----- What is it about March?
Specifically, March 11 is the anniversary of the Fukushima tsunami and nuclear disaster. March 28 is the anniversary of the Three Mile Island nuclear disaster. Three Mile Island, in Pennsylvania, remains the USA's worst nuclear melt-down, but, positively, that big mistake resulted in changes to nuclear safety around the world.
But not safe enough, apparently. By 2011, the Fukushima disaster dwarfed Three Mile Island: that site still remains hot and active after ten years (as is Chernobyl), with authorities estimating another 30 to 40 years to remove the radioactive debris. Tens of thousands of people remain exiled from their homes, schools and businesses.
One of the lessons from these still-burning disasters is that, even with all the expertise in the world, with all the money Japan and the US could mobilize, those reactors and their installations were not capable of withstanding a very common natural event, a tsunami in Japan. Since then, Switzerland has ended its nuclear energy program; Germany likewise. These nations represent pinnacles of science and technology; they have almost unlimited funds to invest in safety measures. Yet the worst-case happened, and in each case, it was far worse than even scientists had imagined.
Fast forward to today and we find our own nation, Canada, planning to re-embark on another leg of its one-legged race to nuclear development. And this big jump in untested nuclear technologies and radioactive transport is planned just upstream from our own city.
The Feds have outrageous plans to turn these new, untested nuclear projects over to the private sector. Did I say, SNC Lavalin? What is this federal government's commitment to that disreputable corporation (with its multi-million-dollar bribery conviction)? SNC Lavalin cannot even deliver a smoothly functioning urban railway to Ottawa, yet we plan to entrust them with designing, building, stocking, and monitoring the largest "pile" of radioactive waste in the world, along the Ottawa River.
Is a crime being planned here? To experiment with massive amounts of radioactive waste (15 football fields/eight storeys high) with untested technology (a "geo-fabric" to enclose and store radiating materials for the next hundred thousand years) – despite all the alarm from the world's international regulatory agencies?
And why? Nuclear is NOT cheaper than modern hydroelectric-solar-wind power generation. The plan is NOT safe (say international regulators) – and it is being overseen (sort of) by our national regulator, widely seen as captured by its corporate clients. Nuclear power cannot be ramped up in time to meet Canada's international commitments, and there still is no solution, absolutely no solution, for disposing of super-toxic nuclear waste!
This column is scratching the surface. For more expert opinion, check out https://www.hilltimes.com/2021/03/03/who-will-fix-canadas-nuclear-governance-gaps-citizens-groups/285921.
What are we missing? Especially those of us with children and grandchildren living downstream from this disaster waiting to happen?