The Pickering Nuclear Power Facility near Toronto Canada was built in 1966. Yes it is well maintained. Yes there is tremendous investment in safety. Yes the people who work at the facility are dedicated. Let’s talk real costs. Yes that is what we mean when we discuss responsible investment. But it still is almost fifty years old. Are the standards of 1966 sufficient in today’s extreme weather?
There are many ways to hide real costs in our democratic economy. The first is subsidies. What is a subsidy? A subsidy is a form of support to an economic sector or business to promote or give it an advantage. The energy sector is one area that has many subsidies of which many consumers and investors are not aware.
The nuclear industry has long been subsidized. The most distressing area is in the area of lifecycle management. If there is an accident in many countries, there is a limit on liability insurance. Until 2015, the limit on liability in Canada was $75 million. In 2015, the limits were increased for the first time in forty years and will be increased to $1 billion.
This increase will be phased in over a three year period.
Think about the greater Toronto area. It is referred to as the Golden Horseshoe are of southwestern Ontario. It includes approximately 8 million people and 20% of Canada’s GDP or more than a third of a trillion dollars. There are aging nuclear facilities within the GTA. The problem as activists see it is not that they are in any way mismanaged, the problem is that they are not built to meet the standards of today’s extreme weather. The Fukishima nuclear disaster in Japan, 2011 was the direct result of climate change. Yes I said it. Those two words; climate change, that people and institutions argue vehemently over as to its existence. But it does exist. The standards to which the Fukishima was built were very high. It was built to withstand earthquakes and tsunamis. But no one anticipated an earthquake of 9.0. Research here varies. There was no transparency in the extent of the standard or the damage. As late as 2013, it was reported that radioactive water was still leaking into the Pacific Ocean.
So let’s think about the risk of another nuclear disaster right here in our own backyard.Is $1 Billion liability insurance enough?Well assuming a nuclear accident affects everyone of the 8 million in the area, it would translate to $125 per person.
Oh well, I am sure that our personal insurance will cover the rest since our homes will be uninhabitable…Check your policy – many home insurance policies do not cover nuclear accidents or disasters.
So do you want to invest in or consume nuclear produced electricity?
My friends in the GTA and everyone who lives within a potentially radioactive radius of a nuclear reactor are worth more. Are yours?
Yours in Corporate Social Responsibility,
Cara MacMillan MBA