Dion touts clean coal for power
Provincial Liberals favour nuclear power, but federal leader fears waste disposal a problem
January 17, 2007
Queen’s Park Bureau
Nuclear power is an iffy proposition for Canada because the issue of how to handle waste that remains radioactive for thousands of years has not been properly dealt with, Liberal Leader Stéphane Dion said yesterday.
“As long as I’m not able to look Canadians in the eyes and to say, `I’m comfortable with the waste,’ I will not recommend it,” Dion, elected leader last month on an environmental platform, said after a breakfast speech to a Bay Street crowd.
It’s also time to look at clean coal as a solution to meeting electricity needs while reducing harmful emissions blamed for global warming, Dion told a business audience in what was billed as his first major speech as head of the federal party.
“I think there are cleaner coal possibilities, we need to go there to invest in it and to be a champion in the world,” said Dion, noting university researchers in Saskatchewan and Alberta are looking into the potential.
The remarks appeared to put him at odds with his Liberal cousins in the Ontario government, who are preparing to build more nuclear power plants and hoping to phase out coal-fired power plants to meet the twin challenges of fast-growing electricity needs and increasing smog.