Sunday, June 17, 2007

Promotion of nuclear energy in Canada

The federal government has given approval in principle for the underground disposal of nuclear waste. The 36,000 metric tons of waste produced so far is stored above ground at nuclear power stations ... "This is a safe, long-term approach," said [Natural Resources Minister Gary] Lunn, telling reporters that the waste would be monitored continually. Trucks and trains ... will be rolling across Ontario [New Brunswick and Quebec] within 30 years, the federal government confirmed in giving the go-ahead yesterday to a multi-billion-dollar industry scheme for long-term waste storage.

Why the announcement now if it's going to take decades before this can be carried out?

The Edmonton Journal (June 15, 2007) got it exactly right with the subtitle the editor chose:

Decision opens door to expansion of atomic energy industry.

“In its desperate bid to avoid effective action on climate change, the federal government is trying to sell Canadians on big spending on nuclear power” said Emilie Moorhouse, atmosphere and energy campaigner for the Sierra Club of Canada. “Nuclear power is inherently risky, expensive, and inefficient power source, and will not solve the climate crisis.”

To be safe it would have to be guaranteed for tens of thousands of years that no leakage of the containers and no underground water flows take place at the storage site. That's impossible.

Furthermore, neither transport by rail or road has a perfect safety record.