Mr. MacLean (Queens):
Especially Saskatchewan. After all, the problem of transportation of fuel is almost non-existent in the case of producing energy from atomic sources, because the amount of fuel required in the form of uranium for atomic power is very small indeed. As a matter of fact, a pound of atomic fuel, even under present-day processes, is equal to 1,250 tons of coal. In other words, in the form of atomic fuel a carrier pigeon could carry almost as much energy as a freight train can carry in the form of coal. Hence the question of transportation is almost non-existent.
Of course the question arises as to whether there are sufficient supplies of the fuel for atomic energy, namely uranium. Uranium is a relatively common element. As a matter of fact, uranium is about twenty times as prevalent as silver, and is about one-twelfth as common as lead. There are very large amounts of uranium in the earth's crust, and the energy which it will provide is much greater than the energy which might be provided from the known store of all other forms of energy-producing minerals, coal, oil, natural gas and everything else put together. Therefore it is not inconceivable that a time might come when our present
sources of energy, coal, oil and natural gas will begin to become exhausted, and if for no other reason than that our economy will have to turn to atomic energy for its support.
When atomic energy is brought into everyday use in this country I hope the benefits which it can bring will be realized. I hope it will be used as a source of cheap power in the areas of this country which need it most. It may be said that a remark of that kind is premature, but it should be realized that with the rapid advances in the scientific field today, atomic energy for ordinary uses may be brought into existence within a very few years.
That being so, Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased indeed to see that this committee to study and examine the operations of the government in the field of atomic energy is being set up. I think it is very necessary, and I believe that it is faced with a greater responsibility than possibly any other committee that ever has or ever will be created in this House of Commons.