Letter to the Editor Cindy Pine, Cayuga - April 2007

We went to a presentation on nuclear power by Duncan Hawthorne, CEO of Bruce Power, at the Greens at Renton, a few weeks ago. A week later, we went to a nuclear forum in Port Dover, where he also made a presentation. I see that the Dunnville Chamber of Commerce is now hosting an evening with Mr. Hawthorne, followed by later presentations in successive weeks by other organizations. He has been down for several meetings with Haldimand County Council, and will shortly be taking them for a tour of the Bruce Power nuclear facility on Lake Huron.

If you go to one of these presentations by Mr. Hawthorne, you may find him to be a gifted speaker. He may say things like "Facts are my friend", "Radiation is natural", or "Every other house in Ontario is powered by nuclear energy, so if you don't like it, you do the math". Let's be clear, though - he isn't here from the Provincial government to give us educational sessions - he is a businessman, selling nuclear power. And from what I have seen, he is an excellent salesman, great at emphasizing the benefits, and downplaying the drawbacks, of his product. If, as Council insists, it is too early to worry about considering the potential impacts of a nuclear facility in Haldimand County, then why is Mr. Hawthorne spending his very valuable time in our small rural towns, giving these presentations about the advantages of a nuclear facility at Nanticoke? I don't know, but Mr. Hawthorne has been in the nuclear business for decades, and I'm betting that he isn't wasting his time. I think we had better learn as much as possible about all aspects of nuclear power before things progress any further.

So where does this leave ordinary citizens? Well, various government, nuclear industry, and non-profit organizations have good information you can download from the Internet. We all have access to libraries, so why not visit one and do some objective reading there if you don't have Internet access at home. It would be nice if we had some government staff to give our communities and councillors objective nuclear presentations, but that is not happening right now. Is it because it is too early? I don't think so. Have you answered a telephone poll with a question about nuclear power recently? I recall Mr. Hawthorne saying at a recent presentation that "polling is our friend". You don't need to know much about the "complicated science of nuclear energy" to make an informed decision. But you do need to be aware of all of the impacts of nuclear energy production, and we are not getting that from anyone who is trying to sell us on nuclear power, including the industry-run Canadian Nuclear Association.

Talk to our local councillors, and ask them the difficult questions: Why is Council considering supporting building a nuclear plant in an agricultural region? What happens to our soil, air and water if there is a nuclear accident? What will be done with the radioactive waste after the (typical) 20-25 year lifespan of the plant? How can it be safely stored and isolated from the environment for one million years? One million years is not "alarmist rhetoric" - this is directly from the government sponsored waste management report (Nuclear Waste Management Organization). Does it make sense to you that a nuclear reactor would be built in the bread basket of Southern Ontario? With growing concerns about fresh water supplies, does it make sense that a nuclear reactor would be built on Lake Erie, using massive amounts of fresh water to produce energy? Have long-term studies been done to determine if radioactive tritium emitted into the water from nuclear power generation has chronic health effects on humans and other life? I encourage you to write Toby Barrett, M.P.P. and Diane Finley, M.P. too, because it is important that they know what your opinion is. Please be cautious, if you hear or read only the nuclear sales pitch - and make an informed decision for yourself. It will probably be the most important environmental decision you ever make for Haldimand County.

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