CNA Responds to “Benefits of Nuclear Power Oversold”

September 9, 2011

Last week this Letter to the Editor appeared in the Saskatoon Star Phoenix. We thought we’d take a minute to respond with our own letter. Please take a read:

We have important decisions before us as a country. As provinces look to phase out their reliance on coal-fired plants in favour of cleaner, lower emitting sources, we have an opportunity to invest in new generation capacity to shoulder the needs of today and tomorrow.

Effective energy policy is not about choosing some energy sources and excluding others. Energy policy is about choosing an appropriate balance. And nuclear is an essential element in that equation.

Unlike other sources of energy, the price of nuclear is both stable and affordable. According to studies by the Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development, a multi-national organization working to further growth and development, the overall cost to the consumer of nuclear power over the life of a nuclear power plant is on par with that of large-scale hydro, natural gas and coal, and much lower than wind and solar.

Not only is nuclear energy stable in price, but it’s also a stable source of energy itself. Canada’s nuclear power plants were designed to operate continuously to consistently produce a stable amount of electricity. It complements other forms of generation that operate more intermittently. Wind and solar depend on the wind blowing and the sun shining, while more established forms such as hydro and natural gas tend to run during periods of high demand.

Regarding the management of used nuclear fuel and low- and mid-level waste, our commitment to public safety and environmental stewardship includes the safe, secure and responsible long-term management of all of the used fuel produced by Canadian nuclear power plants. The Nuclear Waste Management Organization (NWMO) was established in 2002 to work with industry, research and government organizations to develop a management plan. The implementation of this plan is highly monitored and regulated by the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission to protect the health, safety and security of people and our environment.

Nuclear generating stations produce a constant, stable amount of energy. Canada’s rich supply of uranium, most of which is mined in Saskatchewan, provides security with respect to the availability and long-term price certainty of nuclear fuel. And generation does not contribute to atmospheric carbon emissions.

In fact, if we were to replace the electricity generated by nuclear power plants in Canada today with the same amount of electricity generated by fossil-based sources, it would add about 90 million tonnes of greenhouse emissions annually.

It’s time we took a moment to consider Canada’s energy future. In committing to nuclear, Canada will be committing to a renewable, environmentally sustainable and economically viable means of energy.

For more information on nuclear power, please visit our association’s website You’re also invited to join the conversation on our TalkNuclear Twitter and Facebook pages, and our TalkNuclear blog.

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