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Differing perspectives on nuclear power

Using technology developed for atomic bombs, Canadian scientists hoped to bring safe, economical power to an energy-hungry world. By 1962, the first Candu (Canada Deuterium Uranium) reactor was powering Canadian homes, and Canada led the world in nuclear power generation technology. But Candu has fallen on hard times, faced with rising costs and serious environmental and ethical questions.

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Candu reactors now provide five per cent of Canada's electrical energy, and are expanding on pace to provide 40 per cent by the year 2000. But Canadians know little about the social, political and environmental issues nuclear power raises. In Ottawa, Ont., a group of experts on both sides of the debate talk with CBC host Patrick Watson about balancing nuclear power's risks with the world's growing power needs.
• In 2002 nuclear power produced about 14 per cent of Canada's electricity.

The Watson Report ran from 1975 to 1981. Host Patrick Watson produced and hosted many CBC programs, including This Hour Has Seven Days. He was made an Officer of the Order of Canada in 1981 and was chair of the CBC Board of Directors from 1989 to 1994.

• Canada's Nuclear Liability Act, passed in 1970 and proclaimed law in 1976, protects nuclear industry manufacturers from any financial liability if there is a nuclear accident, and protects operators from all but $75 million in liability. The government doesn't have to provide additional funds, and victims can only make a claim up to 10 years after an accident. Insurance companies will not insure property against a nuclear accident.
Medium: Television
Program: The Watson Report
Broadcast Date: April 16, 1977
Guest(s): Gordon Edwards, John McManus, John Runnalls
Host: Patrick Watson
Duration: 6:51

Last updated: November 7, 2014

Page consulted on January 21, 2015

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