After Japan’s nuclear disaster, Ontario asks important question: what does it mean for us?
The news from Japan today (the most reliable source is from the IAEA) is pretty alarming, causing many to ask what this all means for other places that rely heavily on nuclear power. Germany and Switzerland have both announced plans to scale back their nuclear plans in response to the aftermath of the Japanese earthquake. Will Ontario follow the pack? That really depends on which side of the Liberal government wins out. On the one hand, according to Adam Radwanski at the Globe and Mail, is the government believes there is little political danger on this issue. On the other are those who want to show how careful they are by proceeding slowly on new nuclear energy facilities.
The Liberals also now appear to see some political value in moving slowly, which allows them to make hay of Progressive Conservative Leader Tim Hudak’s recent pledge to stop the “dithering and delays” he claims have held up the new build. The Tories, according to the provincial official, want to “cut corners” – a fairly strong accusation, given what’s in the news.
Meanwhile, the third-party NDP – whose continued suspicion of all things nuclear has tended to seem a little quaint – may now get more traction with the issue. The New Democrats have the luxury of not having to provide an especially credible explanation of what they would prefer instead, since they’re unlikely to form government in the foreseeable future. But there should be some fear to be mongered, if that’s their inclination.
Of course, if the Liberals intend to accuse Tories of cutting corners and putting Ontarians at greater risk of a nuclear meltdown, then it’s not just the NDP who would be fear-mongering there. Regardless, the McGuinty government has been committed to nuclear in one way or another since at least 2006, so it would be difficult in the extreme for them to make an about-face on this.
Then again, the Liberals led by Dalton McGuinty haven’t been setting any records in consistency lately. Given that hearings are going to start next week on the new reactors they province is building at Darlington, this issue is going to stay in the press. So we won’t be surprised if the Liberals announce some kind of “review” of nuclear power that puts this on hold until after election day.
There are only really two things we’re pretty sure of: the Feds’ quest to find a private buyer for CANDU-maker AECL just got a lot harder (or Ottawa has to sell a lot cheaper), and using the events in Japan to oppose condo towers in your neighbourhood looks bad.
• International Red Cross [Donate online]
• Japan’s nuclear crisis dampens Ontarians’ enthusiasm for new reactors [Globe and Mail]
• Ontario urged to rethink nuclear plans [Toronto Star]
• Nuclear fears revived as condo towers rise near Pickering plant [Toronto Star]
2 thoughts on “After Japan’s nuclear disaster, Ontario asks important question: what does it mean for us?”
The Toronto Star has always had a vendetta against nuclear power. This unfortunate incident in Japan seems to have stoked the fire once again.
Ya, Fukushima Dai-ichi got nothing on Pickering and Darlington. We don’t live in the same area with the same risks of massive/frequent earthquakes and tsunamis. And the reactors survived the 9.0 earthquake. It was the tsunami that messed it all up. Lake Ontario is not the Pacific Ocean…I don’t think we should need to worry about massive tidal waves wiping out the auxiliary diesel-run generators.
Japan’s reactors, the ones in crisis right now are manufactured by General Electric. They are boiling water reactors, verus our pressurized water reactors. Different technology than our CANDU reactors.
Yes…I believe that this incident in Japan keeps plant personnel and regulators on their toes when it comes to disaster planning…but I don’t believe that it should adversely effect the decision to build new reactors.
How many wind farms and solar panels will be needed to replace the Pickering A reactors when they go offline in 10 years or so? How much coal will they need to burn (which may actually be a bigger environmental/health hazard) to replace the output of a nuclear reactor?
Above is a NY Times article, basically scrutinizing the design of the Mark 1 nuclear reactors, manufactured by General Electric and how there had been criticisms to its design in the past. Once again…the CANDU is a superior design, more robust and a different type of technology all together.
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