Friday, July 26, 2013

RE: #Thorium Desalination Projects

Christian Paradis, Minister of International Development
John Baird, Minister of Foreign Affairs


I write you today after much reflection on energy politics in Canada following the explosive tragedy in Lac M├ęgantic, Qu├ębec. I write to suggest a targeted foreign aid program with the potential to bolster both Canadian and developing economies; specifically, I suggest sizeable investments in Thorium desalination projects. These projects feature small-scale nuclear reactors that power the energy-intensive processes purifying sea water; some Thorium desalination projects are engineered as dual-purpose facilities, which produce energy for commercial and residential consumption as well as potable water.

Thorium desalination projects are strategically valuable to Canada for several reasons, foremost, as a means to advance research toward large-sale, safe, and emission-free Thorium power generation. The generation technique uses molten salt rather than heavy water (composed of heavier isotopes of hydrogen), which means it is safer in the event of a power loss, and near impossible to weaponize.

Directing foreign aid support to Thorium desalination projects adheres with economic reality that desalination will only become increasingly common as natural fresh water supplies are depleted. The decentralized small-scale desalination/generation model also holds value for the sustainable development of the environmentally sensitive Canadian North. 

Imagine if our foreign aid programs were able to contract Canadians to build a secure and responsible energy future, while dramatically increasing access to clean water in the world's poorest parts. 

Minsters, this ideal could become a reality within the next budget cycle. There is already a Canadian company, Thorium Power Canada Inc, blazing the trail managing two projects in Chile and Indonesia, the latter a generation-only project. 

Thorium research is a big part of solving the global energy crisis, and Canada should be a leader in this effort. I implore you to research and champion Thorium investments as priorities for foreign aid spending in the next budget cycle. 



(This is a T-shirt you can buy from Snorg-Tees)

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Letter to Editor Published in the KCR

I got the following letter published in the King's County Record in Southern New Brunswick. It's paywalled web content, so I figured I should re-post. (I ranted pretty extensively about that paywall in the Moncton Free Press, but I can't search it any!)

What if we Rethought Canada Day in Sussex?

As I watched the fireworks crack and fizzle in Monday’s rainy skies, the fumes of burning chemicals filled my lungs, and I had a thought. Isn’t there anything better than fireworks we could be celebrating Canada with?

Fireworks are an expensive flash in the pan, literally. Then consider all the gnarly compounds they pump into the air; I had the misfortune of being downwind this year.

So what if we did Canada Day in true Sussex fashion, with a hot air balloon moon glow?

When we spend $10,000 on fireworks each year, that money just evaporates. With three to five years of that funding re-directed, the Town of Sussex could buy their own hot air balloon that could be used whenever The Town sees fit. Free balloon rides could be given to residents at the Balloon Fiesta, and night skies of Canada and New Brunswick Days could be lit up. 

Further, a balloon purchase could get the community engaged through design consultation and an online vote for the final product.

I'm not suggesting a bleak next few years celebrations; we can act now and amortize the purchase taking advantage of hot air balloons having a depreciation value. A balloon purchase would be an investment for Sussex.

The only thing needed for this idea to become a reality is political will.