Mr. Speaker, I would first like to say that the Bloc Québécois is in favour of Bill C-5 because we are in favour of safety, and we want to guarantee that people are insured if ever an accident happens. I say “if ever” but, given the law of probabilities, there will be an accident sooner or later. If it is not in Canada, then it will be somewhere else. That would effectively change the entire ideology of developing nuclear plants to generate electricity.
In any case, as I said, we are in favour of the bill because it provides a way to respond to an accident, even a small one. I just spoke about the probability of accidents. There are 60 accidents a year in Canada's nuclear plants alone. They have always been small contained incidents, but they could become serious accidents.
I am not talking about the tritium that is released, or that has been released. It took years in order to find solutions to limit the release of tritium into the air, which really caused pollution around CANDU plants. A CANDU plant is not a safe plant. The uranium-filled pipes bend over time because they were poorly designed. And when they bend, they can impede the movement of water around them. It is an example of a dangerous but efficient plant.
The minister again mentioned this morning that they are the four most efficient plants in Korea. We are not denying that these plants are efficient; we are just saying that this is a dangerous system. That is one of the reasons why they have been unable to develop the ACR-1000. It poses the same risks of tubes bending and deteriorating prematurely.
In any case, we really do not see why the Minister of Natural Resources is calling it a clean energy. It is clean as long as we do not talk about residue. Radioactive waste is dirty and will remain so for millions of years.
According to the minister, we will soon be recovering nuclear waste and giving it a second life. I would like to point out that France studied this for 15 years and abandoned the research because there was no prospect of success. And yet, we know that France has great faith in nuclear power. France passed the file on to the United States, which is also about to give up because they have not discovered how to deal with nuclear waste that is at an almost uncontrollable temperature. Consequently, this is not a solution that will materialize and we will therefore have a nuclear energy shortage. The A235 and the A239 may perhaps be ready in 35 to 40 years.
Therefore, we support this bill, which will protect existing plants and the people living nearby. However, we do not want this to automatically encourage the development of nuclear power in Canada, especially since Ontario is presently thinking of going that route. What lies east of Ontario, in its prevailing winds? Quebec. If an accident were to occur in Ontario, we would not want the radioactivity to spread to our province. We would not want that at all. Furthermore, Quebeckers generally do not support the development of nuclear power.
A few years ago, in 2002, not at the time of a referendum but when there was a movement against trucking MOX, 150 municipalities said no to road transportation of MOX.
What makes them think that it will be easy to truck enriched uranium or heavy water in a few years?
It is going to take an army and the police, before and after, to stop the demonstrators, and all that will cost a fortune. Nuclear power is expensive and cannot meet our needs.
At present, in the whole world, 12% of total electricity is produced by nuclear power. If we are going to be able to meet the needs, the rate would have to be 75% in 2050, which is totally impossible, because countries are not rich enough to pay for nuclear power. Nuclear power is necessarily a way of producing electricity that belongs to the rich. There will also not be enough uranium in the mines to supply all of the nuclear power plants.
Some people argue that this is the only solution that will not cause air pollution. That is absolutely not the case. There are other methods of producing electricity in a safe and sustainable way. I am thinking about deep geothermal energy, at a depth of two or three or four kilometres underground.
In the United States, 25 leading soil scientists participated in a $400,000 study on this topic. The study shows that deep geothermal energy is undeniably the only way to supply all of the electrical energy that will be needed in 2050. In Canada, the same would be true, because we have the same kind of soil. There are no social consequences, given that these facilities are not obvious and make no noise. Most importantly, there is no danger.
Deep geothermal energy does not need Bill C-5, because there are no accidents possible. At worst, a little pipe might be pierced and a bit of steam might get out. On the other hand, nuclear power will always be a sword of Damocles, always. It is like with a plane: you never know what day the plane will fall. We never know what day the nuclear power plant will blow up, either.
That is why we support Bill C-5. In our opinion, the legislation as it previously stood, which provided for $75 million of protection, was flatly and plainly inadequate if an accident happened—and they will happen. We do not know how big the problem will be, but there will certainly, and unfortunately, be accidents; it is the law of averages.
Some people will say that $650 million is not much more. It is a little more, but it is not a huge amount. It is not comparable to the United States, where $9 to $11 billion has been set aside. But that is a different system.
Here, we have opted for a system under which the insurance companies would provide this guarantee against nuclear accidents, and they do not want that protection to go above $650 million. In that regard, the government is right. It is the amount the insurance companies have agreed to commit to. Why are they not prepared to increase that amount? The reason is simple: because accidents can happen. If an accident can happen, why are we building more power stations? We should keep the ones we have and end it there.
I spoke about deep geothermal energy, but let us look at the amount of energy that can be produced just through geothermal heating—the geothermal energy found on the earth's surface. If 200,000 to 250,000 homes were powered this way, the yield would correspond to three times the energy potential of a 600- to 700-megawatt nuclear power plant.
I can see that I am running out of time. I would have liked to have spent all evening talking about nuclear energy, as I find it very interesting.
Because there is probably a very powerful nuclear energy lobby, people think it is the future. We think it is the past, and we think we should not focus on nuclear energy without consulting citizens.
The bill we have before us is interesting. However, why does the bill not state how the waste and residue will be buried? Why does it not state that the public would be consulted before we continue to produce nuclear energy? Furthermore, why did the government not say in this bill that it planned on privatizing the agency responsible for nuclear energy? This privatization would mean that we lose even more control, and that nuclear energy would be left up to the market.
Nuclear energy should not be run by the market. We must think about our health. The government is responsible for protecting the health of its citizens. Nuclear energy cannot protect our health, because there is always an imminent danger of a potential accident.