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Safe green energy needed

Dunnville Sachem: Janet Fraser Grand Erie Energy Quest - April 10, 2009

I attended an information session about the proposed nuclear plant on Tuesday, March 31. With all the elaborate displays and food and so much effort and money pouring into the community, it almost appears as though this is a done deal.
Haldimand County wants to be a provincial energy hub to retain jobs and property tax revenue. I would also like to see this county become an energy hub, but without nuclear power included.

If we want to put Haldimand County on the map; if we want to be viewed as a healthy place to live, grow, work, play, or visit; if we want other communities in Ontario, and Canada to look to us for inspiration, then let’s make Haldimand County a “green” energy hub. Nuclear power is not green, not clean and not affordable.

Grand Erie Energy Quest, a local citizens’ group, has been researching energy options for the past two years. We have gathered reports, articles, letters, and attended presentations and workshops run by various professionals and organizations with knowledge and expertise about energy options.

We have gathered information from the most respected environmental organizations and leaders in Canada and beyond. They represent some of the most intelligent, educated and committed and innovative thinkers today.

We have learned that nuclear power is not a solution to climate change. Greenhouse gases and other pollutants are produced at each stage of the nuclear energy cycle-mining, milling, refining, transport and eventually waste. There are safer, cleaner, more affordable options without the environmental and economic and health and safety risks.

Nuclear is the most expensive energy option.

Government subsidies cost taxpayers huge dollars-money which could be redirected to green renewable energy industries.

Renewable is doable. Ontario has adequate renewable energy potential from wind, solar, geothermal and biomass. These green industries will provide the jobs of the future. In Germany, they predict an increase on employment in the renewables industry from 250,000 in 2007 to 710,000 by 2030, matching the jobs in the auto industry.

We are gravely concerned about several things, including the release of carcinogens such as tritium into the Great Lakes, our most precious resource. We are concerned that studies have shown an increase in leukemia rates in children who live near nuclear plants.

We are also concerned about safety and security, and the risk of accident or sabotage. If you think an accident is impossible or even improbable, think again…it is being built by humans. Remember, the Titanic was “unsinkable”. Remember the Twin Towers? Remember Chernobyl?

It is unconscionable to leave a legacy of nuclear waste to future generations.

There is still no satisfactory solution for the long term storage of radioactive waste which could last 250,000 years. No matter what you may hear about ‘recycling’ of nuclear waste, it will still eventually be waste which must be guarded by swat teams for thousands of years. Will Bruce Power still be in business 2,000 years from now?

I attended a meeting in Nanticoke on Saturday with about 35 people who were also gravely concerned about the proposed nuclear plant, which will have a direct impact on their lives, their homes, their property values, their quality of life. Were our decision makers there to hear there concerns? Only MPP Toby Barrett was in attendance to hear what these citizens have to say. The town council members, who have endorsed this nuclear project without consulting with the residents first, were not in attendance.

We need sustainable solutions. For more information please visit our website at www.energyquest4nanticoke.ca .

The future is not ours to give away. It belongs to our children’s children. Let’s tell our decision makers that we want Haldimand and Norfolk to become a green energy hub, without nuclear for the health of our children and theirs, and for the health of the planet.

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