Monday, January 19, 2009

Bruce Power: pro-nuclear campaign begins with full-page ads in Saskatchewan newspapers

Bruce Power’s full-page Saskatchewan news ad

The pro-nuclear propaganda machine has been set in motion. Ontario-based Bruce Power, which is looking into the feasibility of building a power plant in northern Saskatchewan, has taken out full page ads in newspapers in that part of the province to help peddle its plans. To date at least five newspapers have published or distributed the expensive sales pitch:

Lloydminster Meridian Booster on Friday, Jan. 16, 2009, Page A13

– The Battlefords News-Optimist on Friday, Jan. 16, 2009, as an insert

– The Saskatoon Sun on Sunday, Jan. 18, 2009, Page 13

– The Prince Albert Daily Herald on Monday, Jan. 19, 2009, Page 14

– The StarPhoenix on Monday, Jan. 19, 2009, Page A5

The four paragraph message promotes the company’s feasibility study that was released at a news conference, which was closed to the public, in Saskatoon on Nov. 27, 2008.

“We have completed our study and believe nuclear energy could provide Saskatchewan and neighbouring jurisdictions with clean power for generations to come,” the ad states.

“This opportunity could create significant economic benefits with 1,000 jobs for 60 years and also help clean-up the air we breathe.”

Naturally they’d say that. They’re trying to sell something. Forgotten along the way is the questionable ethics of having Bruce Power conduct the study in the first place since they are owned in part by uranium giant Cameco Corporation.

Bruce Power’s strategy seems clearer now than ever – play up the jobs and the supposed economic benefits and the troubling questions will get pushed to the background. A little assistance from the province’s conservative media and business lobby groups won’t hurt either.

Bruce Power says it is “committed to being open” about their plans and will be “distributing over 50,000 copies of the document in the coming weeks.”

In the spirit of openness will the company be revealing how much it paid for the ads; the price tag for sending out over 50,000 copies of its study; and the amount of money it intends to spend on future advertising campaigns?

The feel good ad is silent on the cost of building a nuclear facility and how much taxpayers will be expected to cough up in infrastructure upgrades, not to mention who will cover any cost overruns. Then there’s the issue of decommissioning the plant once it’s no longer usable. Who’s going to pay for that?

The ad also avoids talking about the public’s reasons for opposing nuclear power which were outlined in an update the company released on Aug. 6, 2008.

The report provided details on a poll conducted in July 2008 by POLLARA Research and Communications on behalf of Bruce Power. The firm surveyed “more than 800 Saskatchewan residents on a number of energy related issues.”

The poll revealed that 52 per cent of Saskatchewan residents support nuclear power, down from 55 per cent reported in a nation-wide poll released in Feb. 2008 by the Canadian Nuclear Association.

Bruce Power did not release the wording of the questions asked by POLLARA or a detailed breakdown of how people answered or where in Saskatchewan they lived. Bruce claims they’re open but won’t release this information.

The update said the public’s top five reasons for opposing nuclear power are: safety, environmental impacts, health, waste and a general opposition to the technology. These findings, however, weren’t reported in the study and no reason has been given why.

The update also noted that Bruce Power’s Saskatchewan Feasibility Study Team said the company “would examine the possibility of establishing a clean energy hub to generate electricity and hydrogen through wind and solar” and that “this will be included in the feasibility study.” But for some reason this information isn’t in the report.

In its Nov. 27, 2008, news release the company said that, in December 2008, it “will release additional information on an assessment being conducted in collaboration with the Canadian Hydrogen Association (CHA) considering the role next generation nuclear, hydrogen, wind and solar could play in the province.” It’s three weeks into the New Year and there doesn’t appear to be any sign that this information is forthcoming.

The feasibility study suggests a region spanning from Lloydminster, including the Battlefords and Prince Albert, as the most viable host for a nuclear facility. Well, this would explain why these cities, along with Saskatoon, were targeted for the media blitz. No doubt this is just the beginning of the onslaught.


At 11:17 AM, Blogger JimBobby said...

Whooee! We got the selfsame buncha clowns puttin' on the same dog an' pony show down here in Nanticoke. They wanna build a new nuke plant here, too. Same pitch: jobs, jobs, jobs. Safety issues? Don't be silly. Nukes is safer than eatin' bananas.

The more you dig, the worse they look. There's a grassroots group workin' against Bruce down here. They got a website:

Lotsa good info there.



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