By Krystle Wittevrongel,
Public Policy Analyst,
Montreal Economic Institute,
Courtesy of Troy Media.
In 1950, Canada faced a difficult choice between the desire to be a leader in the development of nuclear energy technology and the fear that such technology would bring the end of the world a little closer.
Despite concerns related to the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Canada elected to be in the vanguard.
As a result, world-class Canada Deuterium Uranium [CANDU reactors] were developed in this country and exported around the world. The Chalk River nuclear facility in Ontario, where the CANDU model got its start, became a global contributor to many international nuclear technology projects.
Today, Canada’s nuclear sector includes 19 reactors powering about 15 per cent of the country. Ontario, with 95 per cent of the country’s reactors, generated 60 per cent of its own electricity from nuclear power plants in 2020.
Yet today, this positive narrative has largely been flipped on its head. Due, in part, to anti-nuclear messaging from activists and certain politicians, the development of this technology has stalled, and with it, so has Canada’s capacity to compete as a global leader in the development of clean nuclear energy.
This is unfortunate when we consider some of the challenges we face today that were poorly understood in the post-war era. Nuclear energy represents one of the cleanest, most sustainable sources of power in a context in which reducing emissions has become a universal goal.
But whereas nuclear energy once seemed to be the next logical step in Canada’s energy policy despite warnings about its destructive potential, today, nuclear power ironically gets a bad rap even though it may offer a way of avoiding destructive climate-related effects.
In 2050, Canada’s future leaders must see nuclear as more friend than foe. Ignoring its potential as a fast track to adapting away from greenhouse gas-emitting technologies and resources would be a missed opportunity. Turning a blind eye would also be increasingly unpopular as more and more people are becoming convinced of the dangers of climate change.
Admittedly, there are drawbacks to nuclear power, such as waste disposal. While manageable today, this will present more of a challenge as nuclear infrastructure grows to supply more than just 15 per cent of our electricity.
This item is reprinted with permission from the High Prairie, AB, South Peace News. For the complete article, click HERE
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