Who's got the power?
Polly Leger: OK, before we start, a quick note about audio today. Making this podcast during a pandemic posed a unique set of challenges — mainly, overcoming bad internet connections. There are a few interviews in today’s show that may not sound as crisp or as clear as you’re used to.
In our every deliberation, we must consider the impact of our decisions on the next seven generations, from the great law of the Haudenosaunee, the Six Nations Iroquois Confederacy. This monument marks the opening of the Darlington nuclear generating station. We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors. We borrow it from our children. The time capsule contained herein shall be opened after seven generations in the year 2129. The capsule contains information reflecting the debate on nuclear technology. Our children shall judge us. Signed, The Nuclear Awareness Project, 1989.
Shaghayegh Tajvidi: I’m on the side of a highway with Louis Bertrand, about 70 km northeast of Toronto, along the shore of Lake Ontario.
Louis: Okay, so right now we're, if you can tell from the road noise, we're right next to highway 401. We're just north of the Darlington Generating Station. You can see it from the road, you can see it from the 401, you can see it from the main roadway here called Energy Drive.
Shaghayegh : Since the Darlington Nuclear Generating station first powered up more than thirty years ago the concerns and the debate haven’t changed all that much. Is it safe? Is there a solid evacuation plan in case of an emergency? What do we do with the waste? Both from the power plant, and the mining of uranium?
Fundamentally, my objection to nuclear power is: Do we have the moral right to burden our children, grandchildren, and so on for hundreds, if not thousands, of years with the waste produced by generating electricity for our needs at the moment.
Shaghayegh : Louis is part of Durham Nuclear Awareness, which he realizes is in the minority voice.
Louis: I am very much in the minority. The consensus around here is nuclear energy is clean, it's carbon free. There's a consensus amongst the municipal politicians, the members of parliament, that nuclear energy is good. It's good paying jobs. You know what, they’re right! What I object to then is, well wait a second, that's coming at a cost to somebody else.
Shaghayegh: When Ontario phased out coal power in 2014. It was the single biggest reduction in greenhouse gases that Canada made that year. Part of the strategy for that shift was turning to nuclear power, which Ontario now gets more than half of its electricity from.
Polly: We know that going forward, we have to electrify everything -- and that we need to get that power from a carbon neutral source. Right now, about 80 percent of Canada’s energy mix is non-emitting, which is huge!
The bulk of that comes from hydroelectricity, but nuclear power from Ontario makes up a sizable chunk-- about 15 percent of the national mix. As Canada works towards 100 per cent carbon-free electricity, the question is-- where should our power come from?
Shaghayegh: I’m Shaghayegh Tajvidi.
Polly: And I’m Polly Leger
Shaghayegh: From Canada’s National Observer, this is Race Against Climate Change.
Polly: On today’s show, Editor-in-Chief Linda Solomon Wood sits down with long-time climate campaigner Catherine Abreu, who’s part of Canada’s Net-Zero Advisory Body.
Linda Solomon Wood: Can you give us a sense of how much work needs to be done to decarbonize our power grids?
Catherine Abreu: We're going to have to about double the electricity production that we have online right now. So electrification, electrification, electrification, that is the name of the game.
Shaghayeg : And Melina Laboucan-Massimo, co-founder of Indigenous Climate Action, talks about the power of Indigenous-led renewable energy projects.
Melina Laboucan-Massimo: Indigenous sovereignty or energy sovereignty, it’s connected to our ability to make decisions for ourselves.
Polly: But first-- is nuclear power politically radioactive?
Ontario Regional Chief Glenn Hare: Don't just come and plop this garbage and poison down in front of our doorstep, saying that we have no right to stop you.
Polly: Nuclear. Nuc-lu-ar, Nuke-cle-ar. Yeah, I feel like no matter what, I'm gonna pronounce it wrong, and someone's gonna be like, Who's this [BEEP]?
Okay, let's get into it. Let's talk about nuclear power.
