Nuclear power plants are hugely expensive, notoriously unreliable and potentially deadly, say people involved in provincewide publicity campaign.
Members of the Coalition for a Nuclear Free Alberta met with reporters on Monday to launch a campaign opposing nuclear energy and promoting other means of generating power.
In Red Deer, three members of the Council of Canadians chose the solar panels at Kerry Wood Nature Centre as the backdrop for their presentation.
It’s a “perfect example” of how electricity can be generated safely and sustainably, said Ken Collier, president of the Council’s Red Deer chapter.
Accompanied by jazz musician Ross Dabrusin and social work student Priscilla Ristau, Collier described wind, solar and hydro as safe, economical and reliable forms of power generation.
Nuclear power is none of the above, said Dabrusin, citing a report describing 350 accidents worldwide in the past 40 years.
Accidents range from the major meltdowns at Three Mile Island and Chornobyl to the recent irradiation of a worker who was improperly transporting radioactive materials.
The government has only $75 million to pay for damages in the event of a nuclear accident, and residential insurance companies don’t cover them at all, said Dabrusin.
One of the biggest dangers of nuclear plants is that the waste remains toxic for thousands of years and there is no way to safely dispose of it, he said.
“It would be like creating a household and having to keep all of your garbage in your house, because no one had told you where to put it. That’s what the nuclear industry is. They’ve got all this garbage that is lethal to the nth degree.”
While by-products of nuclear power generation are used to make medical isotopes, there are other, safer ways to produce those products, said Collier. The isotopes can be made in a secure lab that is smaller than a university professor’s office, he said.
Dabrusin believes that the majority of Albertans have not made up their minds about nuclear energy. He and his colleagues in the coalition hope to convince both the people and the government that nuclear power is a bad choice for the province.
In charge of the Red Deer campaign, Ristau is distributing information cards and the two-tone green ribbons that the campaign has adopted. Ribbons are being distributed in exchange for donations of at least $2, which covers the cost of producing them, said Ristau.
For more information, visit keepalbertanuclearfree.com or call Northern Alberta representative Mandy Melnyk in Edmonton at 780-532-0013.