The Canadian government has made a number of disastrous bets on nuclear energy in the past, wasting hundreds of millions of dollars on reactors that don’t work (the infamous Maple nuclear project) and ones that no one wants (Advanced Candu).
Now the government is under pressure from the nuclear industry to fund “small” nuclear reactors that they think can help them deal with the rapidly declining global interest in nuclear power. The problem is that these “small” reactors are just paper concepts, they have all the same waste and security risks of large reactors (and fact, could make the waste problem even worse), and they promise to produce power that will cost 2 to 5 timesmore than power from renewable sources like solar and wind.
They’ve found a booster in federal Natural Resources Minister Seamus O’Regan who has also been keen to spend money on oil pipelines and other energy albatross projects.
We’re hoping that Federal Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland will bring a clearer eye to the risks of wasting money on an energy proposal that is not ready, too expensive and too slow to help us deal with our rapidly accelerating climate crisis.
With the federal budget already under enormous stress from the COVID crisis, why would the federal government want to waste more money on nuclear when renewable solutions are exploding in popularity worldwide thanks to ever better technology and lower costs? Betting on nuclear would be like, well, buying a pipeline that is about to have its construction permits cancelled.
The Trudeau government says it’s serious about meeting Canada’s obligations under the Paris Climate Accord. Wasting money on dangerous distractions won’t get us there.