Shaghayegh : If you ask the proponents, they'll tell you that nuclear is powerful, clean and safe, and that it should be front and center in the world's push to decarbonize. But the long term issue around what to do with spent nuclear waste brings up questions of environmental racism, colonialism and public distrust.
Polly: Right now the EU is embroiled in whether or not nuclear power should play a role in its green plan.
NEWSCLIP: The system will help define whether an economic activity is environmentally sustainable or not, so that investors know where to put their money as the content goes green, but gas and nuclear were left tied for now
Polly: Here in Canada, nuclear power plants are aging, requiring multibillion dollar refurbishments if they're going to keep running.
Shaghayegh : And then, there are the ghosts of nuclear catastrophes, Fukushima, Chernobyl.
Polly: I wasn’t alive during Chernobyl
Shaghayegh : I wasn't that far ahead of you. I was one years old.
Polly: So basically, our connection with it is this HBO prestige drama, which, honestly...
Trailer clip: There was nothing sane about chernobyl [BWOOMP]
Polly: not a great morale booster….
Shaghayegh : I wouldn’t call it a bedtime story but just fantastically produced!
Polly: Just to be clear, in the nearly 60 years that Canada has been using nuclear power. There has never been a nuclear meltdown or serious incident. No one has died on the job.
Shaghayegh : There IS an international scale that tracks exactly this kind of thing, and there have been six events at Canadian nuclear power stations that qualified as “incidents” -- but those incidents didn’t pose serious risks to human health.
Polly: Of the four nuclear power stations in the country, three of them are in Ontario, including Bruce Power, the largest working nuclear generating station in the world.
Bruce Power ad: Nuclear energy powers half of our homes, businesses, schools…
Polly: Canada's reactors are also reaching their best before dates. They’re old.
Shaghayegh: Like the Darlington plant where I was with Louis Bertrand at the top-- that's more than 30 years old. Right now, it's reactors are being taken offline, and basically being rebuilt piece by piece
Polly: A 26-billion dollar project. Meanwhile, countries like Germany, Italy, Spain and Belgium are winding down their nuclear power plants, largely in response to what happened at Fukushima.
Shaghayegh : Right, because Like Louis Bertrand says, even with a great track record, if something goes wrong...
Louis: It doesn't happen very often. But when it does, it's a doozy.
Clip: I have been studying a major accident at a nuclear plant in Canada. It happened when fuel rods cracked something the manufacturers said could never happen.
Shaghayegh: So Canada’s kind of at this fork in the road: should it keep refurbishing old plants, build new ones, or get out of the game altogether? What role should this actually play, if any, in Canada’s climate goals? Is it diverting us away from just expanding cheaper and safer renewable sources?
Polly: Because to reach those climate goals, Canada needs to scale up its power production, likely even triple it.
John Gorman: People need to appreciate the size of the challenge that we’re facing here in terms of the sheer amount of clean electricity generation that we need to add to the Canadian electricity grid.
Polly: This is John Gorman and he’s the President & CEO of the Canadian Nuclear Association.
John: And the immediate past president and ceo of the canadian solar industry association.
Polly: John argues that if the world is going to decarbonize industrial practises, like making steel, or concrete, things require MASSIVE amounts of heat to make-- nuclear is the only non-fossil fuel option that can generate that kind of energy.
JohnL It would be the equivalent of the Bruce Power Nuclear Plant in Ontario. That’s the largest nuclear power plant in the world. We would have to build 19 of those Bruce Power Nuclear Plants between now and 2050 in order to meet that level of electricity energy generation.
Shaghayegh : I’m just going to say it - of course someone repping the Nuclear Association is going to tell us what a great option nuclear is!
Polly: Fair enough. I actually chatted with someone who went from opponent to a begrudging convert. Denise Balkissoon is a writer. She used to be with the Globe and Mail, now she’s with the Narwhal. And in 2019, she wrote an in-depth piece about Ontario's nuclear industry,
Denise Balkissoon: Because it produces so much more power than renewables, there's no way that it's not going to be part of the solution for 9 billion people.
