More nuclear reactors across the river?


Thank you, Katharine Fletcher, for bringing small modular nuclear reactors (SMRs) to the attention of the Journal’s readers.

Thank you, Katharine Fletcher, for bringing small modular nuclear reactors (SMRs) to the attention of the Journal’s readers.
It’s shocking that the Canadian government could consider subsidizing the nuclear industry with billions of taxpayer dollars for new reactors. How could Canada commit to a strategy of nuclear energy expansion without parliamentary debate, public dialogue, and assessment of environmental, health, social, and economic impacts? 
Seamus O’Regan, the Minister of Natural Resources, is unrolling plans to fund the experimental nuclear reactors by private companies (most from the U.S. & UK).
SMRs are definitely not an answer to Canada’s climate change commitments. These new reactors are unproven technology. They exist only on paper and will take a decade— and billions of tax dollars – to develop and produce.
The nuclear industry is touting these reactors as clean, green, and small. This is not true.  These new SMRs are:
1.    Not clean. The reactor, the metallic components and the concrete structure will ultimately become radioactive waste. Some radioactive substances will remain hazardous for thousands to millions of years, posing grave risks to communities and to the health of Canadians for generations. No safe long-term solution for radioactive waste exists.
2.    Not green. Considering mining, milling, fuel fabrication, uranium enrichment, transportation, radioactive contamination … they are far from green.
3.    Not small. The reactor and the structures can be the size of a medium-sized reactor. 
Old Fort William Cottagers’ Association (OFWCA) joins many groups in calling
new SMRs dangerous distractions from tackling climate change. We are totally in
agreement with Katharine Fletcher: federal investments should be made now towards energy conservation and renewable technologies to address the climate crisis.
The Bloc Québécois, NDP and Green Party all oppose the plan. The Assembly of First Nations unanimously resolved that Canada "cease funding and support” for these reactors. 
Close to the Pontiac, Canadian Nuclear Laboratories’ (CNL) goal is to site a number of SMRs at Chalk River. How comfortable are you with four or more of these new experimental nuclear reactors operating there?
CNL has signed a “host agreement” with Global First Power’s proposed reactor. This reactor uses enriched uranium, posing more serious dangers – accident, sabotage, and weapons proliferation. Where will the uranium be enriched, and how will it be transported? 
OFWCA and groups across Canada call on the federal government to 1) halt plans to fund experimental SMRs, and 2) take real action against climate change by investing in renewable energy and energy conservation.

Johanna Echlin, Old Fort William Cottagers’ Association