Thursday, September 06, 2007

Nuclear waste? Sure. Just dump it here.

As far as I can tell, the deal reduces to this. Because of behind-the-scenes deals some Canadian governments have cut with the U.S., they can have as much of our oil and water as they want, and are even allowed to use a pre-emptive strike if their energy "security" is compromised (read, they can use as much energy as they want and the rest of us can freeze in the dark). In return, we are required to deal with their nuclear waste because nuclear disposal sites are unpopular in the U.S.

Well, guess what? They're not very popular here either.

Canada to decide within days whether to join new U.S.-led nuclear initiative

SYDNEY, Australia (CP) - Canada will make a decision on joining a new U.S.-led nuclear initiative "within a matter of days," Foreign Affairs Minister Maxime Bernier said Thursday at a summit of pan-Pacific leaders.

The Conservative government of Prime Minister Stephen Harper is denying reports that it has been suppressing information about the Global Nuclear Energy Partnership after documents obtained by The Canadian Press showed negotiations between Canada and other governments have been ongoing for at least a year.
If it's denying the reports, you can be pretty sure they are very, very miffed about being found out.

...The GNEP, initiated and funded by the U.S. government, is controversial because it proposes that uranium exporting countries bring back spent nuclear fuel for long-term storage.

Harper has made one public statement on the initiative, 15 months ago, in which he promised to defend Canadian interests.

I wish I could believe that, but I'm afraid I simply don't. The defense of Canadian interests only comes out when they've been exposed as clearly not doing that.

...Last week, the government issued a statement saying it had been invited to Sept. 16 talks in Vienna on the GNEP but still hadn't decided whether to attend.

Yet documents obtained under the Access to Information Act show that the Canadian government has been actively considering the initiative since at least March 2006. Negotiations with the United States began as early as May 3, 2006, and the government had internal talking points praising the GNEP proposal as worth pursuit.

Liar, liar...need a fire extinguisher for those pants?

...[A government briefing document prepared by Atomic Energy of Canada Limited, dated March 31, 2006, states that dealing with spent U.S. nuclear fuel is "the main driver" of the proposal:

"With regard to the proposed GNEP fuel cycle, we understand the main U.S. driver is to avoid the difficult issues associated with finding waste disposal sites beyond Yucca Mountain," a former nuclear test site in Nevada that is home to America's nuclear waste repository.

Why would anybody think that any U.S. proposal has anyone's else's interests but theirs at the forefront?

...[The Harper government has yet to publicly state whether the disposal issue is negotiable for Canada or is a non-starter.

That's because they were hoping nobody would find out. They'll probably try to put a positive spin on it by saying it will provide jobs for Canadians. Mmmm...dealing with spent nuclear fuel. Now that's something we need to do more of.

I'm thinking of the nightmare of transporting highly toxic nuclear waste back to its country of origin. Apart from the very real risk of accidents schlepping this stuff all over the world, any such transport would be a target for terrorist activity. Sounds like a win-win deal for Canada to me.

Sorry, Mr. Harper, but I think most Canadians would rather refine their own oil rather than sending unrefined bitumen to the U.S. - value added jobs and all that. We don't even have a very satisfactory long-term strategy for our own nuclear waste. It would be a good selling point in the U.S., though. Build as many nuclear plants as you want, guys. We'll dump all the lethal waste in Canada.

...[Australia, by contrast, has been forthright that nuclear waste repatriation is not on:

"We won't agree to do that, and we've always made that clear, we're not planning and we've never planned and we've never said we would," Downer said Thursday.

Until Harper and the crew say that, I won't believe anything else they say. Even if they were to say that, I'm not sure they'd be able to convince me.

...[C]anadian officials have already indicated Canada is ready to join the AP-6, a climate change group that some environmental groups see as a rival to the UN-mandated Kyoto process for reducing greenhouse gases.

Meanwhile, they'll just get on with destroying Kyoto and the environment we all have to live in and making us look like regressive fools.

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