Polly: She went to the Darlington generating station as well, only she got to go inside.
Denise: Well, first of all you have to be approved by CSIS. So I know for sure that I have a CSIS file [laughs]
Polly: And the darlington plant is a classic, large-scale nuclear power plant
Denise: Because it's so big, the workers get from place to place on these giant tricycles, like they're adult sized tricycles, but they ride from, you know, a section to section
Shaghayegh: Okay, that's such a great image. I can't decide if it's futuristic or something out of like 1960s sci-fi.
Polly: It’s like something out of the movies. So refurbishments aside, instead of focusing on building new large scale plants, the Canadian government is going all in on small modular reactors. Imagine a nuclear power plant that could fit on the back of an 18-wheeler.
John: They're very scalable. They can be as small as one megawatt and the heat and electricity could be used for a very small community, a northern community. They can be sized to fit any sort of need that a large industrial operation or an electricity grid or a northern community has.
Shaghayegh: Okay, ‘small northern communities’ almost always means Indigenous communities in Canada.
Ontario Regional Chief Glen Hare: The federal government released its SMR action plan in December of 2020, suggesting that it had Indigenous People's engagement in the process. Where? Where?
Shaghayegh: This is Ontario Regional Chief Glen Hare.
Ontario Regional Chief Glen Hare: [He introduces himself in Anishinaabemowin] My name is Glen Hare, I have an Anishinaabe name I was given by my elder and I'm from M'Chigeeng First Nation here on Manitoulin Island in Ontario. And I represent now all 133 First Nation communities in Ontario.
Again, the Federal provincial governments have not consulted with Ontario First Nations on the idea of SMRS. Neither have they consulted with the development of SMRS. This is where I say again, the government's have to stop their colonial approach to First Nations by doing what they think is best for First Nations. They're trying to include us on this but they're not telling us how.
Shaghayegh : Indigenous, Inuit and Metis nations aren’t one single body, and not every community is against the idea of SMRS.
But Ontario Regional Chief Hare isn’t just concerned about SMRs coming to communities he represents without real consultation. He’s also concerned about plans to store nuclear waste in Indigenous territories.
Ontario Regional Chief Glen Hare: What we've been saying, what I have been saying very loudly, is I hope you don't ever bury this on the shorelines of any Great Lakes. If this needs to be buried. We're recommending, we're asking go 100 or 150 kilometers inland, where we can monitor it.
Polly: Right now all of Canada’s nuclear waste is stored above ground, which is good for about 50 years --which is coming up.
Shaghayegh : The plan was to store some 3 million spent fuel rods deep underground near the Bruce Peninsula on the traditional territory of the Saugeen First Nation. Ontario Power Generation ended up formally canceling this plan last year. And even though a new site hasn't been chosen, that still worries Chief hare,
Ontario Regional Chief Glen Hare: We're not asking for very much. Include us, consult with us. It's given. Don't put us through a court process where we fight this. Because when we do, and the court is on our side, when we win these battles, then how its interpreted comes up, then the fight begins all over again. So include us, consult our leaders. Don't just come and plop this garbage and poison down in front of our doorstep saying that we have no right to stop you. You know, what's it take? Does it take the tech death to stop us?
Shaghayegh : Right now, in Ontario, many Indigenous communities are dealing with the decades-long health consequences of industrial pollution. Think boil water advisories, higher rates of asthma, reproductive health issues, rare cancers.
Polly: And that’s not even from nuclear waste. That’s just like, industrial chemicals.
Ontario Regional Chief Glen Hare: I don't know where else they can go. But I understand that the there's two or three countries that are not allowed to bury this. I think we need to put, bottom line, by the Prime Minister here of Canada. We don't want it in Canada either.
Shaghayegh : I’m curious how the industry responds to this.
Polly: When I asked John about waste, here’s what he had to say
John: Whether it’s solar panels or wind turbines, whether it’s fossil fuels that emit things into the air, nuclear is the only industry that actually accounts for every bit of waste that it produces. It pre-pays for its safe handling and management, and no other energy source can say that.
