By Janet Fraser
I attended the presentation by Patrick Moore on Tuesday evening , which was sponsored by Bruce Power. The presentation was poorly attended by members of the community. I would guess there were no more than twenty people there. Some of the people there were assistants to Patrick Moore and probably worked for his company Greenspirit Strategies Ltd. I am sure they were disappointed in the turnout.
The presentation was done with a power point presentation and had much detailed information about global warming and the need to decrease CO2 emissions. He spoke about the roll of more fuel efficient cars, and alternatives to coal fired plants such as geothermal, wind and solar. However, he claimed that because of the expense and unreliability of wind and solar we cannot meet our energy needs without the aggressive expansion of nuclear energy. It was clear to me that Patrick Moore was speaking on behalf of the nuclear industry, just as any salesperson would .
He is not a particularly gifted speaker , in my opinion, but tries to come across as an expert. Much of the information he presented is not consistent with information I have read in many reports and articles which have come to my attention, including those done by the environmental groups (which I support and have a great deal of respect for). In fact Patrick Moore made a point of discrediting the entire environmental movement of today, particularly discrediting information of Dr. David Suzuki, Greenpeace, and also Robert Kennedy. As a long standing supporter of both Greenpeace, and David Suzuki Foundation I took offense at some of his comments. He said , I quote: "The Environmental movement is a major obstacle to the realistic achievement of CO2 emissions reductions around the world" .He claims that environmental activists are opposed to nuclear power and also opposed to hydro to generate electricity and he said he just cannot understand why.
Re safety of nuclear power: He claimed that only 60 deaths can be attributed to the Chernobyl disaster and none to Three Mile Island. He compared this to the number of people who die in automobile accidents per year...which he said is 45,000.
He said that there is a culture of safety in a nuclear plant, and it is safer than working in real estate.
He stated that it is wrong to condemn nuclear power because of our fear of nuclear weapons. He agreed that we need to place a higher priority on an international effort to prevent the proliferation of nuclear weapons. He compared it to fire... there are good uses for fire and dangerous uses for fire.
Re Environmental footprint: He claimed that nuclear industry does not emit CO2 and has a small environmental footprint. Regarding the waste he uses the argument that the waste is not really waste but is fuel that can be re-used.
Although I was not convinced by his arguments I think some of the people may have been impressed.
There were a few questions but not much time left at the end for discussion. One gentleman asked his opinion on the closure of Nanticoke, and this man spoke about the ability of the Nanticoke Power Plant to work together with renewables since the coal fired plant can fluctuate with the need for power. Patrick Moore seemed confused by this and admitted he knew little about the uniqueness of Nanticoke.
I later connected with this person who lives in Waterford and got his contact information since he works closely with OSEA...Ontario Sustainable Energy Association and he also gave me some publications by OSEA. There is a link to their website on ours. A few of us spoke afterwards about the need for another more balanced and well advertised Energy Symposium in Haldimand and Norfolk. We talked about having OSEA present sometime in the future...and even suggested bringing Dr. David Suzuki back to Haldimand. (I know he was here a few years back)....so stay tuned!
Karen Best from the Dunnville Chronicle was there taking notes so I expect she will have an article in the paper next week.