October 2, 2000
To the Editor, The Globe and Mail
Your article "Plutonium cleanup put at $40 million" (Oct. 2) describes an
early Cold-War plutonium facility at AECL's Chalk River Laboratories that
hasn't been used for over forty years.
In that forty years Canada has distinguished itself as the only member of
the select group of countries associated with wartime nuclear-weapons
development, to completely dissociate itself from the technology.
In that same forty years Canada didn't abandon nuclear science, but
directed its hard-earned resources to the development of a world-class
nuclear power program that today competes alone with American-based
reactor technology around the world.
It was very disappointing, therefore, to see Gordon Edwards, of the
Canadian Coalition for Nuclear Responsibility, describing the historic
plutonium facility at Chalk River as a "liability" of the Canadian nuclear
It has nothing to do with the nuclear industry, except a common ancestry.
Mr. Edwards is exploiting the public's lack of knowledge of a highly
technical but emotional subject, to further his group's agenda. One can't
help but wonder if the overwhelming lack of public outcry over the recent
MOX shipment to AECL was motivation for stirring up the skeletons in our
Cold War closets.
There is nothing wrong with trying to go into extra innings, but why do
anti-MOX groups have to play dirty? Of particular concern is Gordon
Edwards, who, as Canada's foremost lay-expert on the politics of
plutonium, is certainly aware of the irrelevance of Cold War projects to
We need new nuclear "watch-dogs" in this country. More than ever, this is
a time for looking to the future with reason, not recrimination. The
public is clearly not being served well by the seventies-era No-Nukes