Australian news, and some related international items

MPs and activists push back as Ottawa pitches expansion of nuclear energy -“a dirty dangerous distraction”

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says Canada is ‘going to have to be doing much more nuclear’

John Paul Tasker · CBC News ·  April 26 2023

Anti-nuclear activists and a cross-partisan group of MPs urged the federal government Tuesday to drop its support for nuclear energy projects, calling the energy source a “dirty, dangerous distraction” from climate action.

…………………………………… SMR technology is still in its infancy and it isn’t widely used around the world.

As of 2022, there were only three SMR projects in operation — one each in Russia, China and India — according to the International Energy Agency.

There are dozens of others under construction or in the design and planning phase — including one at Ontario Power Generation’s Darlington nuclear site.

Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland’s recent federal budget included a generous tax credit to spur clean energy development, including SMRs.

The industry lobby group, the Canadian Nuclear Association, has said the 15 per cent refundable tax credit is a recognition by Ottawa that nuclear power is “a fundamental and necessary component of Canada’s low carbon energy system.”

Susan O’Donnell, a professor and a member of the Coalition for Responsible Energy Development in New Brunswick, said Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his cabinet are getting bad advice about nuclear energy.

“The nuclear industry, led by the U.S. and the U.K., has been lobbying and advertising heavily in Canada, trying to convince us that new SMR designs will somehow address the climate crisis,” O’Donnell told a press conference on Parliament Hill on Tuesday.

She said SMRs will produce “toxic radioactive waste” and could lead to serious “accidents” while turning some communities into “nuclear waste dumps.”

She also said there’s “no guarantee these nuclear experiments will ever generate electricity safely and affordably,” since SMRs are still relatively untested.

“Canada is wasting time that must be urgently spent on genuine climate action,” she said. “This is a dirty, dangerous distraction. We don’t need nuclear power.”

Asked how Canada would meet its baseload power requirements — the power that is needed 24 hours a day without fluctuation — without nuclear power or fossil fuel sources like natural gas, O’Donnell pointed to promising developments in energy storage technology.

Liberal MP Jenica Atwin was at the anti-nuclear press event.

“I want to be clear, I’m here as an individual, a concerned individual and a mother,” she said — before launching into remarks that raised questions about the “associated risks” and “many unknowns” of nuclear energy development, which is expected to see a sharp increase in activity due to her government’s proposed tax policies.

“When it comes to nuclear, there’s no margin for error,” Atwin said. “This is a time of action. We don’t have the luxury of waiting to see if things will pan out.”

Green Party Leader Elizabeth May, who once sat in caucus with Atwin before she decamped to the Liberals, said government funding for nuclear projects is a “fraud.”

“It has no part in fighting the climate emergency. In fact, it takes valuable dollars away from things that we know work, that can be implemented immediately, in favour of untested and dangerous technologies that will not be able to generate a single kilowatt of electricity for a decade or more,” May said……………………………………………………


April 28, 2023 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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