Educate yourself about nuclear power

Simcoe Reformer: Bob Blakeley - November 7, 2008

Bruce Power announced last week it is interested in building a nuclear power plant in the area of the current hydro generating station at Nanticoke.

They have to go through an approval process that could take up to five and a half years.

I find it interesting that the provincial government has come out and said the project doesn't have its support. For some time now Ontario has said nuclear is the power source of the future as it phases out coal-fired generating stations. Nanticoke is slated to be closed in 2014.

The company making the proposal has already started media ads in this area. Naturally the ads sound glowing.

In what might be a related item, the province has delayed the approval process for two new nuclear reactors at the Darlington power station. Apparently the province can't get any company making bids to agree to pay for delays or cost over runs that they have control over. This has been a perennial problem in the construction of nuclear power plants -- they wind up costing far more than estimated when ground is broken for the project.

We still have not solved the problems of how to safely dispose of the radioactive waste left over from nuclear generated power.

I hope the public gets involved in the variety of meetings that will have to be held for the proposed Nanticoke area plant. One of the most important things is to gather as much information as possible so you can make an informed discussion either way.

Meanwhile, scientists have released a new study which they say for the first time links human activity to warming in both the Arctic and Antarctic. A team of researchers used four models to simulate the rising temperatures in the remote polar regions.

Nathan Gillett, who works for Environment Canada in Victoria and one of the report authors, said their models showed they could only explain the warming by including greenhouse gases. He said the models show conclusively that the gases produced by humans, like the burning of fossil fuels, have caused temperature rises in both areas.

While other studies have strongly suggested greenhouse gases are at least partially responsible for the warming, this one proves the theory using the modelling technique for the first time. The finding is raising concerns that sea level rise could be greatly underestimated and as that temperatures increase, polar ice caps will melt more rapidly in both the Arctic and Antarctic.

What many people don't realize is that changes in these two areas will have a huge impact on the rest of the world, not the least of which is the flooding of coastal areas. Arctic residents are already seeing some dramatic changes to their environment and if the warming continues the problems will only get worse.

Dramatic changes are needed to control the release of greenhouse gases.

Article ID# 1285841

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