March 9, 2012

Fukushima – what have we learned, and where do we go from here?

It has been a year since an earthquake and tsunami hit the Tokyo Electric nuclear station in Fukushima Japan. This disaster exposed some serious technical shortcomings – including inadequate back-up power supplies (the very issue Canada’s nuclear regulator Linda Keen was fired for drawing attention to). Nuclear accidents happen. Today, radiation continues to leak from Fukushima, the ocean surrounding the plant is contaminated, thousands of residents are still barred from returning to their homes, and the health and social impacts on tens of thousands of Japanese citizens are just starting to become apparent. Our hearts extend to our Japanese kin.

The lessons of Fukushima were clear enough for countries around the world to halt nuclear expansion plans and begin moving to safer and less costly energy sources. Germany, Belgium, Switzerland, Italy and Japan have all declared that they intend to end nuclear power use.

And then there is Ontario, where the government is stubbornly bulldozing ahead with plans to spend up to $80 billion on 10 new and rebuilt nuclear reactors. While they issue the usual platitudes about how “different” and “safe” Ontario ‘s nuclear reactors are, the real world evidence shows that nuclear industry claims of miniscule risk are just hot (and often radioactive) air. Ontario itself is home to one of the world’s first nuclear accidents at Chalk River in 1952. Seven Ontario reactors were shutdown in the 1990s when it was revealed that they had major safety shortcomings. Clinging to the myth that nuclear is “safe” is a recipe for disaster, as the Japanese can now sadly attest.

Which is why ignoring safer, cheaper options for meeting our electricity needs makes no sense. Ontario has no shortage of other ways to keep its lights on – from hydro imports from Quebec to local combined heat and power plants, in addition to conservation and made-in-Ontario renewables – yet our government insists on wasting billions on nuclear plants that never perform as promised, always cost vastly more than projected, and put Ontarians’ health and economy at risk.

Let’s open our eyes to the lessons from Japan and join the growing list of jurisdictions abandoning nuclear power. Help us move this province to a renewable and efficient energy future by supporting our new campaign to block new nuclear spending. Your donation is your way of demonstrating to our government that Ontarians do not want to be one of the last places left still pursuing the nuclear folly, especially when safer, cleaner, less expensive energy options exist.

Thank you for your support.

– Angela Bischoff

P.S. If you’re in Toronto, join us for these Fukushima anniversary events.

  1. Nuke Night – Double Feature 2 superb films: From Chernobyl to Fukushima: A Campaigners Journey and The 4th Revolution: Energy Autonomy plus speakers. March 16, Toronto
  2. From Fukushima to Toronto: A Town Hall Mar. 18, Toronto: Workshops, panels, discussions
  3. Shadowlands: From Chernobyl to Fukushima – photo exhibit, Toronto


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