We would agree that, given the choice, North Americans are unlikely to want nuclear fission plants located in Alberta's northwest. Why? The headwinds for North America's weather (the Alberta Clipper) would disperse any radioactive emissions over Edmonton and all across the continent.
We have presented the option of nuclear fusion over fission to Alberta Energy and the Alberta Environment and Energy Public Policy Committee, noting:
• Fusion is a clean and safe power option. Fusion has none of the issues of fission. Fusion has no carbon footprint, radioactive waste or emissions. Fusion can be used to dispose of fission waste and reverses climate change.
• The fuel for fission is limited, whereas the fuel for fusion is derived from a small fraction of water molecules and is therefore accessible and cost-competitive.
• Fusion generates heat that converts to steam and electricity. Transmission requires no new infrastructure other than the power plants themselves that are slated for replacement across North America by mid-century.
• Canada is the only developed country in the world that does not have a fusion energy program and though invited, is not participating in the advanced research programs in Europe, Asia and the USA.
• Alberta should urge the federal government to: establish a fusion energy program, anticipate the socio-economic implications of a fusion-powered economy and negotiate an international fusion energy information protocol.
Canada and Alberta shouldn't fiddle. A harnessable, sustained, fusion energy reaction is expected to be demonstrated this year at the Livermore National Ignition Laboratory in California. At that point, a new chapter in power will emerge.
We do applaud Alberta Energy's policy conclusions that the federal government needs to step up and that Alberta will not choose for Albertans one power option in favour of another.
Perry Kinkaide, President, Alberta Council of Technologies, co-chair, Alberta/Canada Fusion Energy Program