Thursday, 6 December 2007

Canada Joins Bush's Nuclear Club

Hoping no one would notice amid the media circus surrounding Karlheinz Schreiber’s appearance at a parliamentary committee the government decided to announce that it is joining the Global Nuclear Energy Partnership (GNEP). GNEP is a group promoted by the Bush administration, which aims to reduce the amount of radioactive waste that is stored in the United States and promote nuclear energy. Canada is the world’s largest producer of uranium and may be required by the deal to take responsibility for disposing of the radioactive waste that is created from nuclear material sold to other countries. South Africa has already declined to join the GNEP because it fears becoming a dumping ground for radioactive waste created through its nuclear exports.

Natural Resources Minister Gary Lunn told the commons, “We made it unequivocally clear that we will, under no circumstances, ever accept any nuclear spent fuel back from any other country.” The fact that Minister Lunn is also talking about the possibility of privatizing the Crown Corporation, Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd causes some concerns as to whether or not the nuclear waste can be brought in through the back door by way of private industry. It also leads to speculation that a deregulation of the nuclear industry will soon follow.

Opposition parties are calling for a parliamentary debate and vote on the GNEP. Minister Lunn said that he would be willing to discuss the implications of joining the GNEP at parliamentary hearings but made no commitment to debate the issue in the House of Commons.

Reference: Canada softpedals into U.S. nuclear energy club
The Ottawa Citizen, Dec 1, 2007

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