Nuclear protest convoy dumps on Alberta reactor

CBC News: Dec 5, 2007

A group of protesters drove almost 500 kilometres from northern Alberta to deposit fake leaky barrels of radioactive waste on the steps of the legislature in a demonstration Monday against a proposal for the province's first nuclear power plant.

However, the eye-catching convoy ran into a roadblock at the legislature's security gates when guards refused to let the fake barrels through. Despite the setback and the morning chill, about 150 people stayed for a rally, with many holding large protest signs.

The demonstrators, arriving in Edmonton from northern communities including Peace River, Valleyview and Slave Lake, oppose plans for a nuclear reactor to be built on private land near Lac Cardinal, about 30 kilometres from Peace River.

Calgary-based Energy Alberta Corp. embarked on the long licensing process in August. Pending approvals, the $6-billion project is slated to produce 2,200 megawatts of electricity when it opens in 2017.

Organizers of Monday's rally said they want to raise awareness about the dirty and dangerous impact of nuclear energy and to ask Premier Ed Stelmach to keep Alberta nuclear-free.

The group will present an anti-nuclear petition signed by 1,300 people in northern Alberta to the energy and environment ministers as well as the MLA for the Peace River region.

"We have over 1,300 signatures, which is quite significant considering this is a sparsely populated, rural area and a lot of the signatures are concentrated in the 20 or 30 kilometres right around the proposed site," said Brenda Brochu of the Peace River Environmental Society.

"So we hope this will cause the politicians to sit up and take notice and to start consulting with Albertans on energy policy instead of just rubber-stamping every economic development project that comes along."

Brochu says the proposed site is on a fault line that has a history of earthquakes, and she hopes the provincial government rejects the request to build the plant.

Trudi Keillor, who lives in Grimshaw, the town closest to the proposed reactor, is uneasy with an option for the plant to use reprocessed fuel from other countries.

"So do we really want that? We become the nuclear dumping ground for other countries," Keillor told CBC News.

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