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Although currently Alberta remains free of nuclear power plants, there has been significant discussion in recent years of developing alternative energy sources, including nuclear energy, throughout the province.

In particular, there was a proposal by Bruce Power to construct a nuclear power plant outside of Peace River, AB to help provide energy for oilsands expansion. This proposal was withdrawn in December 2011, but undoubtedly future proposals will be submitted.

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    Nuclear power is associated with severe environmental impacts, including but not limited to the following:

    • Waste: Each stage of the production process generates large amounts of radioactive and otherwise hazardous wastes. No proven solution exists for dealing with these wastes, which in some cases will require care and monitoring, no matter how deeply buried, for hundreds of thousands of years.
    • Water: Nuclear power generation (e.g., uranium mines and mills) pollutes surface and groundwater with radioactive and hazardous pollutants. Most nuclear reactors require large amounts of cooling water and are generally located near rivers, lakes or oceans.
    • Air: Significant releases of hazardous air pollutants, some causing acid rain, occur throughout the process of mining and producing uranium fuel for nuclear power stations.
    • Greenhouse Gases: Contrary to the claims of nuclear proponents, greenhouse gases, particularly carbon dioxide, are produced at each stage of the nuclear energy cycle, including during construction of reactors; operation of uranium mining equipment; milling of uranium ore; mill tailings management activities; refining and conversion operations; transportation of uranium between milling; refining and conversion facilities; and transportation of radioactive wastes. Uranium mining is one of the most CO2 intensive industrial operations and as demand for uranium grows because of new electricity generation and new plant construction, CO2 levels will also rise.
    • Public Safety: Although proponents claim that the chance of a nuclear accident is extremely low, if such an event did occur, few would dispute the fact that the damage to both human lives and the environment on which we depend would be colossal.

     

    Nuclear Power Plant (from Wikipedia)

    Position

    Due to the serious environmental and economic risks of nuclear energy, AWA believes that nuclear power development is not consistent with the maintenance of wilderness or with healthy, economically diverse, and sustainable human communities. Safer, cheaper, and more reliable options should be pursued to generate power.

    June 27, 2007

    AWA Position Statement: Nuclear Power in Alberta’s Oil Sands

    AWA Position Statement on Nuclear Power in Alberta’s Oil Sands.Due to the serious environmental and…

    Read more »

When citizens and their representatives in government fail to place a high value on wilderness as a resource in itself, then its disappearance – especially in reasonably accessible locations – is swift and certain.
- Bruce M. Litteljohn and Douglas H. Pimlott, “Why Wilderness?”, 1971
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