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Friday, March 28, 2008 

Nuclear Saskatchewan?

"Our point is, let's lead in this area. We have the uranium, we're the Saudi Arabia of uranium and all we do is mine it. It's time for that to stop. It's time for us to take some advantage of the science and value-add opportunities around the uranium value-added chain."
Premier Brad Wall

Saskatchewan citizens are a bit unsure what it is that our new right wing Premier is talking about. Clearly he wants a reactor somewhere in the province, but many questions need answers. Who's paying? Where will the waste go? Does the province's power needs justify construction? Is all of this simply the entrepreneurial enthusiasm of a new government desperate for a 'mega-project? Wall would be well advised to be very cautious in this pursuit.

I just read Brad's Wikipedia entry and all I can say is "tough on Saskatchewan".

Unless you get a mutiny from the backbenches, you're stuck with him for the full term.

Not a clue in a closet, that boy.

I find it comically ironic that this should come up on the 29th anniversary of the nuclear accident at Three Mile Island.

Whooee! The nuke industry is not self-sustaining. Without billions of dollars of taxpayer funded subsidies, the nuke industry would wither and die an natural death. We've been propping it up for decades based on unfulfilled promises of cheap, abundant energy and promises of effective methods of dealing with nuclear waste.

Here in Ontariariario, Ginty wants to spend another $40 billion on new nukes. Nevermind that we're still paying for billions in cost overruns from existing projects.

Uranium mining is not environmentally friendly. Neither is uranium refining. Ask the people around Elliot Lake or Port Hope.

When the total life cycle is considered, nuclear energy is not going to reduce GHG emissions or do a thing for climate change.

A good portion of the subsidies we lavish on the nuke industry goes to pay for lobbying. We're paying the industry so it can lobby us to dole out more corporate welfare.

I hear tell that, along with uranium, there's plenty of wind, sunshine and river water in Saskatchewan.


Nuclear power is in now way a safe or environmentally friendly means of generating power. Besides the danger of accidents such as Chernobyl or Three Mile Island there is the storage of nuclear wastes for the forseeable future:

Nuclear Waste
Nuclear waste is produced in many different ways. There are wastes produced in the reactor core, wastes created as a result of radioactive contamination, and wastes produced as a byproduct of uranium mining, refining, and enrichment. The vast majority of radiation in nuclear waste is given off from spent fuel rods.
A typical reactor will generate 20 to 30 tons of high-level nuclear waste annually. There is no known way to safely dispose of this waste, which remains dangerously radioactive until it naturally decays.
The rate of decay of a radioactive isotope is called its half-life, the time in which half the initial amount of atoms present takes to decay. The half-life of Plutonium-239, one particularly lethal component of nuclear waste, is 24,000 years.
The hazardous life of a radioactive element (the length of time that must elapse before the material is considered safe) is at least 10 half-lives. Therefore, Plutonium-239 will remain hazardous for at least 240,000 years.
There is a current proposal to dump nuclear waste at Yucca Mountain, Nevada.
The plan is for Yucca Mountain to hold all of the high level nuclear waste ever produced from every nuclear power plant in the US. However, that would completely fill up the site and not account for future waste.
Transporting the wastes by truck and rail would be extremely dangerous...."

Many early critics of nuclear power were free market promoters who pointed out that
nuclear power needed govt. subsidies to be economically viable.

Dear Mr. Wall

As a former resident of Saskatchewan, I must raise my voice against the short sighted vision and grave errors in judgment being made by your party as regards the proposed nuclear power plant near Lake Diefenbaker, Saskatchewan.

This nuclear power plant is being planned for a region where my family has homesteaded and worked the land for four generations. It has the potential to permanently contaminate the regional water supply of the South Saskatchewan River and Lake Diefenbaker, not to mention endangering the health of generations of Saskatchewan residents. In addition, the proposed location of this environmental, health and economic calamity is in the centre of a major food producing region that exports an astounding volume of commodities that eventually will end up on your dinner table.

If you proceed with this plan you can be sure to be remembered as the premier and party who let short term profit motives blur a long term vision of stewardship of clean water, clean land, and health for future generations of Saskatchewan citizens.

Lake Diefenbaker is a prairie jewel of agricultural, historical, and environmental importance; the South Saskatchewan River and Qu’Appelle Valley are among the increasingly rare clean, empty, and beautiful places left on the planet. A nuclear power plant in this region would ensure that these agricultural, historical, and environmental resources would be contaminated in one generation.

Do you really want that on your record?

Be assured that as part of the family that won the privilege and the responsibility for land stewardship around Lake Diefenbaker generations ago, we will do everything in our power to stop this project.

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