Forum - Op-ed errors deplorable

Saskatoon Star Phoenix
9 June 2009
Vincent Tume

Re: Half-truths on reactor deplorable (SP, June 4). Polarization seems to have rendered an open and honest debate about nuclear power virtually impossible, but let's at least get some facts straight.

I cannot comment on what Bruce Power has or hasn't said in Saskatchewan, but some of the mistakes in Jean-Pierre Ducasse's Op-ed are also deplorable.

The 1.75 trillion barrels of oil he suggests would be produced by TransCanada is almost twice as much as has been pumped out of the ground in the entire world since 1850. Burning 1.75 trillion barrels of oil would generate about 150 billion tonnes of CO2, about 280,000 times higher than the number he quoted, not to mention about 3,500 times the total annual global release of greenhouse gases.

To allay unwarranted fears that nuclear reactors might contaminate drinking water sources, Bruce Power went the "extra mile" by publicly stating it will not build the reactor near aquifers, wells or endangered species. Ducasse uses Bruce Power's sensitivity to environmental concerns as evidence that the reactors are dangerous.

When Ontario announced in 2007 that new nuclear reactors would be built, tens of thousands of people in Bruce County and the Municipality of Clarington signed petitions to have the reactors located in their community. Clarington won.

Like Ducasse, many of these people have young children too, and I am sure they love their children no less. However, they have had years of experience living with nuclear power. They know, for example, that power reactors release about one-tenth as much radioactivity as do the coal-burning plants Saskatchewan currently relies on.

Vincent Tume
Society of Professional Engineers & Associates