Alberta is an energy-based economy plain and simple. For better or worse we are known as the home of the oil sands and are more often than not the environmental whipping boy of whatever group or celebrity that wants to show that they are concerned about the environment
What people on the outside looking in fail to see is that we here in “oil country” Love our landscape and our province. We work our asses off to be the best we can at our industries so that we leave the smallest impact on our environment as we can. And we pour millions of dollars into our environmental regulations and remediation plans to ensure that our environment will be as good or better than it was before we do anything. We aren’t China, hosing down mountainsides with nitric acid trying to get ores out without a care for fixing our impact on our landscape. But the problem is is that we are reaching diminishing returns for how effectively and cleanly we can get our products out and to the people that need them by running them off of fossil fuels.
What we do want is to foster a discussion that leads Alberta in a direction that will help stabilize the economy and job market against massive swings in the prices of fossil fuels. And if we can build an entirely new high tech industry that will employ people from all sectors then that’s even better.
Before anyone gets up in arms. No, we are not saying we should shut down the oil sands. That would be stupid. Our world is never going to not need plastics or any of the other hundreds of thousands of products, materials, precursors, components, or fuels that are provided for by our petrochemical industry. But we can be smarter about how we use it. Because let’s face it, burning it is basically as foolish as burning a big pile of money, especially when we have other options.
By moving off of fossil fuels for energy and away from unreliable sources of electricity, like grid-scale wind and solar, towards a prosperous and sustainable nuclear-powered future we can grow Alberta to be a leader not only in Canada but across the globe. It won’t be easy. It will be long hours of hard work. Also known as sweet, sweet overtime pay.
So who are we and why should you believe us or listen to anything we say?
Lead Writer and Editor
Sean Wagner MSc.
Sean is a lifelong nerd with a BSc and MSc in Materials Engineering from the University of Alberta. His focus was on materials characterization and production. Before starting Alberta Nuclear Nucleus he worked for two years as a research assistant under Dr. Thomas Thundat, formerly of Oak Ridge National Labs studying nanoscale gas flows through porous structures. He studies nuclear energy in his own time because it ticks all the boxes that are needed for combating climate change and promoting environmental stewardship such as low carbon, high intensity, reliable, large scale power generation. Plus its just really interesting on a technical level.
Social Media Advisor
Catherine Metke BSc. Spec. Geology Student
Catherine is a geology student at the University of Alberta who specializes in the hard rock side of things, particularly minerals and ore deposits. To that end, she is currently researching subaerial decay of pyrite specimens in the context of museum conservation. She is also researching the environmental tolerances of capitellid polychaete worms as it relates to the occurrences of their trace fossils in sedimentary rocks. Marine invertebrate biology has nothing to do with hard rock or minerals, but playing with worms and mud all day is pretty cool too. Her fascination with nuclear energy started as a (former) history student focussed on the 20th century and WWII. Atomic energy and geology intersect in Canada because we are the worlds second largest producer of uranium ore after Kazakhstan. It comes largely from mines in the Athabasca Basin in Saskatchewan, including the most concentrated deposits on Earth at Cigar Lake/MacArthur River.