Commentary by Sam Arnold, Fredericton Gleaner 31 August 2020
Mr. Kevin Vickers has joined Blaine Higgs in singing their praise of unproven small modular nuclear reactors even though they are at least fifteen years away from going into service. More likely, they never will go into service.
For the sake of present and future generations, already proven means to curb the climate crisis must be launched quickly. Fifteen years is much too long to wait for so-called small modular reactors to come online. They will cost untold millions of dollars to produce and will create additional costs from the radioactive waste that future generations will inherit from us.
According to the Energy Policy Tracker website, Canada has granted more than $12 billion into supporting the fossil fuel industry since the COVID pandemic began, but only about $2 billion into clean energy. And, we expect Ottawa will sink well over $1 billion into the highly questionable new nuclear projects in New Brunswick and Ontario to keep the costly nuclear industry going.
Efficiency Canada found that investing in energy efficiency could result in a net increase of 3,460 jobs per year in New Brunswick. Creating good jobs retrofitting homes and buildings around the province can reduce heating and cooling costs for owners while reducing CO2 emissions that are driving climate change. With government incentives these measures can begin promptly.
If Premier Higgs is sincere about making the provincial economy healthier and getting the financial house in order, he should be focusing on needed solutions, like renewable energy and efficiency, legislating the Climate Change Action Plan and the Environmental Bill of Rights, and stop gambling on unproven and immoral nuclear technology.
In the months ahead both the Conservative and Liberal parties should work with the Green Party to create a better, safer and healthier future for New Brunswick – without more nuclear.
Sustainable Energy Group