Like most people, I’ve been taking in some of the exciting events of the Tokyo Olympics, and cheering on our fabulous Canadian athletes. One of the wonderful aspects of the Olympics is the outpouring of patriotism and national pride, as we watch our fine competitors do great things. Our team is comprised of some of the best in the world, and suddenly, everyone is behind them, and it feels great to be united in spirit with all Canadians.
There are rewards for being among the best in the world. Some of these athletes may receive significant financial rewards in the form of grants, scholarships, endorsement contracts and/or professional sports contracts. We don’t begrudge them those rewards – we celebrate them. More power to them!
Here in South Bruce, it’s been quite a different story. Here we also have the opportunity to do something great for Canada – permanently store Canada’s nuclear waste, using the latest science and technology. We have some of the nation’s best, and even the world’s best nuclear power professionals right here in our community, and we have an opportunity to be among the leading countries in the world in proactively dealing with nuclear waste, with countries such as Sweden, Finland and France leading the way.
Are we celebrating and cheering on our Canadian team? Hardly. Instead, a group of our local citizens have jumped on board with the international anti-nuclear movement to oppose the project, adopting their strategies and rhetoric, right down to the yellow signs with derogatory slogans and trefoil symbols – the hallmark of anti-nuclear crusaders around the world.
Here again, there are rewards to be had, and we are already seeing the tip of the iceberg in terms of new jobs, donations to charity and additional taxes. Are we celebrating? Well, our new local anti-nuclear establishment decries any financial gain as “bribery” or “trying to buy our opinions.” What a load of bunk! If you do something great, and provide an important service for an entire nation, you should see financial rewards. If the DGR comes to South Bruce, it promises to create hundreds of good high-paying, high-tech jobs for generations to come, and the entire community stands to benefit.
I understand those who may not want a new heavy industry moving into their immediate neighbourhood, and I’m sympathetic to those who don’t yet trust the preponderance of scientific research surrounding the safety of the DGR plan. But as a long-time worker in Canada’s nuclear power industry, I find the adoption of anti-nuclear signs and slogans sad. Even sadder are those signs overtly opposing Canada. This is, after all, our country’s plan for dealing with its nuclear waste.
I for one am proud of Canada’s nuclear heritage and what it has accomplished. In Ontario, we have already achieved “deep decarbonization” of our electricity grid – a goal most regions can only dream of – because of our fleet of nuclear plants. I for one am supportive of our government and its plan to deal responsibly with our nuclear waste, and I support our municipal politicians, who are doing their part to see if South Bruce can be part of the solution. I also believe in the ability of our citizens – not just our elite athletes – to accomplish great things, to do them safely, and in so doing, to reap the appropriate rewards. If the ongoing research shows that Canada’s DGR can be safely built here in South Bruce, I say “bring it on”!
Tony Zettel, RR5 Mildmay