Nuclear Power




I was looking out over the big city, through the floor to ceiling windows of my corner office on the 40th floor, when my secretary came over. “It’s time, sir”, she said, straightening my $200 tie and unrumpling my $2000 suit.  I follow her past my snooker-table size solid maple desk and my 8 foot wide custom made wall-mount computer monitor screen, wade through the ankle-deep carpeting, pass through the massive solid oak door to my board room, and nod good morning to the about 20 Smart People sitting along the sides of my glistening teak boardroom table.

The gentleman at the other end announces “the Big Guy is here, now folks, so we will turn the floor over to him”

“OK” says I, “We are going to end this depression starting today. First thing, we will peel away the bureaucratic crap, and immediately start on construction of a nuclear power station adjacent to the biggest Alberta oil sand operation.  It will be designed to produce all the really hot water the oil guy needs, electricity will be a by-product.  We will sell the hot water to him at 10% below what it costs him now to heat the water with natural gas, so he will be happy.  We will follow on with nuclear plants serving all the oil sands guys.  They say Alberta oil is ‘dirty’ because of the CO2 we put out by burning all that natural gas to heat water, so our oil will now be clean.  It will take at least 10 years to build a nuke even without all the red tape, so we will have time to take care of any issues that arise.  Anybody see any problems?”

Smart Person at far end, right, says “right off the hop, I don’t think the environmental lobby is going to accept that going from gas to nuclear will make our oil clean”

I say “If they can buy an ‘Occupy’ movement, and an ‘Idle No More’ movement, surely we can buy a ‘Nukes are Nice’ movement. We just have to throw enough money at it. That’s your job.  Next question?”

Smart person, near end, left says “that’s a huge increment in world uranium consumption, where will all the uranium come from?”

I say “We strip away all the bureaucratic crap so our mining guys can go out and find mines, and actually mine what they find. Should be able to find enough in 10 years.  You can look after that.  Next question?”

Smart person, middle left says “how will we market all the electricity in a saturated market?”

I say “I have given that some thought. Here is what we will do.  First create a national passenger rail service using electric trains.  CN and CP mostly run their trains through the US, so their Canadian track should be able to handle the traffic.  Then we put a fleet of little electric cars in all the city downtowns, sort of like a street version of shopping carts, you just jump into one, put in your toonie,  go to where you need to go, and leave it there for somebody else.  All the parking spots are wired to charge the batteries, so that uses some electricity.  Then we set up to pump water UP Niagara falls, use the stored water to generate peak electricity.  That would let us shut down all the natural gas stations Ontario has idling on standby for when the windmills stop and the sun doesn’t shine.  The rest we dump into the US at a price where they will retire some coal-burners.  You can look after that.  Next question?”

Smart Person, near right, says “What about the big surplus of natural gas this will create?

I say “We use some of that electricity to run big compressor stations, and change the tax structure so people will start to drive compressed natural gas cars and trucks and buses. Or we put a bubble over Winnipeg, and heat and air condition the whole thing.  Whatever.  Your job is to figure out the answer to that one.  Next question?”

Smart Person, middle right, says “so we have reduced our demand for oil way down with all this. What do we do with the surplus oil?”

I say “We strip away the bureaucratic crap and build a pipeline to China. Next question?”

Smart person, far left says “so all we have really done will be to make cheap oil for China. Why don’t we just stop buying stuff from China, keep our money at home to end the recession, and save doing all this?

I am stumped, stress level rising, tie wilting, then suddenly I am Willy, home in my cabin on the seventh concession of Partridge township, no corner office,   no secretary, no $200  tie, no nukes.  Can’t wait to tell Joe about this weird dream.

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