November 21, 2000
To the Editor, The Globe and Mail
In his article "Nobody told us Anything" (Saturday, November 18), Geoffrey
York rightly condemns the environmental tragedy that is Russia's Tomsk-7
nuclear military complex. The article also reports the "Environmentalist"
viewpoint, which is to tout Tomsk-7 as "a classic example of what can go
wrong with nuclear power".
Nothing could be further from the truth: Tomsk-7 is not just a military
production complex, but the world's largest such facility during the Cold
War. It has nothing to do with civilian nuclear power technology,
currently being promoted in the fight against Global Warming. It has
everything to do with a criminally neglectful
military-industrial-political infrastructure that has wreaked havoc in
Russia for decades.
As Donald Johnston, secretary-general of the OECD, points out in your
Op-Ed piece, "Colour
Nuclear Power Green" (Thursday, November 16), strategies for
mitigating climate change must include sustainable, reliable technology
for supplying the developing nations with massive amounts of baseload
electrical power. Eighty per cent of the world's population lives in
these developing countries, and over two billion people lack access to
reliable energy supplies.
This is where the solution to climate change stands or falls -- not with
expensive, high-tech solar panels running VCRs in Western suburbia.
It is unfortunate that self-proclaimed Environmentalists would co-opt a
tragedy like Tomsk-7 for their own short-sighted agenda against nuclear
power. To those who have studied the matter objectively, opposition to
nuclear power's inclusion in Climate Change mitigation policy is like
fighting to exclude penicillin from the fight against bacterial infection.
Jeremy Whitlock, Ph.D.
DOWNLOAD Donald Johnston's complete address (145 kB in PDF
format) to the American Nuclear Society, 2000 November 13, "Does the
Future Have a Constituency?"