FREDERICTON – The Green Party of Canada is concerned that the federal government is not providing Canadians with all the facts, and disrespecting Indigenous Peoples’ territorial rights, as it continues to invest in small modular nuclear reactors (SMNRs) while promoting the technology as a clean energy solution.
“The federal government leaves out critical information when it states that small modular nuclear reactors fit into a ‘clean energy’ framework,” said MP Jenica Atwin (Fredericton) who hosted an expert roundtable on Canada’s nuclear policy on Wednesday. “There is nothing clean about nuclear waste no matter how the government tries to present it. This is a dangerous and dirty distraction from the investments we need to see in energy efficiency and renewable energies to combat climate change.”
Dr Gordon Edwards, president of the Canadian Coalition for Nuclear Responsibility, and Dr. Susan O’Donnell, researcher and adjunct professor at the University of New Brunswick, joined Atwin as the expert guests on the roundtable.
O’Donnell had this to say about investing in SMNRs:
“Despite what the federal government is saying, peer-reviewed research has determined that the plan to develop SMR technology is far too slow, compared to investments that can be made today in renewable energy and energy efficiency. Canada must continue to fund innovative research and explore new ideas. However, that research should be peer-reviewed and conducted by public institutions, not private start-ups with no successful research expertise.”
Last month the federal government announced a $50.5 million investment in Saint John-based Moltex Energy Canada Inc. with the stated objective of extracting plutonium from spent nuclear fuel from the Point LePreau Candu reactor located on the Bay of Fundy, the unceded territory of the Wolastoq and Peskotomuhkati Nations. The Wolastoq Grand Council issued a resolution calling on the government to cease funding for nuclear reactors at Point Lepreau.
“In the House of Commons, we are debating Bill C-15 to implement the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigeous Peoples, enshrining free, prior, and informed consent,” said Atwin. “Meanwhile the government continues to fund and promote dangerous, dirty nuclear development without any attempt at consultation.
“As Canada moves forward with a green recovery plan, we need to be sure that Indigenous leadership is consulted meaningfully and that certain sectors are not ‘greenwashed’ to appear clean, when obviously they are not.”
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For more information or to arrange an interview:
Chief of Staff/Ms. Atwin