Postby Oscar » Fri Jan 01, 2010 10:55 am


A New Book by Paul McKay; Foreword by David Suzuki 2009

A new book by award-winning investigative journalist Paul McKay exposes Canada’s continuing role in abetting atomic arms proliferation. It was released just as Stephen Harper’s international trade minister Stockwell Day arrived in India seeking new CANDU reactor sales, and Saskatchewan’s Cameco Corp. established a uranium sales office there.

India used a Canadian reactor to produce plutonium for its first atomic bomb in 1974, and has since built an atomic and hydrogen bomb arsenal. India has refused to sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, a comprehensive test ban protocol, or commit to atomic arms reductions. Canada cut off all nuclear assistance to India after the 1974 blast, yet reversed that policy recently to facilitate reactor and uranium sales.

In late September, India officially announced that it will begin exporting “breeder” reactors, cloned from the CANDU design, which will dramatically increase the production and global flows of plutonium.

“While most world leaders are seeking an exit strategy from the atomic arms race, Canada is underwriting an encore,” says McKay. “It is still selling essentially unsafeguardable reactors, increasing global flows of uranium, and even undermining the NPT by courting countries like India which flaunt non-proliferation efforts.”

“Using potential sales contracts as bait, India has cleverly negotiated a ’see-no-evil’ arrangement which allows it to pick and choose which nuclear reactors and fuels are declared peaceful or military,” says McKay. “This is exactly what North Korea and Iran are emulating. Our Parliament would be in an uproar if we sought CANDU or uranium sales to them.”

“Instead of upholding the atomic embargo against India, as Australia has, Ottawa is rewarding its past betrayal with increased nuclear business. That’s the worst message to send to other rogue states.”

Atomic Accomplice carefully traces the genesis of the CANDU reactor back to the World War Two Manhattan Project, showing that it was initially designed as a prolific plutonium producer and that this technical ‘DNA’ — which India exploited in 1974 - has been embedded in all CANDU exports to date. A typical CANDU, like those sold to Argentina, South Korea or China, produces about 400 kilograms of plutonium annually for decades. It takes less than 10 kilograms to make an atomic weapon.

Atomic Accomplice also calculates the proliferation peril posed by Canada’s current annual uranium exports of 7.3 million kilograms. Due to laws of physics, these annual exports embed 52,000 kilograms of uranium-235, and 19,000 kilograms of plutonium. This is enough to make about 5,000 atomic warheads each year.

The final chapters in the book expose the flaws of nuclear advocates who claim that Canadian reactor and uranium exports are a vital measure to combat catastrophic climate change, and can solve energy and poverty problems in developing countries. It documents how actual energy output from global investments in diverse renewable projects has recently outpaced those of new nuclear plants, and that the advent of commercial hydrogen-storage hybrid technologies can deliver more power, faster, and at lower cost than nuclear.

“By continuing to bankroll reactor and uranium exports, Canada is courting calamity in two ways: by increasing the potential for atomic proliferation, and by diverting precious support for safer, more sensible and sustainable energy alternatives.”


“This meticulously researched book makes it clear why non-proliferation treaties and international inspection agencies are failing to prevent the increase in nations with nuclear arms, many using Canadian uranium and Canadian nuclear technology.” - David Suzuki, Scientist and broadcaster

“Far from our image of a “boy scout” nation working to promote a more peaceful world, McKay uncovers a side of Canadian public policy driven by greed, secrecy, deceit and a willingness to put global safety at risk for the sake of commercial opportunity.” - Peter Prebble, Former Saskatchewan Cabinet Minister, MLA

“This is an impeccably detailed account of Canada’s role in arming the world with nuclear technologies and fuels, from the first moments of the arms race to today’s rogue states and their bitter rivalries.” - Bilbo Poynter, Executive Director, Canadian Centre for Investigative Reporting

“Atomic Accomplice is informed by in-depth research, fired by passionate conviction, and peppered with journalistic one-liners. A thorough and fair-minded primer on the politics of nuclear technology versus renewable alternatives, it is a powerful page turner.” - Maxine Ruvinsky, Chair, School of Journalism, Thompson Rivers University, Author of “Investigative Reporting in Canada”


Paul McKay has won Canada’s top journalism awards for investigative, magazine and business writing. The author of five books, he is also a past winner of the Atkinson Fellowship in Public Policy, and a Pierre Berton writer-in-residence. He has written for the Ottawa Citizen, Toronto Star, Globe and Mail, Harrowsmith, Maclean’s Magazine, and CBC television and radio documentaries. Web:

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Canada's dirty nuclear secret ... le1416520/


Published on Friday, Jan. 01, 2010 12:00AM EST Last updated on Friday, Jan. 01, 2010 1:17AM EST

Paul McKay is an environmental journalist who has won Canada's highest awards for business writing and investigative reporting. In his distinguished career, he has written for newspapers (The Globe and Mail, the Toronto Star, the Ottawa Citizen), magazines (Harrowsmith, Maclean's) and the CBC (television and radio documentaries).

He has published five books. With Atomic Accomplice: How Canada Deals in Deadly Deceit, Mr. McKay documents the official secrecy that has protected Canada's nuclear industry from public scrutiny for two generations - and demonstrates why Canadian environmentalists have much more to worry about than global warming.

It is a damning and alarming indictment - and thoroughly bipartisan, too. Written from years of accumulated research, Mr. McKay spares neither the left nor the right. The CCF's Tommy Douglas, the socialist premier from uranium-rich Saskatchewan, lobbied hard in the 1950s for federal subsidies to bankroll uranium mines. More recently, the NDP's Lorne Calvert, as Saskatchewan premier, championed the sale of uranium to China - only one in the list of dictatorships courted by Canada as prospective clients for this country's government-sustained nuclear industry.

Beyond doubt, this industry has survived solely through overt and covert government manipulation of the marketplace; in the case of Liberal prime minister Pierre Trudeau, for example, through a shameful price-fixing conspiracy that inflated the price of uranium more than fivefold. Federal subsidies to the industry - so far - exceed $30-billion. Prime Minister Stephen Harper has trebled support for the industry, committing a further $1.7-billion in the past three years.

Mr. McKay's muckraking book - using this term in its original, honourable meaning - comes at a sensitive time. Because nuclear energy emits no carbon, many environmentalists have embraced it as a "clean" method of averting global warming. For the same reason, many companies anticipate decades of assured industrial growth (along with huge windfall profits from the sale of carbon entitlements). For the same reason, governments expect enormous increases in taxes and royalties. Combined, these normally divergent interests have melded into a single influential pro-nuclear constituency.

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