1999 March 10
To the Editor, The Toronto Star:
If it is true that the amount of spent nuclear fuel in Canada would fill
three hockey rinks to the top of the boards ("Ottawa lacks clout on
nuclear cleanup", March 9), then hooray for nuclear energy. That amount
of waste is a drop in the bucket for thirty years' worth of electricity
generation. The alternative, coal, would have created a billion tonnes
of CO2 gas, a hundred million tonnes of particulates, and fifty million
tonnes of acid gas.
Far from being stored in monitored facilities, as with nuclear waste, this
waste would have been spewed into the biosphere, and filtered through the
lungs of every living creature. If created by natural gas turbines,
espoused by environmental groups, the gas emissions drop by half, but the
argument remains the same.
In comparison, the creation of a few hockey rinks' worth of nuclear waste
over three decades has saved the lives of thousands of Canadians who
would have succumbed to lung disease due to coal pollution. The industry
itself has led to the development of medical isotopes and cancer therapy
machines that have saved millions more lives worldwide. Canada has been a
leader in the development of nuclear energy, nuclear medicine, and now
nuclear waste disposal.