Nuclear proponent ignores the rest of the uranium story

In the story, A new look at nuclear (SP, Dec. 4), Lyle Krahn persists in repeating the tired nuclear mantra, namely: "I can summarize the advantages of nuclear power in three words—clean, reliable and affordable."

Clean?

Krahn fails to mention the mine tailings which include long-lasting arsenic and radium 226 (with a radioactive half-life of 1,600 years), or thorium 230 (75,900 years). He ignores the fossil fuels used in motors for 10 to 12 years of construction of reactors such as Darlington, and the massive output of carbon emissions that result. He fails to mention that nuclear reactors give off tritium with a radioactive half-life of 13 years, and carbon 14 with a radioactive half-life of 5,730 years. He neglects the wastes from burnt fuel pellets which include some 200 deadly chemicals, including plutonium with a half-life of 24,400 years.

Reliable?

No mention of mechanical or chemical failures like the breakdown of Chalk River's nuclear medicine lab, the shutdown of a Japanese reactor devastated by an earthquake, the shut down of French reactors because of extreme heat and overheated rivers, the recent serious fire at a reactor in Germany, the shutdown last year of seven of the 19 reactors in the United Kingdom for various reasons, the core meltdowns of Three Mile Island and Chernobyl, and the many accidents and near misses that have been catalogued around the world.

Affordable?

Nuclear reactors cost billions of dollars. The new reactor currently being built in Finland is already two years behind schedule and 50 per cent over budget. How does Krahn have the gall to keep parroting such misinformation?

Bill Adamson
Saskatoon StarPhoenix
12 April 2008

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