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Nuclear power condemned

Two candidates for NDP leadership want motion defeated

Saskatoon Star Phoenix: Luke Simcoe - April 1, 2009

Two provincial NDP leadership candidates are calling on their compatriots in the legislature to oppose a motion by the Saskatchewan Party supporting the development of nuclear power in the province.

Ryan Meili and Yens Pedersen released statements Tuesday condemning the possibility of a nuclear reactor on Saskatchewan soil.

The motion, proposed by Meadow Lake MLA Jeremy Harrison, will be debated in the legislature on Thursday.

Pedersen urged his party's 20 MLAs to vote against the motion, saying to do otherwise could alienate NDP voters.

"This is not some innocuous statement about considering options," he said. "It is a slanted and one-sided motion and supporting it could cause thousands of Saskatchewan people to consider supporting the Green party."

Both candidates expressed similar concerns about nuclear power, including the hazards of nuclear waste, the threat to the province's water supply and cost overruns associated with building and decommissioning reactors that increase the price of electricity for taxpayers.

They also accused the Sask. Party of trying to make nuclear power a foregone conclusion in Saskatchewan.

"The Wall government's uranium resolution falsely frames the debate on nuclear energy and uranium development," Meili said. "Nuclear power is being sold to us as a means to provide cheap energy, as a means of addressing immediate energy needs, even as a means of protecting our environment.

"But none of these sales pitches are based on the facts."

Although they're running against one another in the leadership race, Meili and Pedersen presented a united front in favour of alternative energy sources such as wind, solar and geothermal power.

"Whether it's Bruce Power or SaskPower, no one will build a nuclear reactor in Saskatchewan for less than 20 cents per kilowatt hour -- double the current price of electricity," Meili said. "When compared to wind power at 11 cents per kilowatt hour and electricity conservation at less than six cents per kilowatt hour, nuclear power's economics make no sense."

"You have to look at the track record of the industry, you have to look at the economic costs, the environmental and societal risks, and you have to weigh other options," said Pedersen. "When you do that, you see that renewable energy provides better economic development, more stable and long-lasting employment and cleaner, safer, simpler energy."

Nuclear power has been a divisive issue during the NDP's leadership race. Many candidates, including Meili and Pedersen, have voiced their opposition to nuclear development, while the acknowledged front-runner, Dwain Lingenfelter, previously supported a nuclear plant in northern Saskatchewan.

lsimcoe@sp.canwest.com

http://www.thestarphoenix.com/entertainment/Nuclear+power+condemned/1450524/story.html

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Mike Buckthought
National Climate Change Campaigner
Sierra Club Canada
+1.613.241.4611 x235
mikeb@sierraclub.ca
www.sierraclub.ca

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