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The Canadian Nuclear FAQ  

by Dr. Jeremy Whitlock


To the Toronto Star, regarding a number of letters to the edtior critical of a pro-nuclear Op-Ed from the Canadian Nuclear Association:

(Published in the 2010 Oct 6th edition)


Misunderstanding 'clean' power

2010 October 6

To The Editor,
The Toronto Star:

Re: "Taking aim at nuclear power", Letters, Oct. 2

Judging by the responses to the notion that nuclear power might be "clean," there is significant misunderstanding of this technology.

Nothing is 100 per cent clean, but some things are called clean if they achieve a result (e.g. electricity supply) at a small fraction of the conventional environmental impact.

Renewable energy, for example, is far from clean, but it's called clean because of the above distinction.

Nuclear power deserves the clean title because it has almost no emissions during operation. Even considering the entire life cycle, its CO2 output is on par with that of wind power.

The waste product of nuclear power is both low in volume and easily isolated. The volume of spent fuel from all of Canada's power reactors since 1962 is about half that of the municipal waste generated by Toronto in one day.

It's not zero impact, but it is low impact. And that's clean.

Jeremy Whitlock

Co-chair, Education & Communication Committee,
Canadian Nuclear Society
Deep River, Ont.

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