OTTAWA – POLITICS — The Green Party of Canada is challenging a plan by the premiers of Saskatchewan, Ontario and New Brunswick to invest in Small Modular Nuclear Reactors (SMNRs). Premiers Scott Moe, Doug Ford, and Blaine Higgs propose that SMNRs will replace the carbon tax as a cost-effective way to reduce carbon emissions.
“This is not a solution to the climate crisis,” said Green Party Interim Leader Jo-Ann Roberts. “Going the nuclear route is not viable. Not only is it far too expensive but it delays reducing greenhouse gases (GHGs) for far too long. This is just another way to flush taxpayer dollars down the drain and delay investing in renewables.”
It was revealed last week that Premier Ford’s decision to shut down renewable energy installations will cost Ontario taxpayers more than $231 million. The price tag for the three provinces’ investment in SMNRs would be $27 billion, and could only be achieved with considerable subsidies from the federal government. It needs to be noted that SMNRs does not currently exist as a viable technology and would take up to ten years to build.
“This is an absurd proposal,” said Green Party Parliamentary Leader Elizabeth May (MP, Saanich-Gulf Islands). “Imagine if we immediately invested $27 billion into solar, wind, small scale hydro and geothermal. Technologies that are ready to go. Renewables are far cheaper than nuclear without the toxic waste. Exploring a new untried reactor is just another way of delaying climate action. These three premiers already have an existing nuclear industry in their provinces and are heavily influenced by a strong nuclear lobby. New Brunswick went ahead with Point Lepreau at a massive cost and financial risk, despite the NB Public Utilities Commission recommending against it. Taking $27 billion for untried reactors has an enormous opportunity cost in failing to invest in more proven renewable energy, slashing GHGs and creating far more new jobs.”
Jenica Atwin (MP, Fredericton) is concerned that it will take far too long to experiment with potentially dangerous technology when there is existing technology that can help us transition to a clean economy without compromising our already fragile future.
“We are facing a climate crisis now, and we have adequate solutions to shift our energy demand and production to renewable sources immediately,” said Ms. Atwin. “Gambling with risky investments like modular nuclear reactors, particularly with public money, is not the path forward. In New Brunswick, we have incredible companies and organizations that are primed and ready to lead the transition to a renewable, green economy that respects workers and the planet.”