Issues raised once again about cost of nuclear plants

Simcoe Reformer: Bob Blakeley - June 18, 2009

It sometimes amazes me what some studies reveal.

A new one shows that producing the food that we eat creates greenhouse gas emissions. That really should come as no surprise when you think about it.

The report, produced by Statistics Canada, uses 2003 figures and while that may seem a bit dated the information still stands up today.

The report states the total energy required to put food on the table in Canada produced nearly 46,000 kilotonnes of greenhouse gases. That represents 6.4% of total emissions in this country

Interestingly, fresh and frozen meat produced almost one quarter of food-related greenhouse gas emissions while fish products only contributed 2%. The report said more energy is used in the production of prepared food than other food groups studied.

We all have to eat to survive, that is a given, but things can be done to reduce emissions in the production of that food. It should all be part of this country's environmental plan.

Meanwhile, if you have an old toilet and want to replace it with one that uses less water, Norfolk may give you $100 towards the purchase. New toilets use considerably less water than older models and could reduce the demand for fresh water considerably.

Another report shows nuclear reactors to provide hydroelectric power may cost far more than originally thought. Even before the bids have been accepted for two new units at the Darlington power station, one of the bidders, the Atomic Energy Canada Ltd., has expressed concerns that there could be large cost overruns.

The last nuclear plant constructed in Ontario was at Darlington and it went over budget by about $15 billion. We are still paying for that.

Bruce Power wants to install nuclear reactors close to Nanticoke. I find all kinds of problems with that as I have written before but if this project is allowed to go ahead there have to be some promises that taxpayers won't be left with the cost of any overruns.

Ontario still seems committed to nuclear power generation as a way of cutting back on greenhouse gas emissions from coal-fired stations. The technology to clean up coal-fired plants is available and the province might be better off investing in this technology than going the nuclear route.

It will be interesting to see if the province pays any attention at all to the local petition opposing Bruce Power plans in the area. There are still too many unanswered questions concerned with nuclear power generation, the main one being the safe disposal of the spent nuclear waste generated by the process.

There is no question the building of a nuclear facility would be good for the local economy, but it is the long term affect on the environment that has to be taken into consideration.

Saying the problem will be solved somewhere down the line is simply not good enough.

Bob Blakeley can be reached at

Article ID# 1618571

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