Nuclear Update

The day after my blog entry on the “free” market in which nuclear power exists, a press release from the Climate Action Network demonstrates again the nuclear folly that we are engaged in.

“(Chalk River) The government of Canada has just bailed out Atomic Energy Canada Limited again. Taxpayers have paid another $500 million subsidy, this time to clean up the Chalk River nuclear research facility. The money will cover only part of the cost of project that AECL claims it needs 300 years to complete.”

It is interesting that I found this information from a third party, rather than the Federal government themself. Then again, perhaps they are not seeking publicity because they are embarrassed by it. They should be.  I did manage to find the press release on it at the NRCan web site.
Hmmm. $500 million to begin the clean up on a test reactor. All paid for by the taxpayers. The production nuclear reactors that supply Ontario, Quebec, and New Brunswick with power are far larger, and have had much more nuclear material put through them, and so can be expected to have an even larger downpayment required. And it is still just a downpayment. 300 years is another 12 generations who will pay for our profligate and wasteful use of electricity.

And an article in the Star today speculates, “Instead, the province appears headed towards an energy future that will include tens of billions of dollars worth of controversial new nuclear power projects, according to observers who have waited months for a government response to that recommendation made in December by an independent agency.” Apparently they think Dwight Duncan, Ontario’s Energy Minister, is to make an announcement regarding new nuclear plants next week. Let’s hope the Star got it wrong.

At this time, there are several contracts that have been awarded for the construction of 1000 MW of new renewables, including wind. That is a start, but the total generating capacity in Ontario is 25,000 MW. It is of course only scratching the surface of the potential. The Standard Offer Program which will award contracts to small renewable projects is under development. But there is no process in place to purchase additional power from larger projects. Supposedly it is waiting for the development of the Integrated Supply Plan by the Ontario Power Authority, due out in summer 2007. Conservation spending has just begun. In short, we are only just beginning to implement some of the alternatives to nuclear.

Mr. Duncan, please do not ask the people of Ontario to accept the financial and environmental risks of additional nuclear capacity until other methods of maintaining the electrical system have been tried, and in a serious way. Today, we have only small efforts to look at different ways of providing the services of electricity.

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