Says major discussion with public to take place in early ’08
For the first time, Premier Ed Stelmach is discussing the environmental benefits of nuclear power as a way of making huge cuts to Alberta’s greenhouse gas emissions.
In a year-end interview with Metro, Stelmach said a major "discussion" on the controversial technology will occur between industry and the public early next year, including the government sharing important environmental information.
Public input on nuclear power will also be sought through online forms and telephone surveys, he said, but he stopped short of considering a total ban on the industry.
"I think there is a choice in the matter, but the world is always changing, technology is changing, in terms of diversifying the energy in the province," Stelmach said.
Earlier this month, Canada signed an international climate-change treaty that includes scheduled reductions in carbon emissions. Those new targets mean the province needs to find significant ways of reducing the environmental cost of power generation.
The province’s official stance on nuclear power needs to be resolved quickly since the private sector has already expressed interest in building nuclear facilities, Stelmach said.
New Democrat critic David Eggen said the premier is leaving the door wide open for the industry, treating nuclear power like it’s a forgone conclusion for the province.
"These nuclear power advocates go around the world looking for soft targets to sell their wares," he said. "They’ve identified Alberta as a potential target and they will move in here and twirl their propaganda campaign. You just wait. It will curl your hair."