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  • The Green in the Glow – Nuclear Energy and Ontario

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The United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) convened earlier last month. A key position established by analysts, environmental scientists and energy experts seems to paint a picture that we’re all uncomfortable with – but the facts are clear: Nuclear Power may be the best energy source that our society has for combatting greenhouse gasses.

Isn’t Nuclear Energy Dangerous?

All but the youngest generations still remember the panic and concern surrounding Chernobyl and Three Mile Island, and the cultural impact of nuclear-themed moved like The China Syndrome. And even today, the Fukushima Daiichi disaster in 2011 reminded us that with the incredible energy that nuclear power can provide us, there are always risks.

Proponents of nuclear energy point out that only two cases (Chernobyl and Fukushima) are significant enough to legitimately designate as disasters. However, critics counter that the slow adoption of nuclear power over the last few decades is the cause of so few issues, and a wider adoption of nuclear power could increase the risk of a dangerous event.

Nuclear Power in Ontario

Of all provinces in Canada, Ontario is perhaps has the most glowing perception of nuclear power as an alternative energy source. In 2012, over 50% of all Ontario’s energy needs are met by nuclear generators, with more residents than in any other province being supporters of nuclear energy, at around 54%.

However, there have been setbacks to Ontario’s nuclear energy development, with the rescinding of $15 billion in new power plants putting a definite slowdown to Ontario’s energy ambitions.

And What about Alternative Energies?

While nuclear energy is expected to provide between 60% to 70% of our energy needs, that still leaves 30% to 40% that we can no longer justify spending on burning dangerous and harmful fossil fuels. Coal and oil will have to go the way of the dinosaurs if we want to make a collective impact on climate change.

That means that alternative energy, such as solar, wind, geothermal, and so on are more important than ever; not as our main energy sources but as a compliment to what will be an eventual nuclear dominance.

So should we be worried? Absolutely. The concerns of nuclear energy will only increase as it becomes more of the norm. Wind and solar energy still fill a crucial need in creating a greener environment. And while nuclear energy may be the solution to our energy concerns, alternative energy may be the solution to curbing its environmental impact.

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