That is the conclusion of a major study of the environmental impacts, risks and sustainability of nuclear energy in Canada published today by the Pembina Institute.
Nuclear Power in Canada: An Examination of Risks, Impacts and Sustainability finds that nuclear power, like other non-renewable energy sources, is associated with severe environmental impacts. These impacts include:
– The generation of large amounts of radioactive and hazardous wastes at each stage of the nuclear energy production process. These wastes will require care over thousands of years for safety, health, environmental and security reasons.
– Severe impacts on surface and groundwater water quality through the discharge of radioactive and toxic pollutants. Effluent from uranium mines and mills has been found by Health Canada and Environment Canada to be a “toxic” substance for the purposes of the Canadian Environmental Protection Act.
– Releases to the air of smog and acid rain causing, radioactive and hazardous pollutants in addition to greenhouse gases.
The report concludes that no other energy source combines the generation of as wide a range of conventional pollutants and waste streams – including heavy metals, smog- and acid-rain-precursors and greenhouse gases – with the generation of large volumes of radioactive wastes that will require care and management over hundreds of thousands of years.