03.15.2011 06:04 AM

In today’s Sun: Going nuclear

“But what of the NDP, now readying itself for an election campaign? Do they go along with the reckless speculation of Greenpeace and their ilk? In the past, the New Democrats have said they do not support nuclear energy, full stop. The NDP, Greenpeace happily notes, believe “nuclear energy is dangerous and prohibitively expensive.”

NDP Leader Jack Layton has spoken about the issue in the House of Commons in the past, obliquely stating our reliance on nuclear energy is “a mistake,” and we need to halt the proliferation of nuclear energy. Since disaster struck in Japan, however, Layton has keep mostly silent. He hasn’t attempted to take partisan advantage of the Japanese disaster, so far, which is to his credit.”

17 Comments

  1. Bill King says:

    Interesting you should mention this. Jack may be preoccupied with other matters – like how to extend his political career past the next election. But Provincial dipper Cheri DiNovo, MPP (Parkdale–High Park was shamelessly exploiting the tragedy in Japan for own crass political purposes on Twitter witthin hours, and well before any of the facts about the nuclear situation were known.

    • Bill Stewart says:

      Bill King, I saw that tweet as well. Shamelessly exploiting the tragedy for political purposes????

      She offered up a prayer for the people of Japan and then stated her renewed concerns around the safety of nuclear energy. Numerous jurisdictions have placed a moratorium of nuclear energy. This tragedy should cause us to pause and reflect on whether investing heavily in nuclear energy is the best way to proceed.

  2. scanner says:

    “Some of those carrying the Dipper banner can be expected to fear-monger, as Greenpeace is now doing. ”
    Fear monger? Dude – they don’t have to Fear Monger, what’s going on is terrifying. Ask a nuclear engineer.
    I would like to point out that CANDU, which M. Harper wishes to dispose of, shuts down when it looses its heavy water as that water also serves as the moderator for the neutron cycle. CANDU can suffer other failures such s fuel rod deformation, but a meltdown is not part of the possibilities. it also runs on natural rather than enriched uranium and cannot be easily used to produce plutonium. It can be used to dispose of plutonium.

  3. Cath says:

    good post Gord. Duncan Hawthorne (Bruce Nuclear) was on TVO’s Agenda last night and waded through the media BS and did a great job of educating folks on what the truth was and how much spin and fear have been ramped up by media.

  4. scanner says:

    It appears as though the events at Fukushima are at least INES level 6 and may be approaching Level 7. no fear mongering necessary here. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_Nuclear_Event_Scale
    I agree with Gord that the risks of dams can be high. it’s the long term damage that a release of nuclear material can have on the locality and as everyone could see from the video of the tsunami’s advance, the area is largely farmland – japans largest area of arable land. bad enough that it is now salt contaminated.

  5. Bill Smith says:

    Greenpeace doesn’t need proof that Canadian reactors have faults because ALL systems have faults. Unfortunately faults are usually discovered only after an accident such as just occurred in Japan. The problem with nuclear energy is that when problems reveal themselves, the results are catastrophic and last for tens of thousands of years. We can act to lower the odds of a nuclear accident, but we cannot eliminate them. This fact combined with the enormous scale of the problems that nuclear accidents cause makes the expected outcome predictable: It will happen here some day.

  6. allegra fortissima says:

    ” …Layton has keep (sic) mostly silent. He hasn’t attempted to take partisan advantage of the Japanese disaster, so far, which is to his credit.”

    keeping mostly silent is a “credit”? I don’t think so! Show me one scientist who will guarantee that nuclear power plants are 100% safe. Just one!
    I saw the photograph of a Japanese mother and her daughter in the Globe and Mail this morning. The daughter in isolation, behind a glass window. because she was exposed to radiation. A victim as so many others, and we owe her and them to speak out and re-evaluate the risks of nuclear power plants. Have we forgotten the radioactive cloud which drifted not only over Russia, Belarus and Ukraine, but also over the European part of Turkey, Greece, Moldova, Romania, Bulgaria, Lithuania, Finland, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Austria, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, Slovenia, Croatia, Poland, Estonia, Switzerland, Germany, Italy, France, Britain and Canada? Have we forgotten the firefighters who sacrificed their lives? Have we forgotten the atrocious illnesses and agonizing deaths of thousands of people?

    The area is still contaminated up to today. Shall we “keep mostly silent”?

  7. Iris Mclean says:

    Another worry regarding nuclear safety in Canada is the fact that the PM can fire the head of the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (Linda Keen) because he doesn’t agree with her concerns.

    • Namesake says:

      And as the CBC was good enough to point out by bringing her back to the news yesterday, it’s a timely reminder of WHY she was fired:

      because she was insisting that the Ontario nuclear isotopes plant be closed down because it’s backup power system wasn’t operational, as it was mandated to be, to ensure the cooling system would still be operative in the event of catastrophic power failure.

      But the gov’t overrode her decision and canned her when she wouldn’t pretend it was all good.

      And what’s happening in Japan? The nuclear power plant explosions and risk of total meltdown are because the backup pumping system isn’t operational and they can’t bring in outside water fast enough to cool the core.

  8. TDotRome says:

    I worry about the nuclear fear that is growing, too. Whether genuine or incited. IMO, nuclear is the cleanest, most efficient power source we currently have. The French use it more than any other nation and they have the cleanest air in Europe.

    I hear chatter that the Japanese should be banned from nuclear because they are on the Ring of Fire. HUH? A third of their power comes from nukes. Do people think this nation of little natural resources and land space should actually have 100% imported energy? They need nuclear. As tragic and scary the situation in Japan is, it’s a result of a once in a century catastrophe. Allowing our fears to take over is foolhardy. And, the fear-mongering is worse.

    Nuclear is a great technology. I wish they’d build more of it in Canada.

    (If you want to learn more about the future of nuclear, check this vid……..http://www.ted.com/talks/bill_gates.html)

    • allegra fortissima says:

      “great technology”? Read this:

      http://www.wise-paris.org/english/reports/STOAFinalStudyEN.pdf

      • TDotRome says:

        First off, if you really want me to read something make it less that 170 pages!

        Second, that report concerns reprocessing plants NOT power plants. Reprocessing plants were designed to recover waste so they can make nuclear weapons. The waste created in Canada is used to make medical isotopes, which has been safely done for decades.

        Third, this report talks about POSSIBLE toxic effects, as opposed to coal which creates waste with KNOWN toxic effects.

        Nuclear is currently our best option for power, by far. Fear is the only thing that holds it back.

        • allegra fortissima says:

          Nuclear power plants create highly toxic waste, which has to go somewhere eventually, if it is NOT used to make medical isotopes. “Somewhere” can be Sweden for nuclear waste from Ontario, or possibly Northern Communities in Saskatchewan for nuclear waste from Ontario, where it will be “hosted”. Or nuclear waste from Japan to be reprocessed in La Hague. Sure, the report concerns reprocessing plants, but reprocessing plants and nuclear power plants go “hand in hand”, don’t they? “POSSIBLE toxic effects”… I assume leukemia is one of them!

          Enjoy the remaining 160 pages.

          • JenS says:

            Making assumptions about matters as complicated at this is foolhardy and irresponsible.

            I won’t pretend the events in Japan don’t scare me, but I tend to think it’s reasonable to get factual information and judge matters on what really happens than to jump to conclusions or assumptions at the height of a crisis.

  9. DL says:

    So far, the only Canadian politician who is trying to exploit the tragedy in Japan for political purposes is Stephen Harper in today’s Globe http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/ottawa-notebook/harper-links-japanese-quake-opposition-threat-of-snap-election/article1943122/.

    Harper seems to think that we cannot afford little frills like democratic elections when natural disasters occur on the other side of the world!

    I wonder why he called an unnecessary and unscheduled election in September 2008 – just as the world economy was careening towards total collapse?

  10. allegra fortissima says:

    I am not a doctor or a scientist, I rely on information from experts like Professor Eric Wright for example:

    “A 1997 Ministry of Health report stated that children living close to Sellafield had twice as much plutonium in their teeth as children living more than 100 miles (160 km) away. Health Minister Melanie Johnson said the quantities were minute and ‘presented no risk to public health’. The University of Dundee’s Professor Eric Wright, a leading expert on blood disorders, challenged this claim, saying that even microscopic amounts of the man made element might cause cancer.”

    Detailed studies carried out by the Committee on Medical Aspects of Radiation in the Environment (CONMARE) in 2003 found no evidence in raised childhood cancer around nuclear power plants, but did find an excess of leukemia and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (NHL) near other nuclear installations including Sellafield, AWE Burghfield and UKAEA Dounreay. CONMARE’s opinion is that ‘the excesses around Sellafield and Dounreay are unlikely to be due by chance, although there is not at present a convincing explanation for them’.” (Wikipedia)

    Since I lived in Europe in 1986 I know how terrifying the consequences of a major nuclear accidents are, even when you live over 1000 km away. Health authorities advice you not to grow any vegetables, not to eat fruit from your garden, not to buy groceries from Poland.. those were just a few minor things among others, nevertheless scary. I got “factual information” back then, however, I am not an expert as I mentioned before, but I can still express an opinion based on what an expert like Professor Wright says.

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