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30 Fairmont Park Lane S
Lethbridge, AB
T1K 7H7
Phone: (403) 328-1804
Sunday, January 17, 2010
The Editor
The Lethbridge Herald
P.O. Box 670
Lethbridge, AB, T1J 3Z7 

Re: Global warming, nuclear power need rational debate 

Doug Petherbridge raises some thoughtful points about climate change and energy in his letter of January 13. He notes that global warming may be due to human activity – or not! He suggests we should be learning about climate change so that we can either adapt to it, if it is due to natural causes, or possibly change our activity to modify possible human caused contributing factors.  

Indeed, humans have learned during our short sojourn on earth that climate has changed rather drastically several times with presumably drastic effects on our ancestors.  These changes have apparently been due to very small changes in heating or cooling effects. It now seems possible that humans are capable of creating such effects inadvertently.  Maybe we can learn enough about climate to be capable of taking controlling actions to achieve a steadier climate better optimized to supporting life. Such activity will surely depend on our ability to harness and use energy in large quantities. 

Fortunately, with our recently acquired aptitude to unleash nuclear energy from some atoms, sufficient energy may be within reach. However, Mr. Petherbridge is concerned that humanity may not yet have learned what to do with waste from nuclear energy and wonders if there is a safe method of disposal.  

In fact, we have learned what to do with it and methodology is in place to safely manage the risks associated with it. Canada established the Nuclear Waste Management Organization (NWMO) in 2002 with a mandate to assume responsibility for Canada’s used nuclear fuel. The NWMO undertook extensive public consultation and achieved support based on prior Canadian research, recommending a way forward which was accepted by the federal government in 2007. The NWMO and nuclear plant operators are proceeding with the next logical phases of action. Readers may learn all about it at the NWMO website located at www.nwmo.ca.


Yours truly,



Duane Pendergast


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