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The Canadian Nuclear FAQ  

by Dr. Jeremy Whitlock


To the New Brunswick Telegraph-Journal regarding a guest column by Energy Probe on the refurbishment of Pt. Lepreau:

(published 2004 April 28)

2004 April 28

To the Editor,

Re: “Lepreau refurbishment review falls short”, 2004 April 23.

Your guest columnist from the Toronto anti-nuclear activist group "Energy Probe" fails to build a rational case against the refurbishment of Pt. Lepreau, and instead relies upon intimation and scare tactics.

The essential fact is that Pt. Lepreau has provided low-cost, reliable electricity to the people of New Brunswick for over twenty years, without contributing to air pollution. Refurbishment buys another two or three decades of this kind of service, and keeps New Brunswick at the forefront of environmentally responsible electricity generation in Canada. Across the country there is increasing recognition of nuclear power's role in economically and environmentally sustainable energy supply planning.

Rather than focussing solely on the price tag of returning Pt. Lepreau to excellence, why not compare this investment to the savings and stability in operational costs down the road, or the tonnes of air pollution and greenhouse gases to be avoided (about 5000 tonnes per day), which replacement natural gas would otherwise emit?

Why discount the fact that Canadian industry has demonstrated repeatedly its ability to build state-of-the art CANDU reactors on time and budget on the other side of the planet? With comparable management practices and political support there is no reason that this performance cannot be repeated in North America.

Energy expert Robin Jeffrey has handed the New Brunswick government a strategy of due diligence that he feels must precede any decision to refurbish. Thus, this is a time for rational deliberation, accounting not just for financial risk and total lifetime cost, but also environmental burden, future energy security, and impact on the provincial economy.

This is not a time for capitulation to pre-conception and ideology.


Jeremy Whitlock

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