To The Globe and Mail:

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?"