Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Haldimand "Is Nuclear Power a Bad Bet"

The following is a Letter to the Editor from a resident. It is a good read and I certainly learned a few things reading this letter. It also left me asking more questions. This is an issue that we should all be paying close attention too. I would like to thank Grand Erie Energy Quest for sending me this information. Please visit this site by clicking on the interesting links!

Going nuclear is a bad bet

The Kingston Whig-Standard
Monday, June 23, 2008

Section: Editorial/Opinion

Column: Letters to the Editor

Premier Dalton McGuinty's plan to increase Ontario's dependency on nuclear power smacks of the actions of an inveterate gambler poised to roll the dice one last time for that elusive "big score." Why else would he bet the farm on a technology that could bankrupt the entire country in the event of a single catastrophic accident?

The minimum bid to get into McGuinty's high-stakes game, $45 billion, could easily top a mind-boggling $135 billion given the nuclear industry's history of at least tripling initial cost projections.

But what makes the optics of McGuinty's gamble especially egregious is that he is rolling the dice on the health of unsuspecting Ontarians, since he is betting that a Chernobyltype explosion will not occur on his watch.

Since investing in conservation creates seven times more jobs, causes a four-times-greater reduction in greenhouse gases and conserves seven times more electricity than his nukes will ever produce, Ontarians should ask their premier some tough questions.

For example, if nuclear power is such a "sure thing," why have investors avoided it like the plague for the past 30 years?

Why did McGuinty choose to announce his plan to the highly secretive Bilderberg Group rather than to the people of Ontario who will foot the bill for his roll of the dice? Unless it was to assure these well-heeled high rollers that this nuclear pie is so enormous that everyone will get a piece of the action?

Why has McGuinty exempted his new nukes from those pesky environmental assessments unless it was to avoid the inevitable findings that the hazards of nuclear power far outweigh its benefits?

And what about the odds of a reactor meltdown? Two of the world's 439 operating nuclear reactors have already experienced a meltdown, a fact that makes a mockery of the industry's claim of only one in 100 000 years of operation.

Even more worrisome are the 22 major accidents that have occurred since Chernobyl, many of which have released cancer-causing isotopes into the air we breathe and the water we drink.

There have been seven major nuclear incidents in Ontario alone, including, most recently, this May when highly toxic arsenic and uranium haxafluoride leaked from Cameco's nuclear waste storage site into the groundwater in Port Hope.

If nuclear power plants are as safe as the experts claim, why do insurance companies refuse to underwrite their liability? What do they know that McGuinty is not sharing with Ontarians? Could it be that the damage from just a single nuclear catastrophe is so enormous that it would bankrupt the entire industry? Is that why the government of Canada enacted the Nuclear Liability Act in 1974, which exempts the nuclear industry from all but token liability? The data from Chernobyl certainly supports that hypothesis.

The effect of the Nuclear Liability Act, incidentally, was to make Canadian taxpayers the "insurers of last resort," since it is you and I who will pay the bills in the event of a catastrophic nuclear accident -and they will be enormous.

More than 371,000 people were evacuated from within Chernobyl's 37- kilometre "exclusion zone." and damage estimates range to an astronomical $235 billion.

An explosion at Pickering would render most of the Greater Toronto Area a nuclear wasteland and would necessitate the immediate evacuation of between three and four million people, 10 times the number displaced by Chernobyl. A staggering 10 per cent of the population of Canada would require new housing, new jobs, new hospitals, etc.

The cost of a nuclear explosion at Pickering could run as high as $3 trillion, nearly three times Canada's gross domestic product. It could literally bankrupt the entire country. That is the "inconvenient truth" about nuclear energy that the insurance industry has known all along, and the "inconvenient truth" that Ontarians will never hear from their premier's lips, since he knows it would "nuke" his misguided gamble to build more nukes.

Yelda Miedema Simcoe Island

Let's follow Germany's example

It distresses me that Ontario is headed toward an increasingly nuclear-powered future. Nuclear power is not green. Uranium mining releases toxic effluent into waterways and leaves behind highly dangerous tailings that remain radioactive for centuries. A great deal of energy is required to mine, separate and process the uranium extracted.

The building of nuclear power plants requires enormous amounts of cement, and it is generally acknowledged that producing cement creates a lot of greenhouse gases. These plants release enormous amounts of heat. Lake Ontario water is used as a coolant. There is also the radioactive waste that is produced. The latest scenario is to seal it in containers and bury it in deep pits. This has yet to be done anywhere in the world.

It is worth noting that Areva, one of the companies that will submit a bid to build Ontario's new reactor, is two years behind schedule and incurring huge overruns on the construction of a new power generator in Finland. There have been problems with the quality of the cement and the metal used. Areva has also run into problems with the cement in the construction of a nuclear generator in France. And Atomic Energy Canada Limited has finally shelved its Maple reactor project because it couldn't solve the technical problems.

