The province’s Conservative government will be going to the people to decide if nuclear power should be an option in fulfilling Alberta’s future energy needs.
But critics say nuclear power shouldn’t be an option since Alberta is capable of harnessing enough green energy to meet its energy needs for the next 20 years, even if power consumption doubles.
“We don’t have a need for nuclear,” said Tim Weis, who co-authored a report for the Pembina Institute, an environmental think-tank, on how Alberta can use “proven green technologies” to meet its energy needs.
“The great thing about renewable power is that there is no waste that is left over and we know we can put it in the ground today, and with nuclear power, we really don’t know how long that can take to get it built,” he said.
A provincial government report released Thursday said there are “attractive opportunities” to expand electricity generation through fossil fuels and renewable and nuclear energy, and each one has its trade-offs.
The report, says the Energy Ministry, is a way to kick off discussions to make Albertans think about the possibility of nuclear energy. And next month the province is expected to survey people online about the issue and invite groups to talk about nuclear energy.
Alberta currently has no written policies on nuclear energy, unlike other provinces. But during his election campaign, Premier Ed Stelmach did say he was open to the idea of studying nuclear power.
Bruce Power, an Ontario-based energy company, plans to build a nuclear plant in Alberta’s Peace River area.