security of supply," said company vice-president Grant Malkoske, who is confident that all the board's conditions will be met during the next six to eight months.
The new licence has been criticized by watchdog groups because the Maple reactors will be using highly enriched uranium, like that used to make nuclear weapons. Nordion has received approval to import, in a five year period, 130 kilograms of enriched uranium from the United States.
The licence application has been opposed by several groups, including the Canadian Coalition for Nuclear Responsibility.
"Questions relating to the transfer and safeguarding of weapons-grade materials such as highly enriched uranium and separated plutonium are, in our view, of the highest importance in matters of regulation affecting the nuclear industry," wrote coalition president Gordon Edwards. The coalition believes there needs to be further study of the justification for using such highly enriched materials and more emphasis on looking at alternatives. Because the uranium is trucked from the U.S., the coalition argues there are new issues of security and safety.
Mr. Malkoske believes Nordion and AECL is addressing those issues. "The fact is there is a safeguard program in place ... to make sure there is no diversion of material."
- Expropriation flouts Canada's legal obligations and its foreign policy.
by Jennifer Allen Simons,
Ph.D. (Simon Fraser University)
I am speaking as a concerned citizen and as President of The Simons Foundation, a private family foundation, representing its nine members. I am also Adjunct Professor in The Institute for the Humanities, Simon Fraser University, past Board Member of the Canadian Centre for Arms Control and Disarmament, Peacefund Canada, and a current board member of the Canadian Council for International Peace and Security. I am also a member of the International Steering Committee of the Middle Powers Initiative, an International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons chaired by Canadian Senator Douglas Roche.
The mandate of The Simons Foundation is to promote public education in matters of global peace and security including nuclear disarmament, human rights, social justice and environmental issues.
The Federal Government intends to expropriate the Canadian Forces Maritime Experimental and Test Range for "a purpose related to the safety and security of Canada or of a state allied or associated with Canada". Canada currently allows the United States to:
I believe that by expropriating the Canadian Forces Maritime Experimental and Test Range in order to continue to allow the United States access to the area for the above uses:
The Illegality of Nuclear Weapons
The World Court, in its Advisory Opinion of July 8, 1996, noted the potential catastrophic consequences to humanity and to the environment from the use of nuclear weapons and concluded that the threat or use of nuclear weapons is generally illegal and would in particular be contrary to the rules of humanitarian law applicable in armed conflict.
In addition, the Court underlined the obligation set out in Article VI of the Treaty on Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, 1968 (the "NPT") which requires states who are parties to the Treaty:
The Court further emphasized the fundamental nature of the obligation of good faith in international law.
"...to pursue negotiations in good faith on effective measures relating to the cessation of the nuclear arms race at any early date and to nuclear disarmament, and on a treaty on general and complete disarmament under strict and effective international control."
By allowing the U.S. to deploy and test its weapons delivery systems in Canadian territorial waters, Canada may be seen to be in breach of its obligation to negotiate in good faith on effective measures relating to nuclear disarmament. Historically, Canada's compliance with international law had been fundamental in establishing respect in the global community.
Canadian Foreign Policy
In addition, the Canadian government has taken a leadership role in its efforts to rid the world of nuclear weapons. The government of Canada declared in April, 1999, in response to the report of the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade that, among other things:
By allowing the U.S. to use the Canadian Forces Maritime Experimental and Test Range for testing its sophisticated weapons delivery systems, the Canadian government is acting contrary to its own declared foreign policy and the will of 92 percent of Canadians. If the government is serious in its stated commitment to work for the elimination of nuclear weapons it cannot continue to allow such testing to continue with its consent in its own back yard.
Threat to the Environment
The use of Canadian territorial waters for the deployment of nuclear powered submarines causes a potential major threat to the environment. The Canadian Forces Maritime Experimental and Test Range is located in an area of Canada that is very densely populated and environmentally vulnerable. No public environmental impact assessment hearing has been held with respect to these issues.
In addition, the Department of National Defence released several reports which show that none of the Canadian naval bases are fully prepared for a nuclear accident caused by a visiting foreign warship.
The evidence submitted at this hearing shows that the vessels which have visited the Canadian Forces Maritime Experimental and Test Range have had almost 1600 accidents in various parts of the world. An accident involving a nuclear powered vessel could be devastating to the delicate ecosystem of coastal British Columbia and puts at risk the health and safety of millions of people.
Already there is significant waste in the form of 93,000 kilometres of copper wire, 2,200 tons of lead, lithium batteries on the Canadian Forces Maritime Experimental and Test Range seabed from the torpedo testing. Furthermore, the presence of these nuclear powered vessels contravenes the 1992 declaration of the B.C.'s legislature that British Columbia be a nuclear-weapons-free-zone.
The Government of Canada owes a duty of care to the people of British Columbia to respect their choice not to be exposed to the dangers of nuclear-powered warships and nuclear weapons and to protect its population from the potential horrendous dangers that the presence of these vessels and their weapons create.
Canada cannot place its obligations to the US under the NATO treaty above its obligations under the Non-Proliferation Treaty which has been ratified by 182 states. Nor can Canada act contrary to its declared foreign policy on nuclear weapons which reflects the will of over 90 percent of the population.
The Federal Government must withdraw its notice to expropriate the Canadian Forces Maritime Experimental and Test Range and negotiate a license agreement which prohibits the entry of nuclear powered vessels and vessels carrying nuclear weapons if it is to comply with its obligations under international law and its foreign policy.
- Ottawa viewed plutonium plan as doomed to fail as early as 1996.
Globe and Mail
by Martin Mittelstaedt
TORONTO -- A high-profile Canadian "swords-into-plowshares" offer to burn surplus Cold War plutonium at Ontario nuclear reactors was viewed within the federal government as doomed to failure as early as 1996, according to documents obtained by The Globe and Mail.
