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Green Energy Act a 'green wash'

The Sudbury Star: RACHEL PUNCH - March 11, 2009

Nuclear power is dirty, expensive and slows the development of renewable energy, but our provincial government is planning on getting about 50 per cent of Ontario's energy from it, says Bruce Cox.

Cox, executive director of Greenpeace Canada, made a stop in Sudbury on Tuesday as part of a 10-city tour to raise awareness about the proposed Green Energy Act.

He spoke at Tom Davies Square on Tuesday night and met with the media and environmental groups.

The act -- which the province is touting as the foundation for making Ontario a leader in green energy and green jobs -- was introduced in February. For example, the act would see energy conservation planning at the local level, energy audits for homes upon sale and purchase, new energy efficiency standards in the building code, higher energy efficiency standards for appliances and upgrading government buildings to new efficiency standards.

Cox said, however, the act would see the province generate about 50 per cent nuclear power and limit renewable energy to eight per cent.

"We have a big fanfare about a Green Energy Act coming out of the provincial government, meanwhile they are looking at dumping $29 billion into nuclear generation," Cox said.

"At some point, the cynic in me says as good as the Green Energy Act is, is it in fact a green wash of a nuclear agenda?"

Cox has several concerns about nuclear power.

"It's not clean. It's not a renewable source of energy," Cox said. "It's actually extremely dirty, from basically the mining of uranium through to the low-level radiation leaks ... through to the fact that we have yet to find a solution to the radioactive waste."

It is extremely expensive, he said.

"There has never been a reactor come in on budget or on time," Cox said.

His biggest concern is that it stops the development of renewable energy.

"What's the quickest way to stop a wind turbine? Build a nuclear reactor," he said.

Greenpeace has some advice for Energy Minister George Smitherman.

The organization would like the province to phase out the B reactor in Pickering and replace it with green energy.

"We are saying as these aging reactors go offline, replace them with a mixture of conservation, energy efficiency and renewable green energy," Cox said. "It's completely doable. We've done studies that show how it can be done."

More information about the Greenpeace plan is available at www.renewableisdoable.ca.

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