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Reverse Zone, weblog on urban planning, sustainability, and technology.

Martin Laplante

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Sun, 30 Sep 2007

Give the Peace a Chance

All on the same day: BC announced it was reviving the controversial "Site C" proposed hydroelectric dam on the Peace River. Energy Alberta announced that it was applying to build a nuclear power plant in Peace River, Alberta (downstream, not upstream from the dam - this isn't going to be an underwater nuclear reactor). And several oil companies announced that they were acquiring land for oil and gas wells in between the two. Why does Peace River need so much electricity? Well, tar sand extraction takes a lot of energy and water, and besides the Athabaska tar sands there is the lesser known Peace River tar sands deposits, right there near where the nuclear plant is planned. Are tar sands companies the ones buying that power? No, they say, the province lets them burn as much fossil fuels as they want (I'm paraphrasing but that's the essence) so why should they try to reduce their emissions?

So much for the peaceful farming communities of the Peace River. I wonder if changes to the water level, like those that resulted from previous dams on the Peace River, will remove so much water from the river that it affects the nuclear power plant.


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