Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Pen Meets Paper June 16, 2009

Opinion By Helge Nome
I have a problem with the introduction of nuclear power to Alberta. The technology itself has been around for a long time, with mixed results in the countries in which it has been used. Some nations, like Japan, have not had a lot of choice when adopting an energy source for a modern energy intensive economy, because of the lack of fossil energy sources. I believe Germany has turned away from nuclear plants towards green technologies based on popular demand. Canada used to be on the cutting edge of nuclear technology in the past, but has since slipped back with the latest debacle being the failing reactor at Chalk River that can no longer supply isotopes for medical use. Old nuclear plants have been turned over to private interests who are trying to turn a profit from their new investments.
The group that is planning on building a plant some 25 km north of the Town of Peace River is called Bruce Power which is a partnership among Cameco Corporation, Transcanada Corporation and BPC Generation Infrastructure Trust, a trust established by the Ontario Municipal Employees Retirement System, the Power Workers' Union and The Society of Energy Professionals.
The main problem that I have with this idea is the ultimate cost to society when this proposed puppy gets to the end of its useful life. The cleanup costs of the contaminated site, based on experiences in England, would likely be many times the cost of building the plant. And who would be on the hook? Would the complex partnership of absentee landlords foot the bill? It would likely be non-existent at the end of the useful life of the plant leaving the taxpayer responsible for cleaning up the mess. That's the trouble with privatizing everything: You privatize the profits and socialize the costs. Another scoop for Big Energy.

No comments: