Society can be a strange thing; it is a reflection of our combined
moral codes, lifestyles and the strength (or not) of our desires to
initiate change. Our current provincial government has just given notice
to the public that they are in the process of increasing our involvement
in the nuclear industry - more mines, a uranium refinery, nuclear
waste storage. In the short run or in a perfect world, this would make
sound economic sense. In this world, I believe it will lead to any
number of disaster scenarios that will not be economically beneficial.
We have all lived under the shadow of the nuclear genie for the past
60 years. We have had our environment contaminated by nuclear bombs
and tests, disasters like Chernobyl, and releases from mine accidents
and improper handling of wastes. There are currently 40 countries that
have highly enriched nuclear material; many of whom are not particularly
on friendly terms with their neighbours. Further proliferation can
only increase the risks.
If you think humans are ever going to live in a peaceful world, observe two
innocent young children fighting over a toy. We have moved from world powers
jockeying for dominance to terrorists who really don’t care if they use
nuclear devices or dirty bombs. We already produce one third of the world’s
uranium. As we increase our importance to the nuclear industry we will not
only make ourselves more complicit in making this world a more dangerous place
but we also make ourselves more of a target. The radioactive tailings from
the mines, the shipments of uranium as they pass near our communities, refineries
themselves and shipments of nuclear waste will all be potential targets. If
any of these are ever hit, I suspect it will result in immediate public pressure
to shut this industry down.
We do not have an obligation to deal with the waste of others who
don’t want to deal with it. The steady and sure path for us and
the world is simple and clean technologies like wind, solar, energy
efficiency and conservation. They will provide plenty of good decentralized
employment worldwide and there is no way that a complicated and dangerous
technology like nuclear can compete with them.
There is no doubt that moving away from nuclear is the way to go.
The only political party that consistently supports this view is the
Green Party. Send a message to the provincial NDP that they must reverse
their decision. The dangers inherent with nuclear energy are never
going away. Give our children a better future. It is the ethical thing