Friday, September 14, 2007

Canada to Accept Nuclear Waste

This weekend the Global Nuclear Energy Partnership will meet in Vienna, Austria to discuss a new era and international agreement governing the use of nuclear fuel.

The conference and partnership are being dubbed as an effort to "promote and safeguard the industry". What it is in fact is an attempt to redraw the lines of responsibility for the management of nuclear waste. The heart of the plan is a new agreement stating that all used nuclear fuel be returned to its country of origin for disposal.

Canada is the world's largest uranium exporter.

The proposal was brought forward by President Bush, and its motivation is clear. As a leader in nuclear energy use, the US is looking for ways to offload the costs of nuclear energy and waste management to other nations while continuing to enjoy the benefits - you know, like being wed to a massively subsidized, polluting, and expensive energy source that burdens the next million generations with toxic risk.

But by shear accident, Bush has stumbled into the polluter pays principle. If Canada is forced to be responsible for the toxic legacy of what we pull from the ground, then suddenly the apparent economic 'benefits' of nuclear mining will need to be weighed against the long-term costs of waste disposal for the first time - a prospect that will not sit well with Canadian voters.

Just as it is the oil company's responsibility to lead the global warming effort by endorsing plans to reduce emissions, just as it is the forestry industry's responsibility to engage in sustainable forestry, Canada has an equal responsibility in the nuclear age. If Canada is to continue to be the world's leader in producing uranium fuel, then it is our responsibility to be the world's leader in disposing of its waste.

If that is a responsibility that we are not prepared to bear, then we shouldn't be producing nuclear fuel in the first place.

6 comments:

JimBobby said...

Whooee! I'm as anti-nuke an' anti-uranium mining as they come. I'm workin' dang hard to stop Ginty from turnin' Nanticoke into a nuke plant. I'm dead set against GNEP.

The idea that uranium exporters should be required to repatriate spent fuel is absurd. Are food exporters be required to repatriate human feces? Are oil exporters be required to repatriate tailpipe emissions? Are water exporters forced to repatriate urine?

The consuming country gets the "benefit" of the nuke fuel. They should take the responsibility for their own waste and wastefulness.

Spent nuke fuel is approximately one million times more radioactive than fresh, unused fuel. Presently, OPG (Ontario Power Generation) is training its own paramilitary security force to guard our existing stock piles of nuclear waste. This task has proved to onerous and expensive for the municipal police forces that are currently contracted to provide security. The cost of this security will, of course, be passed along to consumers.

In Australia, there has been a public debate raging for months wrt GNEP. Here, we've been kept completely uninformed and in the dark by our new, transparent and accountable government. Harper and Ginty have teamed up to mortgage the future of our grandchildrens and their grandchildren. And, they've done it in secret.

Conscious Earth meet Unconscious Canada.

JB

Sue said...

Call me a pessimist, but the first scenario that pops into my head is: Canadian voters wisely decide that the costs of disposing of uranium wastes far exceed the benefits of uranium mining, and dramatically cut back or reduce mining. The next thing that happens is some American president with the electricity deprived howling masses behind him (or her) marches troops across the border to get the uranium flowing again.

Omar said...

Sue - marches the troops not only for the uraninum but for the abundant oil that Canada has!

Richard Carroll said...

has made a deal to sell uranium to Russia (amongst others) and is looking to increase Australian production dramatically. Even the Labour Party has gone soft on the issue of uranium mining, although they still oppose nuclear power plants. Howard is pushing the nuclear button as hard as he can because he thinks it's "clean green" energy. What a laugh. If he wants to accept nuclear waste and nuclear power in Australia let him put it in his own back yard.

TOM DISOUZA said...

Now a day global warming controversy is very hype. NASA sciencetists completely work on global warming research. According the sciencetists after 30 year earth is completely effected by global warming.

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