Competing citations over the viability of green energy and the nuclear option provide reading
To the Expositor:
Oh my, more hot air from our neighbourhood reactionary, Shane Desjardins, in his letter, ‘Another round in the renewables debate’ (June 19). Still drinking the fossil-fuel Kool-aid. This time, it’s about the “unfeasibility” of current renewable energy options. Most western governments, still oblivious to the climate change writing on the wall, continue every year to spend billions of taxpayer dollars propping up the destructive and lucrative fossil-fuel industry, including the dangerous and expensive nuclear power industry. Multi-billion dollar startup and hidden maintenance costs of nuclear power generation continue to soar. “The industry has responded to escalating costs with escalating demands for government support. Even 10 years ago in the United States, a Union of Concerned Scientists report estimated that taxpayers could be on the hook for anywhere up to $1.6 trillion, if then-current proposals for nuclear expansion were realized.” (‘Nuclear Power Cost: Nuclear power is an increasingly expensive source of energy’) If a fraction of those tax breaks and corporate welfare was directed to pursuing existing alternative energy solutions, let alone research and development of new ones, we wouldn’t be having this conversation.
Regarding Mr. Desjardins’ heroic defence of the nuclear power generation industry, he seems content to limit his research to suspect sources who confirm his delusions. He might have missed the flood of pushback on this industry due to various “nuclear disasters” around the world. (‘A Brief History of Nuclear Accidents Worldwide’) The most recent of these “accidents” took place at Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant on March 11, 2011. The mainstream media still lies to us, or just ignores the ongoing dangers, horrendous expense and cluelessness regarding removal of volatile plutonium fuel rods, (1,573 still to be removed), long term storage of massive quantities of “nuclear waste” and continued spread of radioactive material throughout the Pacific Ocean. A few years after that horrendous event, the UCS submitted a critique, ‘Nuclear Power is not the Answer to Climate Change Mitigation’ (2014), inspired by Japan’s leading scientists and administrators still struggling with the Fukushima fallout. They eloquently argue there are safer, cheaper and more efficient alternatives without playing Russian Roulette. “It’s certainly easier to stick to the path currently presented to us by government and powerful industries, with assurances they will make the nuclear plants safer in the future. This path does not require anything of us, but the acceptance of the status quo. It is much harder to push for the complete transformation of our energy industry, in order to respond to the climate and energy security challenges.” (‘Is Nuclear Power the Answer to Climate Change?’ by Brendan F.D. Barrett)
Derek Stephen McPhail