Canada’s nuclear waste still a problem

Tom Adams
Globe and Mail
May 30, 2005

The Globe and Mail
Letter to the Editor

The Globe’s editorial “How to deal safely with nuclear waste” May 26, is overly hasty in declaring nuclear power’s problems solved.

The Nuclear Waste Management Organization (NWMO), an agency funded and controlled by the nuclear waste generators, which the Globe relied upon in its blanket nuclear endorsement, is substantially more cautious. To its credit, the NWMO report issued last week recognized “uncertainty about how the (proposed waste management) system will perform over the very long term because we cannot obtain advanced proof of actual performance over thousands of years.”

Parroting the nuclear industry’s favourite characterization of its waste – volume – the Globe claims that that the amount of waste is small. The volume of AIDS virus in the world is also small. Our nuclear waste volume is small but uniquely nasty. For example, as of 2001 the plutonium contained in Canada’s nuclear waste was approximately equal to about 12,000 Nagasaki bombs.

The lonely environmentalists the Globe points to as supporting nuclear power concentrate narrowly on carbon emissions disregarding the wide picture of costs and nuclear power’s negligible potential to reduce air pollution – most especially in the transportation sector, our largest air polluter.

Tom Adams
Executive Director, Energy Probe

Note: The Globe and Mail editorial, “How to deal safely with nuclear waste,” is a subscription-only service provided by the Globe.

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