Polly: He didn't really talk about the timespan of nuclear waste, though. Here's Denise:
Denise: Nowhere on Earth has anyone figured out a permanent solution for those radioactive materials. And so you can store them in a way that is safe, but they will be unsafe for thousands of years, right. And so if the people who are taking care of it right now are doing it really well, that's great. But what's going to happen in 2000 years?
Polly: Yeah, what are we going to be doing in 2000 years? We know that right now, the Canadian government has freed up billions of dollars in investment for small modular reactors. The first ones are on track to power up by the end of the decade.
Shaghayegh: Okay. You and I have been talking about nuclear power for months and months. And it seems so expensive critics, you know, they tell us it's way too late in the game for it to scale up to be an actual climate solution. So Polly, why do you think the government is this keen on nuclear?
Polly: Even on the most charitable reading, it certainly helps that Canada is one of the world's largest producers of uranium. Which, you know, that's the key ingredient for nuclear power? So I think depending on where you're sitting, it looks like a big economic opportunity.
Shaghayegh: I think the fear in general with climate solutions, given our timeline, is what if we do something that causes another massive problem we have to deal with down the line. And that's the hurdle that a lot of people can't cross when it comes to nuclear. You know, in addition to the issues we've been talking about. For some, even a hint of a risk is too high of a cost.
Polly: Coming up, Linda Solomon Wood and climate campaigner Catherine Abreu spark up a conversation about how we transform the national grid and power our lives.
Polly: If you like the podcast, please subscribe and give us a rating wherever you get your shows. More reviews mean more points on the algorithm, which means more people will find the show. And if you hated it, you know what they say. If you can't think of anything nice to say, just leave a five star review.
Shaghayegh: You can’t say that!!
Polly: Yes I can! Come on!
Catherine Abreu: ...That our addiction to fossil fuels is wreaking on our atmosphere. Politics can't change physics. The science has been telling us that that debate is over. Denying climate change doesn't make it go away. And without science…
Shaghayegh : Catherine Abreu has been a climate campaigner for years.
She's the founder of a new group called destination zero. And as the former executive director of Climate Action Network Canada…
Catherine: I’m also a member of Canada’s net zero advisory body. So I spend a lot of my time thinking about climate change and taking action on the climate crisis and doing that with a huge network and family of people across the country and the world
Shaghayegh : And she also has a tiny dog named Piko
Shaghayegh : Actually, we can hear the puppy, Cat, I’m sorry
Catherine: oh no [laughs] I’m going to come right back
Linda: Puppy distraction!
Polly: oh no!!
Shaghayegh : Catherine Abreu -- and Piko-- joined Canada’s National Observer editor-in-chief Linda Solomon Wood through the power of the internet.
Linda Solomon Wood: So you've spent a lot of time thinking about how to take climate action, and how to get to net zero. Most people don't have a say, and what actually is going to get us there, or in something as simple as how they power the lights they switch on in their kitchens. Can you give us a sense of how much work needs to be done to decarbonize our power grids?
Catherine: The reality is that much of Canada's electricity systems are already fairly decarbonized. And so we already have an electricity system in Canada that's over 80% non-emitting. But there are corners of the country where we still have work cut out for us making that switch to renewables, such as in the Atlantic provinces-- where I got my start in climate activism and where I spend a lot of my time thinking about the electricity systems that have traditionally relied a fair amount on coal. And we see a similar challenge in the prairies where there's a big need to transition their electricity sector there. And I guess the last thing I'll say about this is why it's so important that we decarbonize the electricity system. And that's because it's kind of the first step to decarbonizing other parts of our economy.
Linda: You know, a lot of the solutions to getting the grid off of fossil fuels... They're not sexy. And we grapple with this a lot at National Observer is how to tell the stories in a way that really can engage people and pull them in. How do you get people to tune in?
