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Conservative Ploy To Neuter Canada's Nuclear Regulatory Agency PDF Print E-mail
Earth News
Thursday, 10 January 2008 16:11

Conservative Ploy To Neuter Canada's Nuclear Regulatory Agency

PEJ News - Al Rycroft - Under the guise of providing medical isotopes for the world the Conservative Government in Ottawa has initiated a high stakes game to neuter Canada's nuclear regulatory agency by threatening to fire its president. Could the ultimate goal of this game of chicken be to deliver a controllable "nuclear regulator" to the government to allow the unfettered re-development of nuclear power in Canada and the export of Candu reactors to the rest of the world - safety be damned?

The Conservatives are hoping to extract profitable oil from Alberta's oil sands and the only way to undertake this massive environmental disaster is to provide unbelievable amounts of energy to extract more dirty oil. The Conservatives appear to be true believers that nuclear power can make the oil flow in northern Alberta's oil sands and continue to fill the coffers of the west's oil and gas industry and may expect it to trickle down to the Conservative Party itself.

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Conservative Ploy To Neuter Canada's Nuclear Regulatory Agency

PEJ News - Al Rycroft - Under the guise of providing medical isotopes for the world the Conservative Government in Ottawa has initiated a high stakes game to neuter Canada's nuclear regulatory agency by threatening to fire its president. Could the ultimate goal of this game of chicken be to deliver a controllable "nuclear regulator" to the government to allow the unfettered re-development of nuclear power in Canada and the export of Candu reactors to the rest of the world - safety be damned?

The Conservative government has threatened to fire Linda Keen, president of the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, over the nearly four-week safety shut-down of the reactor in Chalk River, Ontario last fall that cut the supply of medial isotopes to health facilities across North America.

Perhaps the Canadian government should instead consider firing the president of Atomic Energy of Canada Limited, the crown corporation that allowed the safety hazard to arise in the first place and never planned for alternative production of medical nuclear isotopes in the case of an interruption in service from the primary medical-isotope producing nuclear reactor.

Believe it or not Canada's governing politicians do not understand nuclear safety better than the Nuclear Safety Commission and I expect they are simply exploiting a political opportunity to better control the nuclear regulatory body prior to rebuilding Canada's nuclear power industry for domestic use and they-hope-for profitable international export. (Perhaps as oil deposits shrink and climate changing gases increase in the atmosphere the very same oil and gas companies that traditionally support the Conservative Party are hoping to capitalize on the potential rising stock of nuclear energy?)

Canada's Minister of Natural Resources, Victoria's own Gary Lunn, is on record as a strong supporter of nuclear power, and this government, along with the entire nuclear industry, is pushing on all fronts to sell nuclear energy as a clean, green source of needed energy in a time when global opinion is forcing all governments to look environmental. Indeed, Stephen Harper's Conservatives have applied a new green sheen radical makeover on their government which, in fact, has done much to prop up the oil and gas industry that has been so helpful in Stephen Harper's and this government's rise to power.

The Conservatives are hoping to extract profitable oil from Alberta's oil sands and the only way to undertake this massive environmental disaster is to provide unbelievable amounts of energy to extract more dirty oil. The Conservatives appear to be true believers that nuclear power can make the oil flow in northern Alberta's oil sands and continue to fill the coffers of the west's oil and gas industry and may expect it to trickle down to the Conservative Party itself.

Declining oil reserves and the increasing power of the environmental movement have provided key challenges to an oil-dominated economy that have been met in various dangerous ways by governments such as Harper's Conservatives and Bush's Republicans. Bush's continuous war drive has done nothing but fuel the flames of terrorism and hate of American policies around the world and dramatically increase the price of oil and profits of energy and weapons corporations alike - to the great pleasure and profit of many Bush supporters and even family members.

Support for nuclear power will only postpone the inenvitable need for renewable energies and reduced energy consumption while miring our small planet with highly dangerous and unbelievably toxic undisposable nuclear waste and increasing atomic supplies for nuclear weapon proliferation.

Ultimately one has to ask why the crown corporation Atomic Energy of Canada Limited (AECL), an organization for which I worked for seven years, has been massively subsidized by all Liberal and Conservative governments to the tune of billions of dollars for dozens of years. Nuclear power, as anyone in Ontario or New Brunswick can attest, has proved to be an economic and potential environmental disaster througout its sketchy career. AECL has never turned a profit but has always been extremely adept at milking the Canadian taxpayer.

I have a unique theory which I have not ever heard suggested by anyone else - that the continuous subsidization of nuclear energy in Canada is a kind of insurance policy that is deeply obscured from view. By ensuring a large and stable workforce of capable nuclear scientists and technologists some people in Canada able to influence government policy year after year may be banking on the nation's ability, should it ever feel the need, to build its own nuclear weapons force. Understandable thinking, although regrettable and wrong-minded, considering our southern neighbour the United States is the world's largest military superpower with several thousand nuclear warheads stationed not far from Canada (and the only country to have ever attacked Canada). And these days, when nuclear weapons are all the rage. Witness, for example, the nuclear forces of Pakistan and India - now at risk of accidental nuclear war - and the military nuclear power no one ever seems to talk about - Israel, with at least 200 nuclear warheads of its own in the volatile Middle East... and many more nations on the hunt for their own MAD defence system (Mutal Assured Destruction).

This trend back towards nuclear power is being pushed by those with old world views and deep pockets of finance with expectations of easy and big profits. The possible resurgence of nuclear power is a threat to the world environment and to world peace through its integral link to nuclear proliferation and poses a great challenge to the global movements to bring peace, environmental sustainability and justice to our fragile planet.

Good luck and godspeed activists and thinking citizens. We have our work cut out for us to prevent the unthinking slide back towards nuclear energy as an economic and "environmental" strategy that will only set us back many years more while still leaving the planet, ultimately, where we started - with the urgent need to develop truly clean, renewable energy while we reduce the amount of energy consumption our increasing populations use.

The battle against nuclear power (and its close link to nuclear weapons) is not an adjunct in our struggle for a better world - but a key, central issue that we must face head on and defeat - again. We can do it. No Candu.

Last Updated on Thursday, 10 January 2008 16:11
 

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