September 4, 2009
In Canada, we've talked for years about creating an east-west grid that could tap clean hydroelectric resources in Manitoba, Newfoundland and Labrador, and Quebec, and carry it to jurisdictions in need. Ontario could certainly find itself needy, given that in about five years all our coal plants will be phased out and older nuclear plants will need to be retired or refurbished.
In addition to hydroelectric resources, Nalcor figures it can also develop 5, 000 megawatts of wind projects in the largely uninhabited area surrounding Lower Churchill.
There's always nuclear, but that's proving increasingly expensive, risky and inflexible for the type of power Ontario needs. It also takes 10 years to build and comes with waste-management problems that are not yet resolved. Ontario could do a deal to import more power from Quebec, but that needn't preclude a separate deal with Nalcor.
Ontario's pledge to shut down sections of two coal-fired generating stations next year was hailed Thursday by environmental groups who called on the government to go even further and shutter all coal-burning plants by the 2011 election.
The financial risks of nuclear power were cast into sharp relief yesterday as Areva, the French state-owned group, revealed new provisions on its troubled Finnish reactor project that virtually wiped out interim operating profits. ["Provision" is a term for "liability" in accounting: GE]
The latest provision brings to 2.3 billion euros the charges Areva has been forced to take, making the total cost of what is becoming the flagship for a new generation of heavy duty nuclear reactors some 5.3 billion euros.
The group had originally estimated the cost at 3 billion euros.
Farm tractors are rumbling across Germany to a mass anti-nuclear rally in Berlin at the weekend which promises to thrust the divisive issue into the federal election campaign weeks before polling day.
The future of Germany's 17 nuclear power plants, due to be shut down by the early 2020s, is one of the major issues that divides Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservatives from the Social Democrats (SPD) of her challenger, Frank-Walter Steinmeier.
Opinion polls show Germans oppose nuclear power, often by large majorities.
In 2001, the SPD pushed through legislation with their coalition partners the Greens to phase out the use of nuclear power in the world's third largest economy within two decades, despite protests from industry and utilities.
The CDU and their Bavarian sister party, the Christian Social Union, want to reverse the phase-out.
In their election manifestos, the SPD says it wants 50 percent of Germany's power to come from renewables by 2030 and the Greens are targeting 40 percent from renewables by 2020.
West Virginia is not the only state that declined to overturn a ban on nuclear power this year.
As the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission considers licensing applications for new nuclear generation in 14 states, attempts to overturn explicit or effective bans failed in six other states in 2009, according to the nonprofit Nuclear Information and Resource Service.
"Things will be even tougher for their state (nuclear) lobbyists in 2010 now that the freeze on Yucca Mountain has taken long-term waste disposal off the table," said NIRS Executive Director Michael Mariotte.
The last new nuclear power generation unit to be ordered in the U.S. was in 1978, just before the partial core meltdown at Three Mile Island in 1979.
Since that time, first California and then about a dozen states passed laws that outright or effectively banned new nuclear generation.
The code requires at least 24 months' prior operation of a national facility "which safely, successfully and permanently disposes of any and all radioactive wastes associated with operating any such nuclear power plant, nuclear factory or nuclear electric power generating plant."
That condition has never been met.
And because the federal government withdrew its support for the Yucca Mountain facility earlier this year, there is no process in place for it ever to be met.
Calling all Toronto cyclists:
Join the two-wheelers that are traversing the country on their way to Ottawa to pressure the feds to take action on climate change!
Monday Sept. 7, Labour Day
Union Station, 9 a.m. meet at Union Station plaza for local spin to Leslie St. Spit and back
Go Train departs at 10:45 am bound for Pickering. From Pickering, Pedal for the Planet riders will cycle to Ajax, Whitby and Oshawa, then camp at Darlington Provincial Park. Campers need to bring their own tent, mat and sleeping bag.
The cost of GO will be covered for riders who will continue on past this first day. Day only riders must cover their own cost of GO.
There are no registration fees, but the registration form is available at www.kyotoplus.ca/pedal
For more info: Ted Perry 416 802 5913
(Note: A support vehicle driver is needed to accompany the ride – if you’re available, contact Ted above.)
Tues. Sept. 3 – Sun. Sept. 13th
Films and Panels
The goal of the film festival is to raise awareness of climate change and its impact on the earth system and the human societies. We are at a critical stage of the UNFCCC negotiation which will conclude in Copenhagen December this year. Looking at the state of the climate change, the result of the UNFCCC meeting in Copenhagen will have long term and serious effect on the future of humanity and many other species. We try to inform the public about the situation we are at, and the effect of our collective action or inaction on the future generations to come.
Tuesday, September 8th
7:00 pm Free Workshop: B1170 40 St. George Street
Casualty of Climate Change: Tuvalu, a Disappearing Nation
Wednesday, September 9th Bloor Cinema $5
6:45 pm Climate Experience—Short Film Series
Panel: Climate Experience
Thursday, September 10th Bloor Cinema $5
6:45 pm Climate Change and Women—Short Film Series,
Film: Robert, Mary and Katrina
Panel: Climate Change and Women, and the Marginalized Groups
Friday, September 11th Bloor Cinema $5
6:45 pm Film: The Venus Theory
Panel: State of Climate Change, and State of Climate Change UNFCCC Negotiation
Saturday, September 12th Bloor Cinema
1:00 pm $5 Film: H2Oil
Panel: Tar Sands and Climate Justice
6:00 pm Bloor Cinema $5
Film: The Disappearing of Tuvalu: Trouble in Paradise
Panel: Re-examine Humanity
Sunday, September 13th Bloor Cinema $5
1:00 pm Film: Weather Report
Panel: Our Vision, and What We Should Do
Gordon Edwards of the Canadian Coalition for Nuclear Responsibility addresses a large crowd of concerned Alberta citizens. Tar sands operations are drawing an increasing amount of our domestic allotment of conventional fossil fuels (especially natural gas, commonly used for heating fuel in our extreme winter conditions) to create fuels and feedstock for export. As Alberta's natural gas production has apparently peaked, the industry is looking to develop large scale, alternative energy sources for ongoing extraction of low-quality bitumen from the sands of northern Alberta. An excellent 9-part video series with Canada’s pre-eminent anti-nuclear spokesperson.