Exporting Apocalypse: Candu Reactors and Nuclear Prolifieration

McKay, Paul
Publisher:  Ontario Public Research Group
Year Published:  1984  
Pages:  23pp   Price:  $1  
Resource Type:  Book
Cx Number:  CX2906

Abstract:  The "peaceful" atom is a myth. Not only is it a fact that "there is no technical basis for a distinction between the 'peaceful' and military atom," but "this past decade has provided damning evidence that civilian nuclear technology has become the dominant means of acquiring nuclear weapons capability throughout the world."

The technical information required to manufacture atomic energy is now generally available. For example, a summary of the technical problems encountered in building the first U.S. atomic weapons is now available from the U.S. government information service for $4.00 (U.S.), with a cautionary note that "neither the U.S. nor the Commission, nor any person acting on behalf of the Commission "assumes any liabilities with respect to the use of, or from damages resulting from the use of any information, apparatus, method or process disclosed in this report." Reprocessed plutonium from nuclear power plants is one of the easiest ways of obtaining the material for constructing nuclear weapons. The authors notes that all of the purchasers of the Canadian CANDU reactors -Pakistan, South Korea, Argentina, and Taiwan - have obtained or attempted to obtain the reprocessing technology from France and other countries while the Canadian public was simultaneously being reassured that CANDU couldn't possibly be used fro military purposes. (India, of course, already has constructed nuclear weapons using CANDU reactors.)

The author argues that no-one benefits from the sale of nuclear technology except the nuclear industry. He maintains that nuclear reactors are an inefficient way of producing electricity in Canada - so inefficient that the nuclear industry faces collapse from lack of orders, forcing it to seek desperately needed foreign markets. Nuclear power is even less useful in the Third World, where only the wealthiest 12 per cent of the population even have the access to electrical grids, and where money would be much better spent on small-scale, local energy developments, especially solar. (Eighty per cent of the earth's population lives within 35 degrees of the equator, the most favourable zone for solar energy.)

The export of nuclear reactors is detrimental to the interests of Canadians and Third World peoples, creating economic costs and inappropriate forms of development while increasing the risks of nuclear war.

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