The suggestion is that whichever company wins the Ontario contract, the government will have to pay at least some of any cost overruns incurred.

TheWhigstory "New nuclear reactors to be built near Toronto" (June 17) quotes the provincial energy minister as saying in reference to the various bids: "They will give us firm costs on reasonable parts of the project. There will be opportunities for change where no reasonable person could expect to have anticipated that change."

We are being put on notice. The more than $600 million in cost overruns at the Bruce project doesn't inspire confidence.

My biggest concern is for what we are leaving behind for our children and grandchildren. Is it not enough that we have depleted the ozone layer?

There are alternatives to nuclear power. Germany has put more renewable power on its grid than our fossil fuel, nuclear and renewable power generation combined. It has built a thriving industry that employs 230,000 people. The Germans have decided to go nuclear-free and carbon-free.

To move to a sustainable future, we need political vision. Let's find out how Germany is doing it. I want energy that offers my grandchildren a healthy and sustainable future.

Eleanor Archer Westport

Kudo's to Eleanor! Great Letter!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Haldimand "Defacing the Canadian Flag is Just Wrong"

********************UPDATE TUESDAY JUNE 27, 2008************

This morning around 9:50 am the "defaced" Canadian Flag in Caledonia was taken down! Thank you to the individuals that did the right thing today!


Well I had an interesting Sunday morning. It all started when I checked my e-mail. A friend in Dunnville had sent me an e-mail in regards to a Canadian flag that was flying at the entrance of DCE in Caledonia and the flag was "defaced"! This flag had apparently being there since Thursday.

I have a thing about the Canadian Flag! I happen to be proud of the Canadian Flag! There are certain "protocols" to the hanging and disposing of the Canadian flag, but when the Canadian Flag is "defaced" that is another story.

So I made a phone call to someone I know in Caledonia, I didn’t want to go there alone, so we were to meet at DCE around 11:30am.

I decided once I was there, I would speak to someone and request that the flag come down and I would dispose of it properly. Well that didn’t happen!

I arrived at 11:30am and there was the Canadian Flag blowing in the wind. Someone had painted a black circle around the maple leaf and put a black line through it. I have never seen a "defaced" Canadian Flag and I certainly was not impressed!

I sat in my truck on Argyle St. right in front of DCE for about 5 minutes, I could see that someone was watching me and I had hoped that they would come and ask me what I was doing there. About 5 minutes later I got out of my truck and walked across the road. Within in a few minutes someone came out of the house on DCE and started walking towards me. I in return started walking to meet them. I introduced myself, shook his hand and asked if he could take down the "defaced" Canadian Flag that was flying. He didn’t answer me we just starting walking towards the flag. I talked about "protocols" and again asked if I could have the flag to dispose of it properly. This individual told me that he was not responsible for the flags that were flying and he personally could not take it down.

A couple of minutes into our conversation another individual came to see what was going on, I once again introduced myself, shook his hand and asked to have the "defaced" Canadian flag taken down so I could dispose of it properly. I was told no.

We talked back and forth for about 15 minutes. I was told at one point that I could put a flag up if I wanted too. My response was that they already had a Canadian Flag flying and it was "defaced". I offered to replace the "defaced" flag with a new one, and was told no. I also asked how many people so far had come over and asked them to remove the flag and I was told no one, so my response was, I came on my own and my only intent was to have the "defaced" flag removed. It was just that simple!

I also asked what if I just removed the flag myself? I was told that they would have to stop me, and I responded by saying how would you stop me, I didn’t get an answer. I wasn’t in fear of anything happening to me but I didn’t want to push the issue of me taking down the flag myself.

Some may say that what I did was pretty stupid, or petty, but to me this was just the right thing to do. It had nothing to do with land claims, or any other issue, it was simply wrong that the Canadian Flag was blowing in the wind "defaced". I really did believe that the right thing would have been done today, and I am truly disappointed.

I will go back and try again. Flying a "defaced" Canadian Flag in my mind makes no point at all. It dosen't prove anything. What is does is show "disrespect". I showed no "disrespect" today and I am hopeful that the right thing will still be done!

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Haldimand "Have Your Say"

I thought I would do something different on my blog. I would like to hear what you have to say on the issues. I am often called by someone who's letter never gets into the local papers, or when someone simply asks me to post on their behalf. Here is your opportunity to have your voice heard.

If you are going to post a long letter, the best way to do it is copy and paste your document into the comment section. Sometimes you will get disconnected if you have the comments box open too long. Blogger does not have spellcheck.

If you do not have a Blogger account and you want to sign your name, click the anonymous box and sign your name on the bottom of your post.

We look forward to hearing what you have to say!