Vol. 2 No. 5 "India is the cradle of the human race... " - Mark Twain
December 2007 "Canada is one of the oldest federations the planet still has up and running." - Roy MacGregor
On Conservatives Nuclear Agenda and Need for Transparency
BY SURESH JAURA * (IDN)
Natural Resources Minister Gary Lunn announced Canada's decision to join the Global Nuclear Energy Partnership (GNEP) in a statement released on November 29. He insisted Canadian industry would benefit from the deal.
GNEP is an exclusive club that was set up by the Bush administration to promote nuclear energy and reduce the amount of radioactive waste that is stored in the United States.
"The global nuclear energy partnership that we are signing on to is a voluntary agreement to actually expand technology, to reduce nuclear spent fuel, to reduce or develop technology that is proliferation-resistant," Lunn said. "This is very important. Canada is a serious player, the largest producer of uranium of any other country in the world."
Prime Minister Stephen Harper's government is insisting that Canada won't turn into a dumping ground for radioactive waste.
"We made it unequivocally clear that we will, under no circumstances, ever accept any nuclear spent fuel back from any other country," Minister Lunn told the Commons on November 30. "So this is a good initiative and Canada should be at the table to ensure that we have a voice."
Leader Stephane Dion pointed out that South Africa declined to
join the global nuclear energy partnership because it was afraid
of becoming a dumping ground for radioactive waste created through
its nuclear exports.
minister can always say Canada won't be obliged to recycle the
waste, but it's funny that South Africa refused (to join the
group) for this reason," Dion said in an interview. "So
we don't really have confidence in the (Harper) government's
assurances" that Canada will not become a waste dumping
Bloc Quebecois and New Democrats expressed similar concerns,
calling for a debate and a vote in Parliament.
energy is prohibitively expensive," said NDP Leader Jack
Layton during question period. "It takes too long to bring
online. It will not stop climate change. It is dangerous because
of the waste product and, furthermore, national security should be
a key part of the discussion. After all, India's nuclear weapons
program got started with a research reactor from Canada, so there
is a great deal that must be debated."
is absolutely unacceptable that this government would join the
GNEP without first holding public consultations”, said Omar
Alghabra, Liberal Natural Resources Critic.
“As the largest uranium producer in the world, this
initiative could have huge implications for Canada.”
is already struggling to decide how to safely handle our own
nuclear waste, and this Conservative government may have signed us
up to become the world’s largest nuclear waste dump,” said
Lunn has also announced that his government will be conducting a
review of Atomic Energy of Canada Limited (AECL), that could
potentially lead to its privatization. AECL is the federal crown
corporation, set up in 1952, that designs and markets CANDU
Leader Stéphane Dion has already called on the Prime Minister to
appoint a blue ribbon panel to give expert advice on the future of
AECL, with full public input and discussion.
“This Conservative government must bring transparency to their nuclear agenda by holding full consultations before any further action is taken,” said Alghabra.
* This is a re-write of reports from different sources.
IDN is an acronym for GlobalomMedia's InDepthNews Service