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Loss of Canada's CANDU Nuclear Reactor Sale to China Should be Celebrated Not Lamented PDF Print E-mail
Peace News
Monday, 13 June 2005 02:37
Loss of Canada's CANDU Nuclear Reactor Sale to China Should be Celebrated Not Lamented

PEJ News
- Dr. Joan Russow - Global Compliance Research Project - May 13, 2005: Today it is reported that despite Jean Chretien's efforts to sell two new CANDU reactors to China, China has rejected Canada's nuclear technology.

For years Canada has subsidized the CANDU reactor; It is past time to subsidize nuclear civil energy, the millions of dollars put into AECL should be put into environmentally sound renewable energy.
May 13, 2005
On November 8,1994, on CBC, after the announcement of the sale of CANDU reactors to China? Prime Minister Jean Chretien exclaimed "It is difficult to match the success! ? Dr Fred Knelman and I sent out a press release asking the question "For whom is the sale of the CANDU a success story".

Subsequently in 1994, I sent out another press release referring to the then Prime Minister Jean Chretien as a "CANDU salesman". Today it is reported that despite Jean Chretien's efforts to sell two new CANDU reactors to China, China has rejected Canada's nuclear technology.

For years Canada has subsidized the CANDU reactor; It is past time to subsidize nuclear civil energy, the millions of dollars put into AECL should be put into environmentally sound renewable energy

The following is the piece sent out in 1994 about reservations about the sale of CANDU reactors:

On November 8,1994, on CBC, after the announcement of the sale of CANDU reactors to China? Prime Minister Jean Chretien exclaimed "It is difficult to match the success!

? Not for future generations who will have to deal with the nuclear waste that our generation leaves behind!
? Not for the disenfranchised groups of society who offer their land for deposit of nuclear waste because their poverty and misery give them no choice!
? Not for the Chinese people who live near or downstream from the reactor sites! or who live in the shadow of radiation leaks and of more catastrophic accidents.

Generations having to face an eternity of diabolic vigilance by a ?nuclear priesthood?
One of the most senior pro-nuclear scientists in the US, Alvin Weinberg once stated:

"The advent of nuclear energy poses issues of unprecedented magnitude and weight for humanity . the half-life of Pu-239 (Plutonium-239)is 24,000 years and nothing we can do will change this. We have created materials that humans have never seen before, that remain toxic for times much longer than we have even had experience with ...when I try to visualize matters from this very long-range point of view, I sometimes am concerned about our present course (Nuclear News Vol 14, No., 12, p.33, 1971). and later Weinberg goes on to talk about a "nuclear priesthood" being delegated as guardians of atomic fuel into perpetuity.

We nuclear people have made a Faustian bargain with society. On the one hand we offer ? in the catalytic burner ? an inexhaustible source of energy. But the price we demand of society is both a vigilance and longevity of our social institutions to which we are unaccustomed. There must always be intelligent people around to cope with eventualities we have not thought of ... Reactor safety, waste disposal, and the transport of radioactive materials are complex matters about which little can be said with absolute certainty. Is humanity prepared to exert the external vigilance needed to ensure proper and safe operation of its nuclear system? (Social Institutions and Nuclear Policy, Science. Vol. 177, pp27-34, 1972).

Proponents of nuclear non-proliferation are constantly subverted by the linkages between civil and military nuclear power 

Through industry-driven commitments, Canada has pursued an historical role of placing the commercial aspects of nuclear reactor sales of CANDU above its oft-avowed support for the non-proliferation of nuclear arms. More recently Canada failed to protest further nuclear tests by China in order to protect a multibillion-dollar sale of CANDU reactors.

It is inevitable that China will extract plutonium from waste fuel to manufacture weapons. given that the five nuclear weapons states are immune from inspection under the non-proliferation Treaty.

Canada is a very important player in the proliferation issue, being the major exporter of uranium in the Western world currently exporting some 31% of the total.

The U.S. draws its weapons materials from operating enrichment plants. Thus despite all disclaimers or outright denial, the civil nuclear fuel cycle provides the materials for US nuclear weapons. In France, Russia and China, civil and military nuclear power operations are integrated making it impossible to be certain that no civil materials are used for military purposes. 

In fact, all the major uranium mines in the world are civilian mines. They produce uranium under civilian auspices and are regulated by civilian laws. They export uranium for civilian uses, and are safeguarded by bilateral or multilateral treaties or through the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty administered by the International Atomic Energy (IAEA) in Vienna. Canada is a major exporter of uranium in the world and uranium is the ultimate source of all nuclear weapons

There is a little bit of Canadian uranium in every thermonuclear weapon in the US arsenal. (Knelman, 1989 in Environmental and Nuclear Issues and the Law).

It is incontrovertible that Canada?s decision to sell CANDU reactors to China was in direct violation of its international commitments on nuclear proliferation but also of the public policy connections of this country vis a vis nuclear disarmament.

As early as 1968, the 160 countries including Canada made a commitment to move to nuclear disarmament.?

Article VI of the 1968 Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons signed by more that 160 states, calls for ?negotiations in good faith on effective measures relating to cessation of the nuclear arms race at an early date and to nuclear disarmament. 

Since1972, in Stockholm, when Canada and the rest of the global community endorsed principle 26, Canada also made a commitment to eliminate weapons of mass destruction:

Humans and their environment must be spared the effects of nuclear weapons and all other means of mass destruction. States must strive to reach prompt agreement, in the relevant international organs, on the elimination and complete destruction of such weapons.

the World Court Initiative? to declare the illegality of nuclear weapons? is an attempt to criminalize nuclear weapons by a declaration of the International Court of Justice. Canada has refused to support this initiative.

Opponents of reliance on the world?s most deadly substance: plutonium

Canada is now a major player in pushing the use of plutonium fuels for reactors. Canada has decided to use a plutonium fueled reactor. .

AECL has received a contract from DOE to study the feasibility of using plutonium from surplus US and Russian nuclear warheads as a fuel in CANDU reactor. This has been a cherished option of AECL for several decades. A plutonium economy will provide the ultimate assurance of accelerated proliferation and acts of nuclear terrorism. 

It is understandable that CANDU has special attractions for countries that seek energy self-sufficiency or military nuclear capacity. The CANDU reactor has advantages in both areas. Because it uses natural uranium, any country (such as India) that has large reserves is in a much more independent position. They need not rely on the importation of enriched uranium or plutonium fuels. In this sense, CANDU has been considered by certain Third-World countries as a non-imperialist technology. Since CANDU produces more plutonium than its rivals, it is attractive for various purposes, including breeder and weapons programs.

Proponents of ecologically sound renewable energy
Devastating for China?s fledgling commitment to Renewable sources
China has a good record for seriously considering and research renewable energy sources.
By encouraging China to embrace more nuclear energy, Canada is inevitably discouraging China?s renewable initiatives

At the New York Prep Com for UNCED, the global community agreed to the following commitment to the development of renewable sources of energy; in particular for the ?developing? states. The only bracketed section that was to be discussed was the inclusion of the word ?safe? in this section {the use delegation was determined to remove ?safe? from any reference to nuclear because that would exclude the nuclear power.

. "cooperate to increase the availability of capacity, capabilities and relevant technologies-...--in developing countries for utilizing and producing environmentally [safe and] sound renewable energy resources, such as solar, wind, geothermal, hydropower and biomass, ...( Agenda 21, 9.9 g Atmosphere)

The Canada/China CANDU decision to continue the expansion of non-renewable unsafe nuclear civil nuclear reactors is an unacceptable step backwards in political resolve to seriously address the global problem.
Last Updated on Monday, 13 June 2005 02:37
 

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