Catherine: This is particularly true when it comes to talking about the electricity system. So I think the sexiest things that we can talk about in the electricity system right now are renewable energy technologies or storage technologies. So you know, solar panels, the decreasing cost of other renewables. Those things are exciting. And it's kind of easy to get people engaged in those conversations. But the reality is that in Canada, the biggest hurdle we're facing right now is not necessarily the availability of those kinds of technologies. It's actually how under-invested our transmission and distribution grids are. So there's been decades of neglect of these essential systems. These are the roads and highways of our electricity systems. And we need those to be a whole lot stronger so that we can flow renewable energy between provinces and territories, or even between Canada and the US. That kind of grid flexibility is going to be essential, and how we get people to talk about something as unsexy as grid reformation is a really tough one. And I think the way that we do that is by telling the story of it right, and getting people engaged at that really home and community level. And, interestingly enough, the shift to renewable energy gives us plenty of opportunity for that. So I think we need to do a little bit of a better job of figuring out how we can get people excited about getting involved in their electricity systems.
Linda: Don't we really need to be making it about what increases what makes people's lives better, and what saves the money? How they could personally benefit, don’t you think?
Catherine: Yeah, so that's exactly how you tell that story, right? We in the environmental movement, I think, often get caught up in talking about it in terms of the sources of energy, and the technologies behind it. But the way we as individuals receive all of this is through the service that the energy provides, right? So ready access to more affordable energy. And we also need to be frankly, doing a whole lot of a better job of doing basic energy literacy education in our schools. The only energy source that has no impact is the energy you don't use. So energy efficiency, I think, is a huge opportunity that we don't talk about very often, because we're more preoccupied with how we keep our energy addiction going than we are how we change that relationship and have a more responsible relationship energy.
Linda: Well, how much power do you think we really need?
Catherine: All of the research that I read suggests, if we are going to fully decarbonize globally, we're going to have to about double the electricity production that we have online right now. So electrification, electrification, electrification, that is the name of the game. We're turning to electricity to do a whole bunch of work for us as we phase out fossil fuels. We need to be not only thinking about how we change our energy systems, so that we can mitigate climate change, so that we're actually reducing emissions. But we need to be thinking about how we're making those electricity systems more resilient to the impacts of climate change. And be able to provide services like increased cooling demand as we move to hotter summers. And how we do that is by building electricity systems that use a huge variety of sources, coming from a variety of different producers.
In Canada, we tend to have electricity production that happens in big facilities, far away from communities. What we need to be moving toward his more distributed electricity generation happening from a bunch of different renewable sources that are closer to home. We need to be doing that longer term planning, instead of reacting ad hoc in the moment. And I think we haven't really been in the practice of that kind of long term planning for a little while. And so that's hopefully the work that we'll be helping to do at the Net Zero Advisory Body. And that's the work that I think Canadians need to be demanding their governments and their electricity and energy regulatory bodies engage in.
And we also need our system operators, so the organizations and people that regulate the electricity systems, that their priority is resilience, not just low cost. And that kind of regulatory reform is another part of the unsexy conversation that we need when it comes to Canada's electricity systems. Because we can't just be thinking about low cost energy, we need to also be thinking about clean, resilient electricity systems.
Linda: You've been at this for quite a while . You've been going to climate conferences and summits, and a question that people ask me a lot, because, you know, our mission at the National Observer is really covering climate change. And you know, we're constantly telling critical stories about what's going wrong and stories about what's going right. But people ask me a lot about how do you do this without getting depressed? I have my own answers for that. But I'm really interested in what yours is?
Catherine: It can be really devastating to constantly come up against the wall of political inaction on such an obvious crisis. I am a big fan of the Joan Baez quote, that ‘the antidote to despair is action’. What bolsters me is the incredible community that I get to do this work in. The commitment that I see in all of us all the time to work together to not only address the climate crisis, but to build a better world while we're doing so. Climate change is the result of a whole host of injustices and inequalities built into the very structures of our economy and our society.
And so working at that structural level to address those interconnected injustices of ecological devastation, of racism, of colonization, just to name a few. You know it's actually really these kinds of communities that give me the solace and the safe and soft places that I need to keep going.
