Greens call on federal government to abandon nuclear and invest in renewables

OTTAWA – Following the recent announcement that the federal government will invest $20 million dollars in Ontario-based Terrestrial Energy to develop its Integral Molten Salt Reactor (IMSR), Green Party MPs have written to Natural Resources Minister Seamus O’Regan and Innovation, Science and Industry Minister Navdeep Bains calling on them to reconsider investments in new and unproven nuclear technology.

“Obviously Canada must rapidly reduce its greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) as required by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC),” said Green parliamentary leader Elizabeth May (MP, Saanich Gulf-Islands). “However, choosing to invest in non-commercialized, novel and unproven nuclear technology is fiscally irresponsible and doesn’t move us towards sustainability. It takes us down the wrong path. Small nuclear reactors (SMRs) have no place in any plan to mitigate climate change when cleaner and cheaper alternatives exist.”

A recent Canadian study found  that energy from SMRs would cost up to 10 times more than renewable energy. Greens are urging the federal government to assess all energy investments on the same set of metrics based on three key questions:

  • For every dollar invested, how many tonnes of GHGs are avoided;
  • For every dollar invested, how many jobs are created;
  • What is the effective timeline from initial funding to achieving results?

“Using these metrics, nuclear will always finish at the bottom of any hierarchy of energy investments,” said Ms. May. “The winners, every time, will be investments in retrofitting buildings for energy efficiency and investments in renewable energy.”

The 2020 World Nuclear Industry Status Report states that the development of nuclear energy is too slow to address the climate crisis. Nuclear power creates fewer jobs than renewable energy, such as solar, wind, district energy, and geothermal. 

“What we need is to be honest with ourselves about the realities of nuclear,” said Jenica Atwin, (MP, Fredericton). “This government continues to parrot industry talking points when what our history and experience with nuclear has shown is that it's not clean, it’s not cheap and we don't have the time to waste on this dangerous distraction."

** Letter to Ministers attached

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