Response to “Lights Out for Nuclear Power?”

September 20, 2013

Article by Jonathon Gatehouse, Maclean’s Magazine
September 16, 2013

September 20, 2013

Maclean’s Magazine
1 Mount Pleasant Road, 11th Floor
Toronto, Ontario
M4Y 2Y5

Dear Editor,

Jonathan Gatehouse (“Lights out for nuclear power?” – Sept. 16) paints an unreasonably bleak picture of nuclear energy’s future.

While Germany has shut down its eight aging nuclear reactors, the rest of the world has embraced nuclear power. Worldwide, 68 reactors are under construction. Another 175 are on order or planned, and proposals have been written to build a further 314. Considering that 432 reactors are operable today, it should be evident that the nuclear industry is flourishing.

Leaders of the developing world clearly see nuclear power as the affordable infrastructure needed to power homes and industries. Moreover, nuclear power stations generate virtually no greenhouse gases, unlike the fossil fuels (coal, natural gas, diesel) that cause climate change.

These leaders correctly understand that a well-regulated nuclear sector like Canada’s will always place safety above all else.  In over 45 years of operation in Canada, there has never been an incident resulting in an injury to the public.

And these leaders grasp that uranium’s price stability, coupled with the ability to spread power-plant construction costs over an operating life approaching 60 years, insulates nuclear power customers from the price instability inherent in the natural gas market.

While today’s natural gas prices at roughly US$3.50 per million BTU have returned to their 30-year average, they doubled that amount in four price spikes over the last decade. In the most volatile spike, they reached $13.63 per million BTU.

Motorists know the story of petroleum prices at the pump. In contrast, the price of nuclear energy is projected to remain stable for several decades.

Here at home, the nuclear industry and its suppliers employ 60,000 Canadians. They provide a reliable electricity supply, and improve the health of Canadians through medical imaging and radiation therapy for cancer treatment. They enable industries like Canadian automotive and aerospace manufacturers to improve their products’ structural integrity, and provide the cornerstone of a 21st-century advanced economy.

Reliable, affordable, safe, low-carbon electric power. That’s nuclear energy today and well into the future.

Yours sincerely,

Heather Kleb
Interim President and CEO

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