How’s about a nuclear reactor in one’s own backyard? I mean, literally in the backyard. It’s technically possible, thanks to the fine people at Hyperion Power Generation. I could get one of their tool shed sized reactors, bury it out back, and sell enough juice to BC Hydro for 20,000 homes. Now that’s a business opportunity.
But sadly, according to an article on thestar.com, the cost of one unit is 30 million bucks. Raising that sort of money would expose my little project to unwanted publicity, and before you know it I’d have to contend with loads of protesters on the lawn. As you may know, many people are still prejudiced against nuclear energy. They say it isn’t safe. They point to the example of Chernobyl. They ask about where the waste is going to be stored for half lives of millions of years. And what about those pesky terrorists perpetually plotting attacks using dirty bombs?
Of course, none of that will stop Hyperion. They have their eyes on Alberta’s tar sands, where the alchemy of turning bitumen into gold requires lots of electricity to produce steam from lots of water. The tar sands — themselves something of a screw you to the environment — have a bit of a PR problem these days, not only because of that degradation of the environment thing, but because they use enough natural gas in a day to power three million homes. But if you can get cheap power from something a little larger than a portapotty, who is going to ask a lot of questions?
Perhaps the Romanians or the Czechs? “TES Group SA, an energy investment company in Eastern Europe, has already signed a “letter of intent” to purchase six reactors from Hyperion and possibly 50 more in a follow-on order. The group wants to deploy the units in Romania and the Czech Republic.” (Tyler Hamilton, thestar.com).
But it’s okay, the systems are monitored so that if any terrorists try to tamper with them, Hyperion will know about it. Just what they’ll do about it in the case of a deployment in the remote Carpathians, who knows? (“Hello? Yes, just calling to let you know your reactor has been stolen. Bye now.”) And no need to worry about meltdowns, since due to their “unique, yet proven science” they can never go supercritical. As for that pesky nuclear waste, it’s only the size of a “softball” per unit every five years. Why, that’s practically nothing — depending, of course, on how successful they are at selling these things.
But no, in spite of it being all so super safe, if I put one in the backyard you just know it would cause the most incredible kerfuffle. Especially since this is an NDP riding. Bloody socialists, tree hugging liberals, latté drinking Luddites marching up and down with their protest signs while chanting “Hey, hey, ho, ho, backyard nukes have got to go!” Sigh.
Perhaps it’s just as well. Despite all the assurances, and my desire to make those big bucks, I’m pretty sure some sceptical corner of my mind would continue to wonder if today is the day the phrase backyard barbecue takes on a whole new meaning.