by Rick Maltese
Energy is fundamental to human survival and prosperity. It has been and always will be. The quality of life depends on the kind of energy we use and how we regulate it. 85% of Ontario’s energy is emission free. Nuclear provides 60% and hydro provides 25%. But wind and solar energy are not always available. We need natural gas to fill in the gaps. That releases large amounts of CO2.
Climate scientists and ecologists who endorse nuclear energy are calling on us to action to reverse climate change. These environmentalists have concluded that to prevent the threat to species extinction and quality of life issues that nuclear energy is the only solution. We need zero greenhouse gas emissions. Only nuclear can be scaled fast enough and robustly enough to be able to replace the abundant energy that coal currently provides.
In order for wind and solar to take on the role of replacing coal it would require more raw materials than are available worldwide. Also, natural gas has been known to leak. Being a much stronger green house gas it only takes a 7% leakage rate to equal the CO2 emissions of coal.
To answer what should be done with nuclear waste we now have new companies like Ontario’s Terrestrial Energy showing us the potential for how new nuclear designs that are even safer than already “very-safe” technology, will provide a way to take spent used nuclear fuel as an excellent source of energy.
Refurbishing reactors is really a complete upgrade easily doubling their lifespan. No other energy source gets so scrutinized and as a result they are the safest long-lasting energy sources available.
Has anybody asked Quebec if they are willing to create another lake the size of Belgium to provide the hydro power needed by Ontario? The answer would be no.
The Dalai Lama, James Hansen and countless scientists who support nuclear energy indicate that acceptance is a matter of education. Once we get over the irrational fears of radiation and false connections to nuclear weapons we can then consider how nuclear energy can make a better future.