Opponents of Quebec’s nuclear plans get fired up

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 up

Gentilly 2 reactor to be refurbished. Scientists, artists and activists
say province made decisions without any public hearings

Dozens of prominent Quebec artists, scientists and media personalities
joined about 60 environmental and social groups yesterday to launch a
vast campaign to pressure Quebec’s Liberal government to cancel plans
to refurbish the province’s only nuclear reactor.

In August, Hydro-Québec and the minister responsible for the Mauricie
region, Julie Boulet, announced the Gentilly 2 nuclear plant in
Bécancour 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, scientist
and broadcaster David Suzuki, radiation specialist Ian Fairlie, and
Université Laval professor of nuclear physics Michel Duguay, outlined
their concerns about the environmental, health, social and economic
risks of rebuilding the Gentilly 2 plant.

“(Premier) Jean Charest should be ashamed that this project is going
ahead without public debate,” said Gordon Edwards, a nuclear energy
expert and president of the Regroupement pour la surveillance du

Duguay said Quebec does not need nuclear power to stabilize its
network, a point made clear by the fact that the grid has functioned
just fine whenever Gentilly 2 has been down for maintenance, “which is
at least 20 per cent of the time,” he said.

Others said Quebec should learn from Ontario’s mistakes, since nuclear
energy in that province has lead to massive cost overruns and frequent

“In Canada, nuclear energy has proven itself to be expensive and
unreliable,” David Suzuki said in a statement read by his Quebec
director, Karel Maynard. “It makes no sense to pour more money into a
non-renewable and troublesome form of energy.”

The groups noted that the refurbishing was announced without any
public hearings on the environmental or health impacts it might have.

Notebaert and Fairlie explained that nuclear fission releases
radioactive isotopes, which if inhaled or consumed in food and water
can cause cell and DNA damage. While exposure to very high doses
causes death, lower repeated doses can cause cancer and birth defects.
Gentilly 2 also releases a radioactive hydrogen isotope called
tritium. Canada and Quebec tolerate relatively high levels of this
substance in air and water: 467 times higher than California’s
standards, for example.

Laure Waridel of Nature Québec explained why the campaign solicited
the help of 24 prominent local musicians and artists, including Michel
Rivard, Jacques Languirand, Diane Dufresne and Richard Séguin.

“No one can bring people together more effectively than musicians and
artists, and we need a massive social movement to oppose this
project,” she said.

For more information on the campaign or to sign an online petition, go

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