Angelo Persichilli has a great article in today’s Toronto Star about the future of nuclear energy in this country.
While I don’t trust those who tell me that nuclear energy is completely safe, likewise I don’t trust those who say we have an alternative that can sustain our demands to run our businesses, our economy and — here’s the bottom line — the quality of life that we’re used to.
I suspect that giving up nuclear energy at present wouldn’t just be an economic decision, it would require a change in all our lives.
We used coal to power our economic growth two centuries ago, then oil in the last century. We realized that the first was polluting the environment and the second will soon be in short supply.
We already complain about the skyrocketing cost of energy, but it’s going to be worse in the future when emerging economies like India and China reach their full potential.
Solar energy is not fully developed, we don’t like wind energy because those big towers ruin the scenery and we turn against governments when the cost of energy is too high.
I understand that it’s easy to criticize governments for sticking with nuclear power, but no one wants to tell voters that without nuclear energy we’d have to change our way of life.
We’d have to use fewer cars and more public transportation. We’d need to turn down our furnaces and air conditioners, tell our children that the switch at the entrance of their room can be also used to turn the lights off, reduce our use of jet aircraft to conserve fuel and get rid of some home appliances.
That’s the real debate: Are we ready to make those sacrifices?
This debate reminds me of a movie I watched some time ago, in which the family of a rich businessman was furious with him when they learned in the media he was making his money in the arms trade.
He apologized, but said that if he was going to give up the business, they had to give up their mansion in the city and their cottage on the lake, the SUVs, the Ferrari and the Armani clothes.
He told them he was supposed to make another delivery the next morning and had to leave for the airport at 5 a.m.: “I’m not setting the alarm clock. It’s up to you. If you don’t set it, I’ll miss the plane.”
The alarm rang at 3 a.m.