The controversial plan has been a pet project of Prime Minister Jean Chrétien and one of Canada's most significant international policy initiatives in the 1990s, but the documents suggest it is not economically feasible.
The records also indicate that federal officials developed what they called a "media line" for convincing the public that the plutonium plan would be an altruistic service that Canada could provide for world peace. Meanwhile, senior federal officials were privately focused on the commercial aspects of winning the project.
The records were obtained by The Globe under a federal Access to Information request.
Despite the financial concerns, the government has pushed ahead with the plutonium plan, and preparations are now under way for a test burn of Russian and U.S. material at Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd., the federal company that promotes Canadian nuclear technology.
Any successful effort by Canada to use plutonium as fuel is dependent on reaching a multilateral agreement with the United States and Russia.
That may be unlikely, however, because of the assessment that using Candus for U.S. weapons is not cost-competitive.
The doubts about the commercial viability of the plan to fuel Candu reactors with plutonium were contained in a confidential cable that staff at the Canadian embassy in Washington sent to superiors in Ottawa in November, 1996.
The cable, which appears to be heavily censored, concluded "there are reasons to expect that Candu will not be selected as the preferred alternative for a program to dispose of only U.S. plutonium."
The record was approved by Brian Morrisey, then a diplomat at the embassy and now director-general of the economic-policy bureau of the Department of Foreign Affairs. It indicated a mood of near-despair among Canadian bureaucrats that a program Mr. Chrétien frequently touted, purportedly for disarmament reasons, was unlikely to succeed.
"What can we do?" the cable asked. "If we are correct in assessing that [the U.S. Department of Energy] is leaning to other options, we are at a loss, in view of the estimated difference in cost, to suggest arguments that would convince DOE that Candu should be its preferred alternative."
The problem for the Canadian proposal, according to the cable, was that there was "a wide cost differential" between using Candu reactors, and using cheaper methods of dealing with the plutonium -- such as burning it at U.S. power reactors or encasing it in glass.
The portion of the cable outlining the actual cost disadvantage was deleted from the records obtained by The Globe. But estimates provided in other parts of the documents indicate the Candu option was about 50 per cent more expensive than burning the plutonium in U.S. reactors.
It appears the document was written after embassy staff were tipped off about the poor prognosis for the Candu option by a member of the U.S. Department of Energy staff.
Despite the poor outlook for the Canadian disposal option, the government was at the time and continues today to be firmly committed to advancing the program.
At almost the same time in 1996 that the embassy officials were playing down the chances of getting the plutonium, the government -- through the Canadian International Development Agency -- funded a $1.65-million study carried out by Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd., to assess using Russian bomb material as reactor fuel.
The documents also indicate that the government has been developing since at least 1996 the media strategy for explaining the test burn currently being planned by AECL at its Chalk River laboratory.
AECL developed a partnership in 1994 with Ontario Hydro to seek a contract to burn the plutonium at the utility's Bruce A atomic plant on Lake Huron.
Although Ontario Hydro was an enthusiastic initial backer of the proposal, another record held by the Privy Council Office in Ottawa indicates that Ontario Hydro has been getting cold feet.
"The initiative to dispose of U.S. and Russian excess weapons plutonium is a long-term international program which faces diplomatic, logistical and financial challenges," Carl Andognini, Ontario Hydro's chief nuclear officer, wrote to the federal government in October, 1997.
Mr. Andognini's letter indicated that Ontario Hydro remained open to the plutonium option, but stressed it must have "a sound business case."
No surplus Cold War plutonium has yet been destroyed under the efforts by United States and Russia to dispose of their old weapons.
The two countries have agreed to reduce their arsenals of nuclear bombs by nearly 75 per cent. It is expected that approximately 40,000 warheads will have been dismantled by 2003 and each country will have more than 50 tonnes of surplus weapons-grade plutonium.
The Globe received more than 800 pages of records under the federal right-to-know law, but the government censored dozens of them, asserting that release might, among other things, undermine Canada's conduct of international affairs, jeopardize national defence, undermine Canadian weapons-development programs, undermine federal-provincial affairs, reveal advice to the government, and disclose cabinet information.
Nonetheless, the records indicate that top civil servants closely tied to Mr. Chrétien have been intimately involved in tracking the controversial plutonium plan, which is officially being directed by Natural Resources Canada and Foreign Affairs.
Indeed, the Privy Council Office seems to be kept abreast of all aspects of the plan, from the content of government media plans to correspondence by ministers about it.
And Mr. Chrétien is personally notified about important developments on the plutonium front, according to at least two of the records. In one document, the contents of which were almost completely censored, a hand-written message instructs staff that when plutonium for the Chalk River test run is sent to Canada, "the PM will need a heads up note."
The records also show the Privy Council Office closely tracked media accounts about the leaking to the press earlier this year of a letter from Mr. Chrétien to U.S. President Bill Clinton on the plutonium plan.
One document, a draft of a 1996 communications strategy called "media lines," suggests the plutonium plan should be presented as helping world peace.
"Canada has always stood for the elimination of nuclear weapons and in this regard is discussing with the Russians and United States governments ways in which Canada could assist the process," it said.
Antinuclear activists responded to release of the federal documents by accusing Ottawa of duplicity.
If Canada's real reason for wanting to burn the plutonium has been an altruistic desire for disarmament, they say, it shouldn't matter if the Russians and Americans choose the most cost-effective disposal procedure and ignore the Candu option.
"That is what really suggests to us that there is a hidden agenda on the part of the federal government," said Irene Kock, a spokeswoman for Nuclear Awareness Project, an Ontario group opposed to plutonium use.
"The agenda that I think underlies all of this is to keep AECL in the plutonium-fuel arena," she said.