What you can do to stop $26 billion+ in poor investments. An excellent and very informative document forwarded to us by one of our members, complete with lots of websites and email links to our MPPs. Please read and take action!

Pending Nuclear developments in Ontario – what you can do to stop $26 billion+ in poor investments

The province is expected to sign a contract sometime in June for 2 new nuclear reactors to be built at Darlington at a cost of $26 billion. There is a push on for the province to invest that money on renewable energy instead, moving us toward a 100% renewable energy grid. There are certainly plenty of reasons for this – safety, environmental costs due to waste, mining, construction, etc the huge cost (and VERY likely cost overruns), the 10-15 year timeline to bring online when they say we have an energy crunch now…and of course a grid build around concentrated generation is inefficient. We will be locked in to another generation of a 20th century power grid that will box out decentralized power production, efforts at energy efficiency and legislation supporting increasing renewable energy.

To get the word out there is a campaign distributing leaflets around Ontario – http://www.ontariosgreenfuture.ca/Nukes_Money.pdf
To date 90,000 have been distributed. They can use help. It’s simple, fun and empowering to engage people in this issue. They say 9 out of 10 people they talk to are anti-nuke, I kid you not. They just don’t know the gov’t is planning new nuke builds. Let’s tell ‘em!

Email (or even better call!) the Ontario Minister of Energy (and Deputy Leader) George Smitherman –gsmitherman.mpp.co@liberal.ola.org; 416-972-7683 and CC our MPP Liz Sandals – lsandals.mpp.co@liberal.ola.org; 519-836-4190

Online Petition – No nuclear subsidies! If you haven’t signed the online petition yet, do it now! http://www.ontariosgreenfuture.ca/petition.php

Council of Canadians Action Alert –http://www.canadians.org/action/2009/19-May-09-2.html

Catch these very entertaining short videos about energy in Ontario. “Clean Coal Clean” and “Good Things Exploding” are especially noteworthy. http://www.globalenviroactiongroup.com/video.html

Some other relevant resources:
Now province pays to give away electricity – Seasonal surpluses and nuclear inflexibility seen undercutting incentive for renewable sources
Toronto Star, April 21 Just a few years ago we were worried about having enough power to keep Ontario running. These days, we’re paying people to take it. http://www.cleanairalliance.org/node/697

Bad Reactors
Rethinking your opposition to nuclear power? Rethink again. –http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/features/2009/0901.blake.html
“The numbers have simply gone flying past our highest 2007 estimates,” says Jim Hempstead, a senior vice president at Moody’s, which now predicts new nuclear power plants will cost $7,500 per kilowatt to build. That’s more than double the capital costs for solar power and three and a half times the cost for wind.

The Gospel of Green – http://www.cbc.ca/fifth/2008-2009/the_gospel_of_green/video.html
As the world confronts the reality of global warming and the inevitable end of oil, the questions of what to do and how to sustain energy without oil or fossil fuels becomes more urgent. Bob McKeown and a fifth estate team travel to Germany to meet Hermannn Scheer, called “Europe’s Al Gore,” a parliamentarian who is leading the way to increase Germany’s reliance on renewable energy sources such as wind power and solar power. To date, 15% of Germany’s energy comes from renewable sources. Scheer estimates that if Germany continues on this course, by 2030 that will be 100%. So, if one of the world major industrialized nations can achieve this, why can’t a country like Canada? The answer may lie in the fifth estate’s investigation of the influence, in this country, of conventional energy industry on politicians.

No need to build new U.S. coal or nuclear plants — FERC chairman –http://tinyurl.com/og5v2a
No new nuclear or coal plants may ever be needed in the United States, the chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission said today.
“We may not need any, ever,” Jon Wellinghoff told reporters at a U.S. Energy Association forum.
Wellinghoff said renewables like wind, solar and biomass will provide enough energy to meet baseload capacity and future energy demands. Nuclear and coal plants are too expensive, he added.
He added, “People talk about, ‘Oh, we need baseload.’ It’s like people saying we need more computing power, we need mainframes. We don’t need mainframes, we have distributed computing.”
The technology for renewable energies has come far enough to allow his vision to move forward, he said. For instance, there are systems now available for concentrated solar plants that can provide 15 hours of storage.
Wellinghoff’s statement — if it reflects Obama administration policy — would be a huge blow to the U.S. nuclear power industry, which has been hoping for a nuclear “renaissance” based on the capacity of nuclear reactors to generate power without greenhouse gas emissions.

Reasons Why Nuclear Won’t Get Us Out of This

  1. Length of time to come on stream.
    Commissioning and building new plants is a time-consuming business ( at least twenty years), so they would have little or no impact on cutting emissions over the next twenty years, nor build any resilience in the face of peak oil.
  2. Insurance
    The insurance industry refuses to underwrite nuclear power, a gap it looks like the government will have to fill, resulting in a huge invisible subsidy for nuclear power.
  3. Waste
    Nuclear waste is a huge problem. The UK alone has 10,000 tons of nuclear waste, a pile which will increase 25-fold when the existing plants are decommissioned, with no solution in sight other than deep burial.
    The disposal of nuclear waste requires a great deal of embodied energy, including that in the materials used to maintain the disposal facilities ( ie. concrete and steel).It is often said that nuclear waste has a half-life of 100,000 years….i
    A society in energy descent, dependent on local,lower embodied energy building materials, will struggle to maintain nuclear waste sites with cob blocks and straw bales.
  4. Cost
    A new programme of nuclear power would be staggeringly expensive.Amory Lovins has calculated that 10 cents invested in nuclear energy could generate 1 kwh of nuclear energy, 1,2-1,7 kwh windpower,2.2-6.6 kwh small cogeneration or 10kwh of energy efficiency.
    Also, having sufficient money to invest so unwisely assumes an economy which is still growing, an increasingly unlikely prospect.
  5. Peak Uranium
    At the moment, there are about 60 years worth of uranium left.However, if electricity generation from nuclear grows steadily, this figure will fall, to the point where if all the world’s electricity were generated with nuclear, we’d have around 3 years supply left.
  6. Carbon Emissions
    Nuclear is often said to be a carbon-free way of generating electricity. While that may be true for the actual generation, it is not when the entire process is looked at. The mining, processing, enrichment, treatment and disposal all have significant impacts, equivalent to around one third those of a conventional- sized gas-fired generating plant.

For a thorough demolition of nuclear power in the context of peak oil and climate change, see Fleming, D.- 2007, The Lean Guide to Nuclear Energy; a life cycle in trouble, The Lean Economy Connection –http://www.theleaneconomyconnection.net/nuclear/Nuclear.pdf