Canadians reject federal funding of small modular nuclear reactors
Public interest groups across Canada are criticizing the federal government for funding development of prototype small modular nuclear reactors (SMR) with the SMR action plan.
“Not a penny should go from taxpayers to nuclear corporations when the private sector is not willing to fund the huge cost of these dirty, dangerous technologies,” said Prof. Susan O'Donnell from the Coalition for Responsible Energy Development in New Brunswick. “Canada needs to take real climate action by investing in renewable energy and energy efficiency, not nuclear experiments.”
Gordon Edwards, President of the Canadian Coalition for Nuclear Responsibility, commented, “This is a waste of money. Plus even more ‘get-out-of-jail free’ cards for the nuclear industry, like exempting small reactors from the Impact Assessment Act.”
Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources Seamus O’Regan (is offering) private companies from USA & UK millions to develop experimental reactors. Such federal funding is opposed by over 70 citizen groups from coast to coast. The Assembly of First Nations unanimously resolved in December 2018 “that the Government cease funding and support of the Small Modular Nuclear Reactors program”.
Shawn-Patrick Stensil, Greenpeace Canada, added that new nuclear technologies have been promised for forty years, but despite massive public subsidies, that prospect has never panned out.
Next-generation nuclear reactors are a dirty, dangerous distraction from tackling the climate crisis. Nuclear energy is not green, not clean, too costly and too slow to build," added Kerrie Blaise, of the Canadian Environmental Law Association.
The groups charge that the federal government is trying to save the nuclear industry rather than the environment. They argue that Small Modular Reactor (SMR) development is too slow to address the climate crisis, SMRs are far more expensive than renewable energy, nuclear power creates fewer jobs than renewable energy, and SMRs are dirty and dangerous
The federal government has never consulted the public about small modular reactors, which would create environmental risks and financial liabilities for Canadians.
Theresa A. McClenaghan, CELA, Montréal
Eva Schacherl, Ottawa