You gotta love it when community comes together like this! And you gotta love Quebeckers, especially, for showing us how to do it!
Opponents of Quebec’s nuclear plans get fired upGentilly 2 reactor to be refurbished. Scientists, artists and activistssay province made decisions without any public hearingsDozens of prominent Quebec artists, scientists and media personalitiesjoined about 60 environmental and social groups yesterday to launch avast campaign to pressure Quebec’s Liberal government to cancel plansto refurbish the province’s only nuclear reactor.
In August, Hydro-Québec and the minister responsible for the Mauricieregion, Julie Boulet, announced the Gentilly 2 nuclear plant inBécancour would be refurbished at an estimated cost of $1.9 billion.That plant produces about three per cent of Quebec’s electricity.
At a news conference yesterday, scientists and nuclear experts,including Université de Montréal professor Eric Notebaert, scientistand broadcaster David Suzuki, radiation specialist Ian Fairlie, andUniversité Laval professor of nuclear physics Michel Duguay, outlinedtheir concerns about the environmental, health, social and economicrisks of rebuilding the Gentilly 2 plant.
“(Premier) Jean Charest should be ashamed that this project is goingahead without public debate,” said Gordon Edwards, a nuclear energyexpert and president of the Regroupement pour la surveillance dunucléaire.
Duguay said Quebec does not need nuclear power to stabilize itsnetwork, a point made clear by the fact that the grid has functionedjust fine whenever Gentilly 2 has been down for maintenance, “which isat least 20 per cent of the time,” he said.
Others said Quebec should learn from Ontario’s mistakes, since nuclearenergy in that province has lead to massive cost overruns and frequentbreakdowns.
“In Canada, nuclear energy has proven itself to be expensive andunreliable,” David Suzuki said in a statement read by his Quebecdirector, Karel Maynard. “It makes no sense to pour more money into anon-renewable and troublesome form of energy.”
The groups noted that the refurbishing was announced without anypublic hearings on the environmental or health impacts it might have.
Notebaert and Fairlie explained that nuclear fission releasesradioactive isotopes, which if inhaled or consumed in food and watercan cause cell and DNA damage. While exposure to very high dosescauses death, lower repeated doses can cause cancer and birth defects.Gentilly 2 also releases a radioactive hydrogen isotope calledtritium. Canada and Quebec tolerate relatively high levels of thissubstance in air and water: 467 times higher than California’sstandards, for example.
Laure Waridel of Nature Québec explained why the campaign solicitedthe help of 24 prominent local musicians and artists, including MichelRivard, Jacques Languirand, Diane Dufresne and Richard Séguin.
“No one can bring people together more effectively than musicians andartists, and we need a massive social movement to oppose thisproject,” she said.
For more information on the campaign or to sign an online petition, go