Calgary, Alta.-The Canada West Foundation last week released a paper that outlines the opportunities and challenges of expanding the nuclear industry and the use of nuclear energy as a source of electricity.
Prairie Atoms: The Opportunities and Challenges of Nuclear Power in Alberta and Saskatchewan examines examining how Alberta and Saskatchewan can take advantage of the nuclear revival, and recommends ways to improve public policy as it relates to Canada’s untapped nuclear capacity.
“On balance, the opportunities outweigh the challenges,” argues the report’s author Dr. Duane Bratt, a political scientist at Mount Royal College in Calgary. “The economic and environmental benefits make the case for nuclear power a compelling one.”
According to the report, the governments of Alberta and Saskatchewan should:
- support the expansion of the nuclear industry in their two provinces, including encouraging more uranium exploration; and
- encourage their post-secondary institutions to establish educational programs in the areas of nuclear science,
And the government of Saskatchewan should:
- strongly encourage the private sector to invest in nuclear processing, fuel fabrication, and enrichment facilities in the province; and
- convince Ottawa to get an exemption for Canada from the G8 moratorium on uranium enrichment technology,
While the federal government should:
- create two different types of regulatory processes for nuclear facilities: a streamlined process for the expansion of pre-existing nuclear facilities (like adding a second reactor at Point Lepreau); and a comprehensive process for brand new nuclear facilities (like the proposed reactors at Peace River); and
- monitor, and learn from, other jurisdictions (US, France, Australia, etc.) in how they regulate their nuclear industry.
The report also recommends that a western Canadian nuclear centre for excellence should be established in either Alberta or Saskatchewan, and that more research and development money needs to be dedicated by governments and the nuclear industry for recycling nuclear waste into reactor fuel.