Governments have many tools that they can use to support industries with the most conspicuous being direct financial support or indirect support through tax breaks and similar instruments. Over the last year our government’s at all levels have been recognizing the role of the nuclear industry in reducing emissions and bringing energy security to the country and demonstrating that recognition through these financial tools. We have for example seen the Canada Infrastructure Bank commit nearly a billion dollars to supporting Small Modular Reactor deployment.
But governments can play a role in communication and education and this can be even more valuable for an industry. By explaining why something is needed the population come on board and the opportunity becomes much more attractive to investors.
That is why I feel that this week has been one of the best weeks for the nuclear industry in a year in which we have already had a series of good weeks.
A few years ago Seamus O’Regan, the NR Can Minister at the time, surprised the Nuclear Industry with a very clear statement about the importance, of nuclear in fighting climate change. We waited months for further affirmation and saw it when the new NR Can Minister, Jonathan Wilkinson, repeated O’Regan’s very clear comments. But there was still no comment from any other minister and the Prime Minister was still conspicuously silent. It left a few of us wondering.
But in the last few weeks the dam has burst. Early this week Chrystia Freeland, the deputy Prime Minister, visited the Pickering Nuclear Generating Station to state without any hesitation that “nuclear will play a very important role in our clean economy” and days later the Prime Minister doubled down on the issue by confirming that Canada was ”very serious” about reviving nuclear energy production to lower the country’s reliance on fossil fuels.
But possibly the most impactful moment can be seen here https://www.youtube.com/shorts/FgLV6KjNHYc. This isn’t just a Minister this is Steven Guillbeault, a hero of the Canadian Environmental movement and a former Greenpeace activist who climbed the CN Tower to draw attention to environmental issues. And here he is stating clearly and coherently that we need nuclear power in our race to prevent climate change. That’s big. Really Really Big.
Now if anyone asks if we really need nuclear you can simply align yourself with one of Canada’s leading environmentalists and say “of course we do”.
And Canada is not alone as witnessed by the Radio-Canada documentary on the new world-wide trend of environmentalist support for nuclear https://ici.radio-canada.ca/tele/decouverte/site/episodes/719328/energie-nucleaire-atome-gaz-effet-serre.