Ontario Liberals go nuclear, Greenpeace vows to go to the mattresses

The McGuinty government yesterday announced it would address the power supply problem by taking the only sensible course of action available to it: refurbishing laid-up reactors at the Bruce nuclear plant, and building two new reactors at an existing site, probably Darlington

The Liberals thereby became the first North American government in decades to take a firm decision on nuclear power. This is a huge step toward Kyoto, bigger by far than any measure taken in any other North American jurisdiction.

In doing so, the Liberals have incurred the wrath of Greenpeace, the Ontario Clean Air Alliance, and other anti-nuclear, anti-coal groups, who have promised an earth-shaking debate.

I can’t wait.

So far, the anti-nuclear environmentalist contribution to the Ontario electricity debate has been long on politically correct platitudes about renewable and alternative forms of generation coupled with conservation, and short on credible plans for filling the ten-thousand-megawatt gap between electricity demand and supply. There has been almost no regard for actual, believable numbers—either in terms of the amounts of electricity Ontarians need to continue living as an advanced, industrial society in a middle-latitude climate, or the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions associated with electricity generation.

In such a void, anybody can say anything—and they have. But now that the battle is well and truly joined, we’ll see which arguments stand and which collapse from their own internal contradictions.

The anti-nuke, anti-coal crowd is about to find out they can’t suck and blow at the same time. This is a shame. While they played an important role in the effort to get Canada to sign the Kyoto Treaty, mainstream environmentalists have failed utterly to come up with a workable plan to implement it.

The Ontario government yesterday presented a plan that will reduce emissions from electricity by millions of tonnes per year. The supposedly pro-Kyoto environmental movement promised to fight it tooth and nail. Go figure.

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