Thursday, December 20, 2007

Mohawk Nation News: Sinister coverup at Chalk River


Mohawk Nation News
Dec. 20, 2007

Gordon Edwards, of the Canadian Coalition for Nuclear Responsibility, raised serious concerns about the “Maple” reactor delays at Chalk River. "An important aspect of the isotope-production fiasco on Algonquin territory is being ignored. AECL "Atomic Energy of Canada Limited" uses 95 per cent highly enriched “weapons-grade” uranium HEU to make the main isotope (Molybdenum-99). This can be made using low-enriched uranium LEU which is NOT weapons-usable material, but is more expensive. Somebody wants to make isotopes and bombs cheaply!

He continued, “It’s easier to make a very powerful bomb with weapons -grade uranium like the one dropped on Hiroshima in 1945”. The only stockpile of weapons-grade uranium in Canada is at Chalk River, less than 200 kilometers up the Ottawa River from Canada’s capital. The Canadian public and Members of Parliament are told they are for “essential and life saving” medical isotope production. However, there’s enough there to build two or more atom bombs and the stockpile is increasing.

Why is the Canadian company, MDS Nordion, that sells the isotopes, ordering more of the risky weapons grade uranium from the U.S.? Why do Canada and the U.S. allow this hazardous material to be transported over regular highways, rails and air? The U.S. warns the towns where these materials are being transported. Not in Canada!

Hey, wait a minute? How medically necessary is this weapons grade uranium anyway? How did humans thrive and survive without isotopes? There are definitely cases where people’s lives have been saved using the new technology. But are we being sold a bill of goods? The isotopes should be made with uranium that is not weapons grade. If we care about having generations to come, do we not also have a responsibility to make sure they have a safe and clean environment to live in?

What about the international weapons shysters that like to wheel and deal with Canadian Prime Ministers and other heads of states? They have set up a situation where a valid medical use is being used to camouflage deadly life destroying practices. Gordon Edwards, who has a lot more high tech knowledge than we do, worries that Canada’s Members of Parliament have been bamboozled?

On December 11th every Member and Senator voted in favor of restarting the old decommissioned NRU (National Research Universal) reactor. The “scheduled 2005” maintenance was not done. Its reopening goes against the advice of the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission. What’s the point of setting up a committee of experts if you’re not going to listen to them? Are there other ways to deal with a temporary shortage of medical isotopes created by the construction delays without threatening human life on earth? Couldn’t people cut the use of MRIs for the investigation of conditions that are not life threatening?

The isotope shortage could have been avoided if two AECL reactors, Maple 1 and 2, had been completed on schedule in the early part of the decade. It’s been put off year by year over safety concerns. ACRs (Advanced CANDU Reactors) being proposed for Northern Alberta and the MAPLE reactors being built at Chalk River, Ontario, are very different.

The MAPLE reactors were designed to have a "negative power coefficient of reactivity" (PCR). In fact they have shown the opposite - namely a POSITIVE PCR. For safety, a negative PCR is good and a positive PCR is bad. Neither AECL nor CNSC (Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission)
understands WHY there is all this positive PCR inside the reactor. Is this because only “weapons grade” uranium is being used? We could all be in for some very nasty surprises.

The ACR(Advanced Candu) reactors were designed to have a "negative void coefficient of reactivity" (VCR). The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission USNRC concluded the opposite. Under certain accident conditions, the ACR reactors could have a "substantially" POSITIVE VCR. As we said, a negative VCR is good and a positive VCR is bad. Since nobody has ever built an ACR, the two groups of experts, AECL (Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd.) and USNRC, disagree. There is no analysis except on paper and using computer models. Both don’t understand what is going on in the core of an ACR reactor.

All it takes is not knowing about some as yet undiscovered force of nature that could invalidate everything the experts thought they knew. Think of the changes we’ve seen in our lifetime. Cars, radios, televisions and cell phones, all based on great discoveries. Their by-products have been “Love Canal”, Minamata Disease, Chernobyl. Human error has been a large factor in these
man-made disasters.

Most of these technical wonders and environmental nightmares are less than a century old. We’re down to the last 10% of fish stocks! We’re still living with the delusion that there is some pristinely healthy corner of the natural world somewhere that we have not polluted beyond the capacity of life to continue as we know it. When we ignore what the few experts who have had the time to develop a real understanding of these potent technologies, what are we asking for?

The public should wake up and throw the bums out who won't listen. Is outer space their way of escaping the disaster they’ve created? It is becoming increasing evident that scientific investigation in all fields of study is twisted to support political and capitalist interests of one kind of another. The once sacrosanct scientific rule of neutral and objective observation and analysis has been abandoned. The objective should be public safety, not commercial profit, collegiality, party loyalty or “good press”.

The MAPLE reactors are small -- generating about 10 megawatts of heat. The ACR 1000 (Candu) generates about 3300 megawatts of heat. 1100 megawatts are converted into electricity and the other 2200 megawatts are "waste heat" which goes into the environment in some form. We wonder why we have global warming! The MAPLE reactors produce no electricity. They produce "isotopes", which are radioactive materials created through the bombardment of various "target" materials by neutrons. These are released into the fuel of the reactor. Some neutrons are converted into new radioactive materials that can be used in medicine, industry, and research.

The ACR-1000 reactors produce electricity. The fissioning of the uranium atoms in the fuel generates a tremendous number of neutrons and a great deal of heat.

That heat is used to boil water in the "steam generators", and the steam is used to spin a turbine, thereby generating electricity.In all nuclear reactors, the number of neutrons must be kept within limits -- not too few, or the reaction will stop; not too many, or the nuclear chain reaction will "run away" and go out of control. If not stopped within seconds, the core of the reactor can “melt down”. Unwanted energy is released, which can lead to explosions. If the shell is cracked, a cloud of radioactive gases and vapors rise into the atmosphere and goes who knows where.

As Dr. Strangelove might say: “People are getting stupider!” What does our future hold? As the Indigenous people say, “We need creation. Creation does not need us”.

Kahentinetha Horn
MNN Mohawk Nation News

For more on this issue: Jennifer Tsun, kittoh@storm.caGet Busy: Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty Tel 416-325-1941dmcquinty.mpp@liberal.ola.org an online form.
Canadian MP's:,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,Canadian Coalition for Nuclear Responsibility***MNN "Boy War Toys Club: Members Only" <>(click on news and then go to sharbot lake section)GNEP <>Hansard on nuclear liability debate feedback is welcome

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