Letters: Small modular reactors are a nuclear lemon

It’s surprising that our conservative-leaning premier would promote the SMR fantasy, writes David Geary.

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Small modular nuclear reactors for Sask.?

Re: Province could flip switch on small reactor by 2032 (SP, April 15)

Premier Scott Moe, don’t buy a nuclear lemon.

Aggressive marketing tactics by small modular reactor (SMR) startup companies are reminiscent of Ponzi or multi-level marketing (MLM) schemes — a sense of urgency, zealous enthusiasm, wishful thinking trumping market forces, and (lemon) pie-in-the-sky promises of fabulous wealth … but only if we first sink billions of our own dollars into it.

Worse, unlike other MLM enterprises, there is no actual proven product here. Speculative SMR designs are “paper reactors,” existing only as drawings or as slick computer graphics.

SMR startups are American, not Canadian. Their enriched uranium or plutonium fuel would come from the U.S., not Saskatchewan.

Unlike the stricter U.S. nuclear regulator, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) is perceived as being lax toward SMRs.

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Curiously, the CNSC wants to exempt these untested devices from environmental assessment. American utilities, banks, financial institutions, and savvy private investors have mostly stayed away from this risky, controversial, divisive and unnecessary technology.

Despite proponents’ hype, there is no realistic business case. There is simply no demonstrated market/demand for SMRs.

It’s surprising that our conservative-leaning premier would promote the SMR fantasy, especially since nuclear power is inherently socialist in nature. It’s called “Lemon Socialism” by Yale economist Mark Cooper, environmentalist Ralph Nader and others. That term means nuclear cannot survive without enormous financial subsidies from taxpayers, then ultimately a few favoured private companies reap any assets and profits, while a soured public is stuck with the radioactive liabilities, the “lemons.”

David Geary
Saskatoon

COVID-19

Seeing what is happening in Saskatoon and other places as far as demonstrations are concerned, I simply had to voice my opinion.

For the life of me, I fail to understand how individuals go out there demanding no more masks, no more distancing when we have health workers trying around the clock to care for patients, which is taking a huge toll on the health of the nurses, doctors and whoever else is looking after the terribly sick every day without breaks.

People are wearing down, they are emotionally spent, yet there is no end. They then have to put up with the ones who think their personal freedom has been taken away and totally disregard any regulations that need to be followed; so when done with gathering, shouting they have rights, they very well might get infected themselves, expecting to be looked after when that happens.

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Wake up, think of what you are doing because you might be the next ones trying to breathe with an exhausted nurse trying to soothe you and help you get better, hoping you are one of the lucky ones who will not die.

The behaviour shown is shameful and absolutely unacceptable. How dare you.

Edda Eisele
Saskatoon

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