Skip to main content

Apathy in Canada, Catering to Nuclear

Mount_Edith_Cavell,_Jasper_National_Park,_Alberta,_Canada Alberta doesn’t care about nuclear energy; it doesn’t care at all. But if someone has a plant they might like to put up…

"We're not in the debate on one side or the other that the nuclear energy industry needs to be supported or needs to face a moratorium," said Mel Knight, minister of energy. "We are not proponents of nuclear energy, we're not working with any company to build a nuclear energy (facility), what we are saying is 'we need power' and proponents who want to build in the system in Alberta are welcome to do so. What we're doing here is saying we don't choose fuel source."

This elaborate indifference is somewhat poll-driven:

The key findings of the report, said Knight, was that 45 per cent of those polled preferred that proposed nuclear developments be considered on a case-by-case basis. Nineteen per cent said the province should encourage nuclear proposals and about 27 per cent said the province should oppose nuclear proposals.

That’s not exactly even steven – we expect even those who want the province to encourage a nuclear plant would want it to review the proposal – which, of course, it will do anyway. Even the poll seems to emanate a sort of “Fine. Fine. Do what you want” attitude. We can’t complain, of course, but it’s surely the oddest stance we’ve seen to date.

Bruce Power would likely be the entity to build such a plant, but it’s also been swept up in the non-committal wave.

“It's encouraging to see the door remains open for us to demonstrate we can bring value to the province and help Alberta meet its future energy needs without contributing to greenhouse gas emissions,” [Duncan Hawthorne, Bruce Power's president and chief executive officer] added in a statement.

We’d consider following this story if we could just care about it a little more.

----

Here’s a headline from the New York Times:

Senate Climate Road Map Caters to Nuclear, Offshore Drilling Proponents

Feeling the love yet? Us, either. The story, about the Lieberman-Kerry-Graham framework we wrote about earlier, is judicious enough, but we feel an icy editorial finger at the small of our back.

Mount Edith Cavell in Alberta Canada. We doubt views like this inspire apathy.

Comments

DV8 2XL said…
Give them a break in Alberta, given the overwhelming influence of the fossil-fuel industry in that Provence, the fact that anyone is making even slightly positive remarks about nuclear energy is astounding. Everybody is going to be tiptoeing around so as not to wake up the dogs, it's an indication of fear, not apathy.
T-Squared said…
Don't worry Mark, we will get it built here in Alberta. In fact, we have to. While the average Canadian emits 20 tons of greenhouse gases, the average Albertan actually emits about 65 tons of greenhouse gases. Just to avoid carbon tariffs on our oil, we are going to have to bring down our carbon footprint fast and big.

I don't think it was just a coincidence that the announcement was made as Canada was being pounded at the Copenhagen Climate Conference for our heavy oil production. Even Canadians from other provinces are openly distancing themselves from Alberta and the large carbon footprint of the Alberta tar sands. Incidentally, the oil industry prefers the term oil sands, rather than tar sands.

I am even willing to place a wager that we will have a new build here in Alberta, before you see one in the US. The one Bruce Power plans on building in Peace River, Alberta will be for 4000 MW. Not bad, given the largest US nuclear reactor is the Palo Verde plant at 1320 MW.
Anonymous said…
From the New York Times article:

and unlimited loan guarantees or other subsidies for new nuclear plants, "at the expense of cleaner and cheaper renewable technologies," he said.

If there were such a thing, everyone would be supporting it instead of nuclear. But unfortunately we live in Realityland where renewables are neither cheaper, nor cleaner, nor ready for prime-time.
Phil said…
T-Squared,

Good points. The Tar Sands are such an environmental catastrophe on so many levels that Alberta can be nothing but apathetic about energy production and pollution.

Popular posts from this blog

How Nanomaterials Can Make Nuclear Reactors Safer and More Efficient

The following is a guest post from Matt Wald, senior communications advisor at NEI. Follow Matt on Twitter at @MattLWald.

From the batteries in our cell phones to the clothes on our backs, "nanomaterials" that are designed molecule by molecule are working their way into our economy and our lives. Now there’s some promising work on new materials for nuclear reactors.

Reactors are a tough environment. The sub atomic particles that sustain the chain reaction, neutrons, are great for splitting additional uranium atoms, but not all of them hit a uranium atom; some of them end up in various metal components of the reactor. The metal is usually a crystalline structure, meaning it is as orderly as a ladder or a sheet of graph paper, but the neutrons rearrange the atoms, leaving some infinitesimal voids in the structure and some areas of extra density. The components literally grow, getting longer and thicker. The phenomenon is well understood and designers compensate for it with a …

Why America Needs the MOX Facility

If Isaiah had been a nuclear engineer, he’d have loved this project. And the Trump Administration should too, despite the proposal to eliminate it in the FY 2018 budget.

The project is a massive factory near Aiken, S.C., that will take plutonium from the government’s arsenal and turn it into fuel for civilian power reactors. The plutonium, made by the United States during the Cold War in a competition with the Soviet Union, is now surplus, and the United States and the Russian Federation jointly agreed to reduce their stocks, to reduce the chance of its use in weapons. Over two thousand construction workers, technicians and engineers are at work to enable the transformation.

Carrying Isaiah’s “swords into plowshares” vision into the nuclear field did not originate with plutonium. In 1993, the United States and Russia began a 20-year program to take weapons-grade uranium out of the Russian inventory, dilute it to levels appropriate for civilian power plants, and then use it to produce…

Nuclear Is a Long-Term Investment for Ohio that Will Pay Big

With 50 different state legislative calendars, more than half of them adjourn by June, and those still in session throughout the year usually take a recess in the summer. So springtime is prime time for state legislative activity. In the next few weeks, legislatures are hosting hearings and calling for votes on bills that have been battered back and forth in the capital halls.

On Tuesday, The Ohio Public Utilities Committee hosted its third round of hearings on the Zero Emissions Nuclear Resources Program, House Bill 178, and NEI’s Maria Korsnick testified before a jam-packed room of legislators.


Washingtonians parachuting into state debates can be a tricky platform, but in this case, Maria’s remarks provided national perspective that put the Ohio conundrum into context. At the heart of this debate is the impact nuclear plants have on local jobs and the local economy, and that nuclear assets should be viewed as “long-term investments” for the state. Of course, clean air and electrons …