Questioning nuclear power as clean energy

Petition: 421

Issue(s): Other, Science and Technology, Toxic Substances, Waste Management

Petitioner(s): Canadian organization

Petitioner Location(s): Ottawa, Ontario

Date Received: 26 November 2018

Status: Completed—Response(s) to petition received

Summary: The petition questions whether nuclear power can or should be categorized as “clean energy,” arguing that nuclear technology is incompatible with sustainable development because of the by‑products from its use. The petition states that nuclear reactors discharge radioactive gases into the atmosphere during operation, and that they produce effluents and waste products that pose health risks to people living nearby. The petition states that these risks also affect future generations because of the long half‑life of nuclear waste.

The petition questions why federal ministers consider nuclear power to be a form of clean energy and why it is included in the definition of clean energy in the Federal Sustainable Development Strategy. It asks what definition of clean technology was used to assess proposals for the Canada Excellence Research Chairs Program, which was funded by Budget 2016. The petition also questions the rationale for including nuclear power in the portfolio of Sustainable Development Technology Canada. It cites concerns about the non‑renewable nature of uranium, the discharge of toxic substances into air and water from nuclear reactors, and the production of long‑lasting hazardous radioactive wastes that these substances produce.

Federal Departments Responsible for Reply: Environment and Climate Change Canada, Innovation, Science and Economic Development, Natural Resources Canada