There are many in the environmental movement who think that nuclear power has a role to play in reducing greenhouse gas emissions; Greenpeace in Canada is not among them. They are doing their best to convince residents of Toronto that it is not safe to be in "the zone", the thirty kilometre radius around the Pickering nuclear plant.
But their recent campaign has backfired badly; they were dropping leaflets with "anti-radiation" iodine pills and citizens have been calling the police.
The cops issued an alert, published in the National Post:
"It's an unknown substance in pill form being delivered we're kind of concerned," Staff Sergeant Dan Sabadics said. "We treat it as unknown and hazardous until we know what it is."..."Since then, Greenpeace has agreed to cease and they've turned over all remaining [pills]. We're just testing them now," he said.
"It seemed like a good idea at the time. But once it's explained that you're delivering pills and a child [might] get a hold of this. What effect it will have on a child? We don't know. There are liability issues."
"There is still a criminal investigation at this point. We still have to find out what we're dealing with and we'll go from there."
The Star tells a bit of Greenpeace's side of the story:
Greenpeace Canada claims a pill it delivered to the doorstep of a wary Rosedale resident was not an attempt to poison neighbourhood children, but an innocuous part of an anti-nuclear campaign.
The pills, made of seaweed, were distributed in [Toronto neighbourhoods] Cabbagetown and Rosedale on the weekend along with a leaflet to raise awareness about the hazards of radiation exposure from leaking nuclear plants. Greenpeace aims to convince Premier Dalton McGuinty to shut down the Pickering power plant and replace it with green energy.
"Seaweed contains iodine and it was to make a point to people in Toronto centre," said Greenpeace's Shawn-Patrick Stensil. "(The plant) is within a 30-kilometre radius from downtown Toronto. Chernobyl destroyed everything within a 30-kilometre radius."
Greenpeace says "Going green means shutting down nuclear!" and calls Ontario's Green Energy Act "a cynical greenwash to hide the fact that his [the energy minister's] nuclear plans will rob green energy of the funding needed for development."
35% of Ontario's electricity comes from nuclear power, and the government has committed to eliminate the 19% of Ontario's power that comes from coal in five years. Greenpeace is protesting the replacement of existing nuclear capacity from reactors that are reaching the end of their useful life. It is a controversial issue, but is trying to panic the population of Toronto with "anti-radiation" pills an effective tactic?