Tom Adams wrote on Friday March 29, 2002 11:28 AM :
"...the immense environmental and social costs associated with nuclear wastes and uranium mining, which have lain waste
vast tracts of Canada and uprooted many communities, particularly northern and aboriginal communities."
I guess we will never know what these "immense environmental and social costs" are, since we are dealing here with someone who evidently prefers impressing the media and public with unsubstantiated claims and "sound bites."
I say evidently because, for instance, Tom still hasn't addressed a growing list of OUTSTANDING ISSUES AWAITING EP RESPONSE:
1. Apology for libel of Jeremy in Nat Post Op-Ed (2002-03-20)
2. EP's stand on the environmental and safety review required of the Sithe gas plants (2002-02-07)
3. Evidence of EP's superior electricity-usage forecasting skills to that of OPG. (2002-02-05)
4. EP's stand on research reactors and other non-power nuclear technology. (2002-02-04)
5. References for EP's allegations about India's source of weapons tritium.(2002-02-04)
........suffice it to say that when I walk past the dry storage spent nuclear fuel modules at Gentilly-2, on my way to work, I certainly don't see "immense environmental and social costs." All I see are large concrete blocks, whose somewhat odd shape might possibly qualify them as works of modern art -- were they stationed anywhere else (maybe we could interest the National Museum in Ottawa to buy a bunch of them for a few $M ? (Christo could perhaps cover them in bright pink plastic sheets, which could increase their artistic value even more....). It is of course total baloney to claim that "nuclear wastes .....have lain waste vast tracts of Canada."
On the other hand, just a couple of kilometers before I get to the G-2 parking lot, I pass by some large ore smelting plants which make aluminum, steel, magnesium, etc., and which exhibit some pretty obvious "environmental and social costs" (as do the pulp & paper mills across the river in Trois Rivieres, which regularly stink-up the entire city & surrounding area). These smelting plants supply the raw materials needed by all sorts of manufacturing industries - including those making windmills, solar panels, gas pipelines, etc.. Surprise ! ....they don't come out of thin air ! ...as a matter of fact, extremely diffuse sources of energy, like those "renewables," tend to use larger quantities of these raw materials than "conventional" sources (see for instance H. Inhaber's seminal book "Energy Risk Assessment").
Equally impressive is the yellow haze layer you see from an airliner as you approach Pearson International airport. The health effects of the noxious gases and particulates associated with this visible haze have been widely studied and documented. Its hard to argue that they don't represent "immense environmental and social costs."
As for uranium mining, it is debatable whether it has "lain waste to vast tracts of Canada."
Canadian uranium ore tends to be amazingly high-grade (relative to mines elsewhere in the world), which naturally makes for relatively small mining sites - certainly far smaller than the vast natural gas, oil and coal mining areas of Canada's western provinces (and of course the excavation of long-distance gas pipelines all over Canada arguably qualifies as "laying waste to vast tracts of Canada").
Its also useful to keep in mind that in the long-run, nuclear power reduces the amount of radioactivity in the environment (if that's what one is worried about) by converting long-lived natural uranium, to short-lived fission products. This aspect of uranium mining has actually been calculated to constitute a significant net benefit, in terms of long-term health impact, if one applies the same kind of methodology used in the assessment of long-term risks of SNF storage or permanent disposal. On the other hand, studies of populations in areas of high natural background radioactivity (Kerala, Ramsar, Guaripari, etc.) have not found any adverse effects, and radiation health spas continue to draw large crowds even in antinuke countries like Austria.
But don't expect to read about this sort of thing in the National Post - it just wouldn't jibe well with Tom's raving, would it ?