Linda: Cat, thank you so much for your time today. It's been really great talking to you.
Catherine: Yeah, so great to be with you, Linda. Thanks for having me. [barking] Oh, my God, my puppy is being so annoying. I'm so sorry.
Shaghayegh: If you pay attention to energy news, you've probably heard that the costs of solar and wind are going way down, which means it's possible to scale them way up. And that's just a great news story. But renewables are more than just a clean source of energy. For some Indigenous communities they're also a source of energy sovereignty,
Melina Laboucan-Massimo: [Melina introduces herself in Cree] My name is
Melina Laboucan-Massimo, I am a member of the Lubicon Cree First Nation. I was born in my community, in Little Buffalo, Alberta, Treaty 8 territory.
Shaghayegh: Not only does Melina run Sacred Earth Solar, she’s also the campaign director at of Indigenous Climate Action, which works to bring Indigenous knowledge to the climate fight/
Melina: I come from one of the sunniest places on Turtle Island, in so-called Canada. And I think I love the idea that solar, you know, it just has to sit there and you can gather power.
Shaghayegh: Melina turned this into a reality a few years ago-- when-- as part of her master’s in Indigenous governance, she helped secure funding for a solar farm in her home community
Greenpeace interview: It’S amazing to see how proud people are of it and how it's a community project. Because all of this has been through the blood, sweat and tears of the community.
Shaghayegh: It’s enough to heat and power the community health clinic, and then some. Part of the reason Melina turned to solar is because growing up in the heart of tar sands extraction leaves a very real impact.
Her home community, Little Buffalo, is about 300km west of Fort McMurray, close to the Peace River oil sands. And a decade ago it all hit too close to home.
Melina: April 29 2011, there was a massive oil spill beside my community in our territories in our homelands. It was one of the largest oil spills in Alberta, in Canada's history at the time. And there was no support for the community. People couldn't breathe, their eyes were burning, their stomachs were turning. The school had to be shut down, because people literally couldn't breathe. And at that point in time, I realized, wow, like, I can talk till I'm blue in the face, and literally my community is still being poisoned. So what are the alternatives? what can we implement? What is the yes to our no? And so for me, that was the biggest turning point.
Shaghayegh: Little Buffalo is one of many Indigenous communities turning to solar or renewable initiatives. More than 21-hundred projects-- that’s about 20 percent of renewable energy projects in Canada - are Indigenous owned and operated.
Melina: I think that Indigenous communities are saying enough is enough. We want to see what we're able to build, because I think our communities for so long have had ways of being imposed, systems imposed, extractivism, all of these things that our communities, you know, many of the times did not agree with.
Indigenous sovereignty, or energy sovereignty, it's connected to our ability to make decisions for ourselves. And then it also means that you're sovereign in the sense of less fossil fuel dependency, reducing our greenhouse gas emissions. There's communities that are super dependent on diesel or propane, that are spending literally millions of dollars just on energy, just on you know, keeping the lights on.
Shaghayegh: A few years ago, Molina hosted Power to the People on the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network, APTN, looking at different Indigenous-led energy initiatives. And all of this, these community led projects, go way beyond just getting off diesel generators.
Melina: We need to try to figure out ways to become more sustainable, but also more independent, more autonomous, more food secure. We can’t expect people from the outside again, Indigenous or non-Indigenous to save the day. We need to be our own quote unquote ‘saviors’ for lack of a better I guess, metaphor.
Polly: Like we said at the top of the show, 80 percent of Canada’s electricity doesn’t emit greenhouse gases.
Shaghayegh: But getting Canada to 100% fossil free power is about more than just weaning off gas and coal for that last 20%. It's about expanding and overhauling the energy system so that as the world electrifies, we can meet those power demands.
Polly: And that means things like putting a ton of money into rebuilding the electrical grid, so that it’s not so centralized, and that provinces can share electricity much more easily. I know… this is highly exciting stuff!
