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It's time to consider alternatives to nuclear power

Pembroke Daily Observer: Robbie Anderman - November 10, 2007

As our hard-working MPP, John Yakabuski, has pointed out, many key issues were
not discussed during the past provincial election. One important issue affecting
us all is that "Energy demand will soon exceed supply." It's a great opportunity
for creative and innovative leadership.

Sadly, Premier Dalton McGuinty has promoted nuclear as a "Green Solution" for
energy needs, rather than looking at the whole costs of nuclear, or the many
energy alternatives.

Nuclear promotes more consumption, and promotes the garbage mentality of "enjoy
the energy today and leave the mess for the children, the grandchildren and the
generations-to-come to deal with and to clean up."

To me that is not moral, nor ethical. Profitable for mining and energy companies
perhaps, just not cost effective for the public as a whole.

Ontario's history shows that Ontario's five existing nuclear reactors cost more
than twice their original estimates, performed at about half of what was
expected, had many unforeseen shutdowns causing further reliance on coal
generators, and led to the $19.4 billion debt of Ontario Hydro which consumers
pay off on every energy bill. A study at M.I.T. concluded that nuclear "is just
too expensive," while The Economist found it is "too costly to matter" as a
potential energy supply option.

Nuclear advocates say nuclear is "green" since fission in the reactor releases
no direct CO2 emissions. Yet looking at the whole life cycle of a reactor,
including reactor construction and uranium mining, shows that Canada's nuclear
system releases about half a million tones of CO2 per year. So much energy is
used during supporting processes that a reactor built today is likely to consume
more energy, mostly carbon-based, during its lifetime than it produces. Plus
reactors are incredibly huge users of fresh water.

Nuclear reactors also release radionuclides, sulphur dioxide, nitrogen oxides,
and hydrazine into the air. Canada now has 1.7 million used fuel bundles in
"temporary storage," with no long-term management plan in place yet, 50 years
later.

Uranium mining to fuel nuclear power in Canada is also responsible for 100, 000
tonnes of radioactive tailings, the leftover sludge, 2.9 million tones of waste
rock, and associated contamination of groundwater and surrounding environments.

Which brings up a local issue: Just north of Sharbot Lake, a mining company has
sniffed out the rising price of uranium and has staked claim on 30,000 acres of
crown and private land in North Frontenac, by the Mississippi River. Due to the
150-year-old Ontario Mining Act, prospectors can claim and mine on private land
without private landowners' permission, IF the mineral rights did not come with
the deed, which is a common situation in Renfrew County.

In other words, private land owners north of Sharbot Lake have awoke to find
"their" trees cut, claim stakes posted, and their rights to all the minerals
below the surface totally absent. Mining companies can come in and remove all
the surface soil and trees (not buildings) with no compensation to "private
landowners."

More information on this can be found at
www.ccamu.ca and www.miningwatch.ca.

Nuclear is not the "green energy solution" it is promoted to be, it leaves a
mess for our grandchildren's grandchildren to deal with, it pollutes water, land
and air, and it simply makes little sense.

One grandmother from Lanark is so concerned about the future health of her
grandchildren that she began a hunger strike at the site of the proposed mine.
Donna Dillman will not be eating until Ontario citizens effect a moratorium on
uranium mining in Ontario.

I don't think nuclear is the energy source of the future. With so many hidden
costs being revealed and so many other options being developed around the world,
it simply is not worth going down that road again.

The election is over. It's time for citizens to voice their concerns directly to
our premier and our MPP.

Towards a sustainable future.

Robbie Anderman,

Killaloe, ON

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