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The Canadian Nuclear FAQ  

by Dr. Jeremy Whitlock


To CBC Audience Relations and CBC's The Nature of Things:

April 14, 1998

Near the end of the March 26 episode of "The Nature of Things" on nuclear power, David Suzuki wonders aloud why representatives of the nuclear industry declined his invitation to be interviewed. It is easy to postulate reasons. Mr. Suzuki is a vocal anti-nuclear spokesman, has been on the board of one of this country's most significant anti-nuclear groups (Energy Probe), and has slammed nuclear power before in the name of "science" and "nature" on his show. It would not have taken a genius to foresee the kind of circus he was putting together for the March 26 episode. Who wouldn't have turned down a chance to be roasted alive in national prime time?

The show itself justifies the decision of the nuclear industry. In between clips from The Simpsons, the cold war, and the inevitable atomic bomb documentaries, Suzuki presents a litany of all the "bad" things that have happened to nuclear power over the years, and rarely attempts to balance this with the "good" things. Is this science? Is this information? Is this a valid use of public funding?

Information on the positive side of the nuclear industry is both abundant and freely available, and need not come in sound bites from pro-nuclear spokesmen. Suzuki's resorting to audio-visual trickery is the clearest indication of a lack of solid material. He is not a poor science journalist, so presumably this is a case of bias clouding better judgement.

I hope public Canadian television refrains from "subsidizing" the anti-nuclear movement in this manner in the future.

Jeremy Whitlock