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[cdn-nucl-l] editorial in NB telegraph journal
My Goodness... is this really the mass media?
NB Telegraph-Journal | Editorials
As published on page A10 on October 26, 2005
Power - and possibilities
Liberal Leader Shawn Graham's election-style promise to study the feasibility of a second nuclear reactor for Point Lepreau has caused sparks.
Energy Minister Bruce Fitch's dismissal of Lepreau II as "childish" is baffling, since Premier Bernard Lord has given an appreciative nod toward the idea on occasion. Committing to a second reactor without researching the costs and benefits would be foolish, but that isn't what Mr. Graham has proposed. He's said only that a Liberal government would study the issue.
It's responsible thinking, not childish - no matter which leader is talking about future energy possibilities.
Remember, that's what they are - possibilities.
Currently, the provincial government seems determined to develop energy policy based on the needs of N!
Brunswickers today. The rest of the world is worried about meeting the needs of the future. There's a world out there that wants to grow energy markets amid uncertainties in fuel supply. Governments are drawing up or resurrecting plans to build nuclear reactors as a way to increase energy capacity and reduce dependence on fossil fuels.
There's ample room for ideas like Lepreau II - and for opposition and government leaders to give them serious consideration.
Think about the possibilities. Canada sits next to one of the largest energy customers in the world. New Brunswick has the skill in nuclear power generation to serve the U.S. market and lead eastern Canada.
Consider recent trends. Quebec is running out of generating capacity, and a coalition of prominent Quebeckers is lobbying the government to raise electricity rates. Nova Scotia is also in trouble, and seems likely to become a customer of whichever eastern province or state can deliver the energy !
Energy generated in Maine is more expensive than that produced here. With political vision, New Brunswick could be exporting even more power across the region. Add a Lepreau II and the province cements Saint John's place as the energy hub for the Atlantic region.
We're not asking the government to commit blindly to a second reactor - nothing childish like that. But New Brunswickers have seen how long it takes a nuclear project to go from concept to approval to completion. The day may come when a premier and an energy minister foresee a need to switch entirely to nuclear power. Studying the feasibility of Lepreau II today will make it easier to make responsible decisions about energy in the future.
Critics point out that once the province proclaims Section 80 of the Electricity Act, the government will not be able to order up new power plants; contracts for generation will have to go to tender. But this does not settle the issue of whether a second nuclear reac!
benefit New Brunswick. If anything, it raises questions about whether the Electricity Act is fatally flawed.
Without studying the feasibility of a second reactor, the province risks being poorly prepared for changes in the energy market. And without the power to add or change generating capacity, New Brunswickers will always struggle to catch up to the energy parade, instead of leading it.
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