Alberta Oil Sands Nuclear Power

not expecting a knight to lead a real nuclear debate.

Regular readers will have noticed that I have remained quite skeptical about the expansion and development of nuclear power in Alberta (and I’m not the only one). Unfortunately, as is the case with many important public interest issues in Alberta, the expansion of nuclear power (partially to fuel the already dirty oilsands operations) is not getting the attention or critical debate that it deserves (care to theorize why this could be?).

Over the past couple months, I have written a number of posts on why I believe nuclear expansion is short-sighted move that could have long-term concequences for Albertans long after the private companies involved come and go (unless those companies plan on sticking around to deal with the nuclear leftovers for the next 10,000 years). In order to provide some balance to the nuclear debate on this blog, I am happy to post a link to some intelligent commentary from William Tucker. Tucker will be posting a three-part series on nuclear energy for on the New York Times’ Freakonomics blog. You can read Tucker’s first post here.

2008 Alberta Provincial Election Climate Change Ed Stelmach Nuclear Power

alberta’s green plan: what’s the point?

After taking a look at the recently released Alberta Tory green plan, it’s pretty clear that only a trained monkey (or the staunchest Tory partisan) would be running to the front lines to defend and promote it as the great green hope of the Province of Alberta. Here’s what I’ve gathered from a look at the report released by Ed Stelmach yesterday:

1) Alberta will allow greenhouse gas emissions to rise until 2020 (for another 12 years).

2) Alberta will deliver a 14-per-cent cut in emissions over 2005 levels by 2050 (something for Ed Stelmach to celebrate at his 99th Birthday party!)

3) The Tories will create a council of government and industry officials to to study studies which have been studied by government and industry study groups before before, which they will use to create a new study.

4) Ed Stelmach‘s Tories like pretty pictures, because this document is 70% pretty pictures.

5) The announcement also mentioned future investment in wind and solar power, but failed to mention anything about the Tories recent love-in with Nuclear power and the controversial proposed Nuclear power facility in Peace River. Why was this left out?

6) And lastly, it says quite a bit about the Stelmach Tories’ green plan when Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper is taking a stronger stance on climate change

Alberta’s greenhouse gas targets lag far behind the federal government’s commitment to cut emissions 20 per cent below 2006 levels by 2020, and 60 to 70 per cent by 2050.

Ottawa plans to stop the rise of greenhouse gas emissions within five years, whereas Alberta is looking at 12 years.

If you’re going to the job seriously, why bother at all? Today’s Edmonton Journal editorial said it all:

The government’s vague announcement sets weak long-term targets, proposes little concrete action and calls for yet another industry-government council to figure out how to build a carbon-capture-and-storage network.

Alberta can and should be a leader in fighting climate change, instead, our Tory government has chosen quiet complacency and mediocrity. Maybe this is what happens after 36-years in power?

David Swann Nuclear Power


Calgary-Mountain View Alberta Liberal MLA David Swann has some interesting thoughts on today’s Peace River nuclear power plant announcement.

Now, being skeptical about nuclear power is one thing (and another issue that I plan to elaborate further in a future post), but the secrecy surrounding who the plant’s largest customer will be is another bizarre story:

Bold plans to bring nuclear power to northern Alberta were unveiled Tuesday, but just exactly who’ll be using most of the megawatts remained a mystery even to many in the oilpatch.

It’s assumed that Energy Alberta Corp.’s proposed $6.2-billion project to put a Candu twin reactor in the sparsely populated Peace River area in the province’s northwestern corner is all about the oilsands, which require an immense amount of energy to squeeze oil from the ground.

The company and its partners said Tuesday that about 70 per cent of the 2,200 megawatts of electricity will be going to “one large, industrial off-taker” but declined to name names.

“At this time we’re not going to discuss those arrangements,” said Dale Coffin, spokesman for Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd., which is teaming up with Energy Alberta to build Canada’s first new nuclear power in nearly 25 years.