Letter to the Editor
November 10, 2003
The Calgary Herald
Re: “Going nuclear,” November 6, 2003, and “Good night’s sleep,” November 12, 2003
The author of your editorial promoting nuclear power for Alberta should have checked the market evidence on nuclear economics before stating that “economics alone suggest that Alberta should not be ruling out the nuclear option.”
In the U.K., nuclear power and natural gas compete directly. British Energy, a privatized nuclear business, was given 15 reactors almost free, enjoyed very good management, and demonstrated significant productivity improvements. All of these advantages were not enough. British Energy is teetering on the edge of complete bankruptcy as the European Union investigates the government subsidies that are now keeping the nuclear plants running. The Bush administration in the US is trying to get billions in subsidies to stimulate new nuclear construction.
Your editorial bases its support for nuclear on studies done by the self-proclaimed “independent” think tank, Canadian Energy Research Institute. CERI’s advocacy of nuclear power is in fact funded by the Canadian Nuclear Association, which in turn gets much of its funding from Atomic Energy of Canada Limited, a federal crown corporation. AECL has already pumped many billions out of federal taxpayers and is using CERI’s “studies” as part of its lobbying campaign for further billions. Nuclear’s failed economics is proven by its reliance on taxpayer dollars.
On Wednesday Nov. 12, you published a letter from Jaro Franta urging people to not “lose any sleep over nuclear waste.” Mr. Franta did not disclose in that letter that he has been a long time employee of AECL, is currently working on a nuclear reactor in Quebec, and has been on the executive of the Canadian Nuclear Society. Stealth commentaries, apparently penned by members of the public but actually authored by paid nuclear industry insiders, is a strategy that industry has long employed in an effort to sway public opinion.
Executive Director, Energy Probe, Toronto