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No Nukes For Oil?

Nuclear oil sands likely to pump controversy.

Richard Warnica 17 Jan

Richard Warnica is a senior editor at The Tyee.

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Green technologies will get a $230 million boost from the federal government over the next four years in a plan announced today by Natural Resources Minister Gary Lunn.

The announcement is the first of three green initiative kick-offs the Conservatives have planned for this week. You can read about today’s news on the CBC or the whole schedule in the Toronto Star.

At least one part of Lunn’s plan won’t go down well with the NDP. As part of a plan to make Canada a “clean energy super-power” the B.C. minister said he was open to using nuclear power to help extract bitumen from Alberta’s oil sands. 

"There's great promise in the oilsands for nuclear energy," he said, according to the CBC. "Nuclear energy is emission free. There's no greenhouse gases.”

No greenhouse gases, maybe. But that doesn’t mean no waste. And that’s a problem according to Jack Layton. I asked Layton about nuclear power and the oil sands in an interview last week. Here’s what he told me:

“I think the big problem there is determining what you want to do with the waste… “It’s certainly incumbent on somebody proposing to use nuclear plants to provide the power for the oil sands to tell us where they are going to put the waste. And I don’t think that question has been answered.”

For more from the Layton interview, click here.

Why does the opinion of Parliament’s fourth party matter on this issue? Well, sooner of later the minority Conservatives will have to put some of these initiatives to a vote. And believe it or not, the NDP may be their best hope for support.  

No matter what happens expect a lot of green spin from all quarters over the next few months.   [Tyee]

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