2005 December 12
To the Editor,
The Toronto Star:
It is a fair point that the waste issue is the “Achilles heel” of nuclear energy (“What choice does Ontario really have”, 2005 Dec. 10); however, this Achilles heel has more to do with PR than hard facts. Used fuel from CANDU reactors is responsibly managed today using simple and passively safe techniques that form an indefinite bridge to long-term storage. The technology for long-term storage exists but there is no rush to implement it.
Used nuclear fuel is produced in extremely small quantities for the amount of electricity it generates: the total volume created to date in Canada is far less than that of Toronto’s daily municipal waste production. Moreover, the used fuel retains over 99% of its energy content and should therefore be treated as a resource for future electricity generation, pending the discovery of a better method.
I have found in many cases that as people get to know the technology better, they realize that the “waste issue” is in fact an attractive benefit of the technology.