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The Canadian Nuclear FAQ  

by Dr. Jeremy Whitlock


To The Guelph Mercury regarding a 2006 March 18th article on future nuclear growth in Ontario, and the spent fuel issue:

(published 2006 March 24)

2006 March 24

To the Editor,
The Guelph Mercury:

In her March 18th editorial Andrea Davis demonstrates healthy scepticism of pro-nuclear television ads. Considerably less healthy is her blind faith in the declarations of a professional anti-nuclear group (Energy Probe). What’ s missing is a suggestion of what to use instead of nuclear power, and one wonders if Davis supports the same anti-nuclear group’s proposal for more fossil burning.

Viewed objectively, nuclear power is the cleanest and most efficient option for large-scale baseload power available to Ontarians. Every step of its fuel cycle is closely regulated, from mining to waste management, such that environmental impact is minimized. This includes the tail end of the fuel cycle: contrary to Davis’ allegations, the solution for long-term waste management exists and the rest is implementation, for which there is no rush.

One reason for the lack of panic is the low volume: The City of Toronto trucks out more garbage in a day than all of Canada’s reactors will produce in their lifetime.

Another reason is that it is not really waste: Future generations have the option to recycle our spent fuel and extract over a hundred times more energy from it.

This essentially limitless energy source did not come to us for free, but it should be comforting to Canadian taxpayers to know that the public investment is made back many times over in the contribution of nuclear power to the Canadian economy: by a factor of almost thirty over the last half-century, according to a 2003 study by the Canadian Energy Research Institute.


Jeremy Whitlock

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