March 12, 2010
Increasing the risk of nuclear war brings us back to climate change. Recent scientific research details the climatic impacts of nuclear warfare. The use of 100 weapons in nuclear warfare — just 0.03 per cent of the explosive power of the world's nuclear arsenal — would result directly in catastrophic climate change with many millions of tonnes of black, sooty smoke lofted high into the stratosphere. Needless to say the social and environmental impacts would be horrendous. – Scott Ludlam
Whether we like it or not, we all live near nuclear power plants. The mining of uranium and its processing and usage raises the background levels of radioactivity and this causes genetic damage worldwide. The good news is that nuclear is too expensive and too slow and the P.R fiction of the so-called "nuclear renaissance" put out by the industry will never happen. Real clean renewable energy will bypass the reactors, Obama's political decision notwithstanding. - Wolfe Erlichman
Thud. You hear that sound? That’s the sound of nearly half a billion taxpayer dollars landing on the doorstep of Atomic Energy Canada Ltd.
Rudolph said the throne speech talked about the need to become a clean energy superpower and lead in green job creation, but the government is moving in the opposite direction. And nuclear power, he said, won’t achieve either objective in the near term. “There is nothing ‘shovel ready’ about investing in nuclear technology,” said Rudolph, pointing out the long timeframes required for regulatory approvals.
… Still, as the Pembina Institute points out, the United States plans to outspend Canada 14-to-1 per capita on renewable energy and 2-to-1 on energy efficiency in fiscal 2010. Even then, there’s concern by some south of the border that the United States isn’t doing enough compared to China and some countries in Europe.
"Basically it means the federal government has no policy to encourage renewable energy whatsoever," Estill said. "That's shocking, isn't it?"
The throne speech this week said the government will continue investment in clean energy technologies, but the federal budget suggests the Tory vision relies on nuclear energy, which will receive $300 million this year, and cutting emissions from the oil and gas sector.
Critics say that nuclear power plants and technology to trap carbon emissions from the oilsands underground, an $800 million initiative announced in 2009, will take years to produce tangible environmental benefits. Renewable energy projects, in contrast, can be up and running just months after project approvals are completed.
When the Canadian government put money into environmental initiatives to stimulate the flagging economy, it focused on capturing the carbon emissions from the oil and gas industries and building “green” infrastructure like hydro transmission lines, landfills and sewage systems.
Other governments around the world, meanwhile, channelled their investments into the commercial development of renewable energy technologies. For some of them, this was not a new venture.
5 minute youtube video - Bria and Robin take on the nuclear power industry. (a RAN Video)
The $1.4-billion refurbishment of the Point Lepreau nuclear reactor in New Brunswick is continuing to miss deadlines set by Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd
The federal and provincial governments have been locked in a war of words over who should cover the costs of the delays, which the New Brunswick government says are the fault of AECL.
The Point Lepreau project is the world's first refurbishment of a Candu-6 facility, and AECL had hoped it would act as a model process that could be sold to other countries that purchased the same kind of reactor.
In making the case for a rapid conversion away from heavily polluting energy sources like coal and nuclear power to cleaner generation, renewable energy advocates often confront the argument that their scheme is impossible due to the intermittent nature of sun and wind.
But a groundbreaking study out of North Carolina challenges that conventional wisdom: It suggests that backup generation requirements would be modest for a system based largely on solar and wind power, combined with efficiency, hydroelectric power, and other renewable sources like landfill gas.
British Columbia's quest to replace Ontario as the top destination for clean-energy investment dollars will now be headed up directly by Premier Gordon Campbell.
Ontario's new energy pricing strategy has left B.C. behind, with new contracts expected to be rolled out in the coming weeks under its "feed-in tariff" policy guaranteeing prices and long-term contracts for green power.
The B.C. Premier plans to introduce a new Clean Energy Act this spring to exploit his province's beetle-killed forests as a bioenergy alternative, and to open up new energy trading opportunities across Western Canada and into the U.S.
The OPA has just announced its first release of approved FIT (feed-in-tariff) applications for capacity allocation exempt facilities.
510 projects approved range from 10 kilowatts to 500 kilowatts and have a total generating capacity of 112 megawatts.
About 95 percent of the projects are for solar generation. The remaining projects are biogas (20), water (4), onshore wind (3) and biomass (1).
Notable on the list was Loblaw Companies Limited, Canada’s largest grocery retailer, which has been approved for FIT applications for rooftop solar installations on 136 of its Ontario stores. The grocery retailer will initially launch four pilot projects in select stores across the province and then evaluate the next phase of rollouts.
The list of approved projects is available here:
The OPA press release is available here:
The Ontario Power Authority (OPA) reports that 40 MW of solar photovoltaic (PV) contracts were in commercial operation by the end of 2009 – about enough electricity for some 4,000 typical Ontario homes for the next 20 – 30 years. In a few short months Ontario has become a major market for solar PV in North America.
A Toronto startup has come up with a way to put solar power systems on the rooftops of new homes at no cost to the owners. In fact, the homeowner would get paid to let it happen.
By Amory B. Lovins, Imran Sheikh, and Alex Markevich
Isn’t it time we forgot about nuclear power? Informed capitalists have. Politicians and pundits should too. After more than half a century of devoted effort and a half-trillion dollars of public subsidies, nuclear power still can’t make its way in the market. If we accept that unequivocal verdict, we can at last get on with the best buys first: proven and ample ways to save more carbon per dollar, faster, more surely, more securely, and with wider consensus. As often before, the biggest key to a sound climate and security strategy is to take market economics seriously.
For those of you interested in learning more about nuke power, here are some highly recommended books:
In Mortal Hands - a cautionary history of the nuclear age by Stephanie Cooke, Bloomsbury, New York, 2009.
Atomic Accomplice - how Canada deals in deadly deceit, by Paul McKay, privately published, 2009 (You can order this through email@example.com - $20 plus $3 postage)
Uranium - war, energy and the rock that shaped the world, by Tom Zoellner, Viking, 2009.
Order them from a book store or better yet, get your local library to order them.
With keynote speaker Jack Gibbons of the Ontario Clean Air Alliance
Monday March 15th, 5 - 6 p.m.
Room GB120 in the Galbraith Building, 35 St. George St. (just above College), U of T, Toronto
Sponsored by: Ontario Centre for Engineering and Public Policy
A public forum on effective social change. Learn from successful social movements.
Thursday March 18, 7:30 PM
Friends House, 60 Lowther Ave, (St. George subway station) Toronto
With Lyn Adamson, Angela Bischoff and others
Free. For more info: firstname.lastname@example.org
Ontario now has a large surplus of coal-free electricity and according to the Independent Electricity System Operator it will stay that way between now and the official coal phase out deadline of 2014. That means that Ontario can stop burning coal today and avoid releasing millions of tonnes of greenhouse gases and air polluting emissions simply by putting our remaining dirty coal plants on standby reserve.
This would be an excellent way to demonstrate to the world at the G20 Summit in June that Ontario is serious about meeting its greenhouse gas emission reduction targets and that Canadians do care about climate change.
By not operating our coal plants except in the case of a true power emergency, we can proudly point to a major climate achievement when the world gathers on our doorstep in June!
Help us get the word out about this magnificent climate opportunity – order pamphlets, with postcards addressed to Premier McGuinty, to distribute to your friends, family and community calling for Ontario’s coal plants to be put on standby reserve immediately. Order now – they’re FREE! And thank you so much for helping us help the planet.