[via Toronto Star]
Ontario is indefinitely postponing its much-touted plan to build new nuclear reactors at Darlington in part because the cost is “billions” of dollars too high, Energy Minister George Smitherman announced this morning.
I can completely understand how nuclear would not be a government’s first choice, especially in times of economic difficulty. It has the most expensive startup costs of any source of energy and the public is forced to pay for insurance as well. I just really take issue with some environmentalists hailing this as a major victory. To me that’s plain old narrow minded thinking. If environmentalists are serious about climate change and feel it’s a much graver issue than a few nuclear plants, then you simply can’t have it both ways. As much as I would go crazy over it, I don’t believe it’s possible to run a growing country on renewables, hydro, and conservation quite yet. The culture of consumption may change in the west over time, but don’t ever expect or think that emerging countries will behave in the same way. Improving energy grid systems and incorporating new renewables (especially biomass like algae and wood waste) would be my first investment as Dalton McGuinty has $26B more to play with.
I’m still pro nuclear if all remains the same, given government finances are in a good state to support a nuclear energy program. With new (Canadian borne) technologies, wastes are reduced even further and can provide a more flexible and reliable source of electricity. I’m trying my best to be an optimist, but I really feel like we’re going to need everything to make real changes in the energy world. Smart grid, renewables, nuclear for major carbon reductions, and a need for even better technologies for coal and other hydrocarbons. As much as I boil from the thought of (barf) “clean coal” (barf), we’ll need this along with Combined Heat and Power (CHP) to increase efficiency and reduce emissions from existing plants. We may even need Carbon Capture and Storage technologies if predictions are true.