The following is a transcript from CBC News (no online reference available) that includes interviews with Murray Elston of the Canadian Nuclear Association (CNA) as well as Hugh Wilkins of the Sierra Legal Fund, one of the anti-nuclear groups taking issue with CNA's public service advertising campaign that we first mentioned yesterday.
The exchange is interesting, in that the reporter gives Wilkins a pretty hard time:
MATT GALLOWAY, ANNOUNCER: A major environmental group announced that it's taking on the Canadian nuclear industry today. Their complaint false advertising. The Sierra Legal Defence Fund wants the Federal Competition Bureau to start an inquiry into the Canadian Nuclear Association's ads. You might have seen the ads on TV. They claim that nuclear energy is clean, reliable and affordable. In a moment we'll from Murray Elston. He's the former Liberal cabinet minister. He now heads the Nuclear Association. First though Hugh Wilkins staff lawyer for Sierra Legal. He's with me in the studio to explain why exactly his group is taking this particular tactic. Hugh, hello.For more, see We Support Lee.
HUGH WILKINS, SIERRA LEGAL FUND: Hello, Matt.
GALLOWAY: Tell me about the basis of your complaint. What is the CNA doing wrong?
WILKINS: The complaint is being filed by a number of groups representing religious, environment, community and health interests. And the complaint is asking the Competition Bureau to investigate whether the advertisements, which the Canadian Nuclear Association has put forward, are false and misleading.
Last week the Pembina Institute, which is an independent think tank based in Alberta, released a landmark report on the Canadian Nuclear Generation of Canada and it found that its conclusions were somewhat different from the messages of the Canadian Nuclear Association is giving in their advertisements.
GALLOWAY: Okay well people who have seen the ads for clean, reliable and affordable. What are you taking issue with in there?
WILKINS: Well the applicants in this complaint are taking issue with - well firstly whether nuclear energy is clean. The Pembina Institute states that if you look at the full nuclear technology cycle some of the mining and milling of uranium to the conversion of uranium into nuclear fuel and all the transportation in between, there are significant hazardous and radioactive pollutants which are being emitted into water, into air and also there are significant greenhouse gas emissions.
GALLOWAY: So are you essentially saying - I mean a lot of people know about the downsides of nuclear energy. Are you essentially saying that the CNA is lying in these ads?
WILKINS: Well the conclusions that the Pembina Institute has come to are definitely different.
GALLOWAY: But what is the Sierra Legal Defence Fund saying in terms of these ads in particular? You're involved in this case. Are you saying that the CNA is lying?
WILKINS: Well we represent a number of applicants, as I said, from these different groups and what their interest is, is that the public has full inaccurate information regarding the different options which are available and the costs and the impacts and benefits of the different types of supplies of energy which aren't available.
GALLOWAY: I'm still trying just to get what specifically you think is going on here. Are you saying that they're presenting false information? Or are you saying that other people need to be able to have the same amount of time to advertise their source of electricity?
WILKINS: Well what we need to do is essentially clean the air and to see exactly what is going on, to clear the air to see what's going on. We need the Competition Bureau to see if there's been false or misleading information given, and as I say the Pembina Institute has very different conclusions from what the message is from the Canadian Nuclear Association.
GALLOWAY: Part of your complaint is saying that the coal-fired generating industry should get equal time or equal advertising opportunities.
WILKINS: Well no we haven't talked about coal. Some of the applicants are in the renewable energy business.
GALLOWAY: So coal shouldn't - is not part of that at all.
WILKINS: Well what we need are energy supplies which are sustainable and have a long-term vision which provide positive benefits to the environment, to the health and to the social well being of Canadians.
GALLOWAY: So what are you hoping then that this action will achieve?
WILKINS: Well the Competition Bureau has a broad range of investigatory powers. They will look into whether these statements are false and misleading and then if they find out that there has been reviewable conduct under the Competition Act there are sanctions which can be ordered. There can be a requirement that the offender does not make any more statements along these lines or they can also order monetary penalties of up to $200,000 for a company.
GALLOWAY: It's interesting because you talk about the report from the Pembina Institute in the environmental movement there are a lot of people who now support nuclear energy, in particular over coal. Do you think that you're out of step with other people within your movement?
WILKINS: Well the issue is not pro or anti-nuc. It's -
GALLOWAY: Well that's what it sounds like.
UPDATE: Wind Blog is kicking this around. Stop by and offer your comments. As always, please be respectful.
Technorati tags: Nuclear Energy, Nuclear Power, Electricity, Environment, Energy, Politics, Technology, Economics, Canada