Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Suzuki Proves Why Liberals are Needed to go Green

The David Suzuki Foundation has released a report on provincial efforts to solve the climate crisis. The report supports the efforts of Dalton McGuinty in Ontario to eliminate coal powered plants from the grid. The Suzuki Foundation, however, toes the green line on nuclear power. The report claims that the province could avoid nuclear power and keep the lights on and sights a World Wildlife Fund/Pembina report to that effect. Unfortunately, the solution proposed by the WWF/Pembina report is to rely on importing hydro from Manitoba and Qu├ębec. In other words, Ontario cannot forego nuclear expansion and remain energy independent (I am aware that the province buys and sells energy on a daily basis, but basically production in Ontario meets Ontarians needs). We need climate change policies which don't pass the buck. We need policies which work for the given jurisdiction and are created within that jurisdiction. The green lobby in this country and around the world, is scared of nuclear energy. While the potential for disaster is theoretically possible with nuclear power, the reality is that a well-maintained modern Canadian power plant built in a stable climate is simply not a serious candidate for catastrophe.

The fact remains that there is no other reliable, cost-effective way to generate green electricity in this province. Our hydro sources are already dammed. Wind is too unreliable to keep the lights on. A hot humid day with no wind and plenty of air conditioners and we're stuck importing electricity from coal plants in the US. Solar is still too expensive for any sort of mass-generation facility. Using solar as a means of heating homes and businesses through incentives to install solar paneling is a good approach, and one that should be advanced. However, Ontario's energy needs will not wait for companies and homeowners to take advantage of a government program. We need power in the very near future. Conservation, while important, will not solve a problem in a province with a booming population and increasing air conditioner use. People have more air conditioners than they did twenty years ago and on the hottest days in southern Ontario it is in the interest of public health to use them. Thus, we are left with nuclear power. The carbon cost for a nuclear-generated kilowhat hour of electricity is miniscule to negligible. The small amount of fissile material necessary for power generation means that even in the extraction of uranium there is not much of a cost. Nuclear power should be on the lips of every environmentalist on earth. It is the only thing that could curb the production of coal plants in China and India which will doom the planet.

The Liberal Party is the only party with the determination to solve the climate crisis and the pragmatism to see the wisdom of using nuclear power.


Mushroom said...

Talked to an energy trader on the day of the massive blackout in TO around 2003. Ontario is not energy independent, far from it.

Are we still buying power generated from coal fired plants in the US, let alone Nanticoke? Remember that Harris split up the Ontario Hydro monopoly.

The difference is whether Ontario buys more or less power. Besides conservation, what we may require is a national energy power policy to ensure that Canada remains self sufficient in generating power.

Blue Northern Music said...

Copied and pasted for your reading pleasure by Terry Tufts

Did you know that to make a single uranium CANDU fuel bundle:

-It takes 10 square metres of mine site and causes approximately 500 litres of mine effluent.

-It creates 2 tonnes of radioactive tailing with a volume of approx. 1.3 cubic meters. (Mining machinery is run with CO2 producing diesel fuel)

-The new fuel bundle weighs approx. 20kg. produces about 1,000 MWh of electricity over its useful life of 12-18 months.

-It uses 180 million litres of cooling water.

-Emits 36,000,000,000 Bq (Becquerels=Rate of radioactive decay per second) Tritium oxide, 28,000,000,000 Bq.MeV noble gasses, 29,000 Bq particulates 2,400 Bq Iodine-131 into the air.

-Emits 80,000,000,000 Bq Tritium, 1,600,000 Bq gross beta into the water? (Reactor emissions are based on annual emissions, normalized per MWh.)

-Creates 7.6 kg of Low and Intermediate level waste.

-After its useful life still weighs approx. 19 kg and contains Plutomium as well as highly lethal fission products.

-One third of the power contained in the nuclear fuel is used in the plant to generate the electricity.

-One additional third is wasted in the form of excess heat contained in the cooling water and in the removed nuclear fuel.

-Only less than one third of the power is the nuclear fuel makes it it the end user because of losses in the high-voltage long distance transmission.

-Nuclear reactors cannot run when the hydro grid goes down?

-Reactors need large diesel generators as back-up power which have to be test-run every 60 days? (CO2-Greenhouse gas emissions)

-Reactors need large battery banks as secondary back-up power and if only one cell in a battery fails, the whole battery bank must be replaced.

-Reactors have to be taken off-line at least once every 2 years for a 3-month maintenance outage.

-Pickering A reactors are 35 years old, 2 of those were refurbished at the total cost of 2.25 billion dollars and need continuous maintenance.

-In case of a serious accident the 30-year-old Nuclear Liability Act compensates victims with a measly 75 million dollars on both sides of the border.

-No home insurance policy compensates for loss or damage caused by a nuclear incident or caused by contamination from radioactive material.

-The Committee on Biological Effects of Ionizing Radiation in their BEIR VII Report (June 2005) states that…"each unit of radiation-no matter how small-still is assumed to cause cancer."

And, of course, then there are approx 2,000,000 used fuel bundles (2005 estimate) that are highly radioactive and need to be isolated from humans and the environment indefinitely. A team of scientists retained by the Nuclear Waste Management Organizations (NWMO) has come to the conclusion that containment and isolation of used nuclear fuel can not be guaranteed for an indefinite period. (Page 345, NWMO final Study Report, November, 2005)


Complied by Ziggy Kleinau and taken from Citizens for Renewable Energy's fact sheet on nuclear power. All information taken from official sources and can be certified.
CFRE is a non-profit information sharing and advocacy organization, incorporated in 1996. The Coordinator, Ziggy Kleinau, has spent years informing the public of alternatives to fossil fuels and nuclear energy.

For more information go to their website, http://www.cfre.ca. Email cfre@web.ca.

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