Shaghayegh: Riveting, I know! And then there’s the question of nuclear power. The energy itself doesn’t emit greenhouse gasses, but what about long-term effects of uranium mining and storing waste that’s going to be toxic for two thousand years.
Polly: It feels like civilization is already falling. What is it going to look like in 2400… who knows.
Shaghayegh : Solving climate change means grappling with all of this and more. Not just how to reach net zero, but how to do it in a way that does the least harm… to communities, our climate, and our environment.
Polly: How we power up isn’t just about how we’re going to charge our stuff or turn on our lights. It’s also about energy sovereignty, whether that means being able to afford your electric bill, or even if you access to the grid in the first place.
Shaghayegh: Like Melina says, how we power up is about collective responsibility...
Melina: People Power is huge, and that's why we need more people to get involved in the climate justice movements. People definitely, definitely, just like myself, need to take responsibility for how we produce energy for how we live.
Polly: Special thanks this week to our guests! You can find more of their work in our show notes, and more climate writing at National Observer dot com. Canada’s National Observer wouldn’t exist without founder and editor-in-chief Linda Solomon Wood.
Shaghayegh : This show was produced and edited by me, Shaghayegh Tajvidi.
Polly: And me, Polly Leger. Final audio mix by Tyler Gillis and the Aftertouch Audio team.
Shaghayegh: Music this week from Blue Dot Sessions and Podington Bear.
Polly: Fact check by Luke Ottenhof and Dana Filek-Gibson. Suzanne Dhaliwal does our promotions and communications.
Shaghayegh: Artwork by Ata Ojani. Special thanks to Stephen Hill, Theresa McClenaghan, and Bruce Lourie.
Polly: Race Against Climate Change is a joint project from Canada’s National Observer and the Canadian Centre for Journalism. You can follow us on twitter AND Instagram @NatObserver.
Merriam Webster clip: A lot of people react strongly to the pronunciation of the word nuclear as nucular. It gets on their nerves.
A decarbonized world is going to need a lot of electricity, but where should we get it from? And what role should nuclear power play in Canada? John Gorman, Denise Balkissoon, Ontario Regional Chief Glen Hare and Durham Nuclear Awareness get into the pros and cons of nuclear power. Linda Solomon Wood chats with climate campaigner Catherine Abreu on what it will take to transform the power grid. And solar-power champion Melina Laboucan-Massimo speaks on the strength of Indigenous-led renewables.
- Louis Bertrand, Durham Nuclear Awareness
- John Gorman, president and CEO of the Canadian Nuclear Association
- Denise Balkissoon, The Narwhal’s Ontario bureau chief
- Ontario Regional Chief Glen Hare
- Catherine Abreu, founder of Destination Zero and a member of Canada’s Net-Zero Advisory Body
- Melina Laboucan-Massimo, founder of Sacred Earth Solar
CLIMATE NERD RESOURCES:
- Denise Balkissoon’s article: How I learned to stop worrying and love (well, accept that i might help save the planet) nuclear power. June 22, 2019. The Globe and Mail
- International Energy Agency’s 2019 report on nuclear power’s role in clean energy systems
- Check out Power to the People, the APTN show hosted by Melina Laboucan-Massimo
- Learn more about Canada’s plan to bury its nuclear waste
- Read Canada’s plan for small modular reactors
- Froese, S., Kunz, N.C. and Ramana, M.V. (2020) Too small to be viable? The potential market for small modular reactors in mining and remote communities in Canada. Energy Policy, Vol. 144
- Anishinabek Chiefs-in-Assembly unanimously oppose small modular reactors on Anishinabek territory. June 12, 2019. Anishinabek News
Final audio mix by Aftertouch Audio. Fact-check by Luke Ottenhof. Artwork by Ata Ojani. Communications from Suzanne Dhaliwal. Music provided by Blue Dot Sessions and Podington Bear. Additional sound from Merriam-Webster, Vlatko Blažek, ValentinSosnitskiy, Speedenza, digableplanet, tmokonen, SubwaySandwitch420.