Go to CNF homepage
The Canadian Nuclear FAQ  

by Dr. Jeremy Whitlock


Published in the December 2008 issue of the Canadian Nuclear Society Bulletin, Vol.29, No.4.

Wind is From Venus; Nuclear is From Mars

by Jeremy Whitlock

Hello Nuclear Power. Do come in. We haven't seen you around here for some time.

Yes. I've been busy.

Indeed. And busier times to come, no? We've certainly heard your name spoken in many quarters lately.

Well… You shouldn't believe all you hear. But yes, it does look like we'll be expanding soon.

About time I dare say? So the public is finally coming around?

Not really. I don't think they like me any more. But perhaps they hate me less.

And you can live with that?

I'm ecstatic.

So tell me: what brings you here today?

It's just that … well … I wish I could understand. I mean, I wish I knew what I could do to …


…to be like Wind Power. Nobody's afraid of Wind Power.

Don't be silly. Wind Power is a great guy, but he can never do what you do.

Really? Then why is Ontario talking about having more Wind Power and less of me?

Ontario's a fool. Ontario hasn't known what it's been doing for thirty years. It can't blow its nose without having a personal crisis.

Thirteen million people are all fools? They want more Wind Power.

No … they like the idea of Wind Power. Trust me, they don't want more wind power.

Come again?

They want clean power. They want reliable power. They want safe power. They want affordable power.

But doesn't this describe…

It describes you and your friends. Fossil, Nuclear, Hydro, Wind. All working together, happily and mutually supportive. But mostly you.

That's not what I'm hearing.

You're hearing crap. Look, people feel more control over Wind Power, okay? It seems simple to them. They understand it. It's a turbine on a stick for crying out loud. It can't be added in chunks greater than 50 MW or so. So Wind Power in any one location seems small.

Yeah, but 50 MW…

…is nothing. Yes I know. And more importantly Wind Power never lets on too widely how much energy it actually produces, or with what level of predictability.

I could be like that.

You don't have to. You produce about as much as any machine can. It's just that you're …


…you're a little … inaccessible. You're a whole bunch of science and megawatts, all packed into very big buildings with very, very big concrete walls.

Reassuring and strong…?

Hm, no I'm thinking scary and ugly.

You're right. I'm pathetic. Oh what's the use…

Please. There's lots of room for the strong, silent type. Look: you enable Wind Power. You empower it. You validate it. Without you there is no Wind Power. Wind Power needs a strong grid to absorb its … vicissitudes.

I'm the wind beneath its blades?

Wonderful. I'm crying. You've got me crying. You're the man.

I want to be the Everyman.

Not going to happen.

But I do worry about this Climate Change thing. I see lots of people, even anti-nukes, saying I can save the world.

Please, people know about as much about Climate Change as Ontario knows about energy planning. You want a real, tangible benefit? Let's talk about replacing Nanticoke with clean, baseload power. Let's talk about supplying reactive load in Southwestern Ontario.

You're saying I'm reactionary???

Reactive! Reactive power. You have the power dude.

Reactive power?

Yes. It's imaginary.

Come again?

Focus! We're losing focus here. And look, it's time for my next appointment. Very nice to see you again Nuclear Power. Don't stay away so long next time. Good-bye.

Discussion welcome.

©2011 Jeremy Whitlock

[Back to The Canadian Nuclear FAQ]