Editorial in today's Times & Transcript:
Nuclear waste in N.B. unacceptable
Times & Transcript, Published Friday May 8th, 2009
Premier Shawn Graham, Energy Minister Jack Keir and every other politician
of whatever stripe in New Brunswick need to be told and to clearly
understand that New Brunswickers do not want and will not accept a national
nuclear waste dump in this province no matter how deep underground, how
many jobs it creates or how many glib assurances are given about its safety.
Premier Graham has refused to just say "no" to the idea, and as the Nuclear
Waste Management Organization prepares to hold public "information"
meetings in New Brunswick to find out if the public thinks the "process"
proposed for determining a permanent nuclear waste dump site is "fair" and
"appropriate," Minister Keir has said "Whatever they do, I want to make
sure they do it right and that it's in the interest of Canadians, not just
The premier and Mr. Keir were elected by New Brunswickers to look after New
Brunswick's best interests. There is no reason why the province should
"take one for Canada" on this issue. The province is simply an unsuitable
location. It is geographically small, well populated and though not without
environmental issues, still relatively environmentally healthy. To leave
the door open to nuclear waste flies in the face of the premier's own
"green" policies and initiatives.
Bureaucratic talk of "process"is misleading. It can be the best process in
the world, but it will make no difference if the outcome is unacceptable.
This is a time-honoured way to try to keep people quiet or co-opt them and
move things along until it is too late for the public to stop a project.
There is no reason for New Brunswick to play along.
These efforts also highlight the increasingly clear fact that nuclear power
(and our premier is working hard towards a second reactor even though the
first continues to be costly, its refit is well behind schedule and it will
cause power rates to rise again) is not a cost effective energy answer. The
underground waste dump is expected to cost from $16-24 billion just to
build. That massive amount must be included in any calculation on the costs
of nuclear power. And expect the cost to rise substantially by the time any
decision is made.
New Brunswickers have correctly and overwhelmingly rejected uranium mines,
even if the government hasn't. They will reject a national nuclear waste
dump too. It is time for our leaders to listen and just say "no, not here,
end of discussion" on both issues. If they don't, they can expect a rough
time in coming elections with an ever-increasingly environmentally
JATAM (Jaringan Advokasi Tambang/Mining Advocacy Network)