Ontario urged to abandon $13-billion nuclear reactors rebuild

TORONTO -- Environmentalists want the Ontario government to abandon plans for a $13-billion refurbishment of four nuclear reactors at the Darlington generating station east of Toronto and instead import more electricity from Quebec.

See Full Article

The Ontario Clean Air Alliance says nuclear projects always run over budget, and it doesn't want to see taxpayers on the hook to pay for rebuilding the Darlington reactors that are owned and operated by Ontario Power Generation.

"Every single nuclear project in Ontario's history has gone massively over budget by two and a half times," said Alliance president Jack Gibbons. "OPG says this project will cost $12.9 billion, but if history repeats itself it will be $32 billion."

Gibbons said even if the refurbishment came in on budget, the cost to taxpayers of maintaining about 2,225 jobs at Darlington would work out to nearly $6 million per job.

Greenpeace Canada, meanwhile, is concerned about the safety and health risks posed by nuclear power generation in the event of an accident, and says refurbishing the aging reactors at Darlington is not worth the risk.

"The government agencies mandated to protect the public are helping push the project through by concealing Darlington's true risks from the public," said Greenpeace spokesman Shawn-Patrick Stensil.

Quebec is the fourth-largest producer of electricity generated by water in the world, has the lowest power rates in North America, and could sell Ontario enough electricity to replace what would be generated by a refurbished Darlington, said Gibbons.

"We should sign a long-term deal with Quebec which would enable us to cancel the Darlington rebuild project, keep our lights on and reduce our electricity bills," he said.

Some existing transmission lines between Ontario and Quebec would have to be upgraded for an inter-provincial power deal, which the Clean Air Alliance estimates would cost $500 million but the Independent Electricity System Operator puts at closer to $2 billion.

"Darlington doesn't come to the end of its life until 2020, so we've got enough time to make the upgrades," said Gibbons.

Bruce Power announced plans last month to spend $13 billion to refurbish the nuclear reactors at the generating station it operates in Kincardine, on Lake Huron, and the private company will assume all risks of cost overruns.

Ontario's only other nuclear station, in Pickering, is also scheduled to be decommissioned by 2020, and there are no plans to rebuild its reactors to extend their lives.

Ontario is looking to expand existing electricity agreements with Quebec and is exploring importing power from Manitoba as well, but Premier Kathleen Wynne wants to keep generating about 50 per cent of the province's electricity from nuclear power.

"We made a decision not to build new nuclear, and we basically took $15 billion off the future energy plan by doing that," Wynne said in an interview with The Canadian Press.

"So in order to make sure that we have enough power, we need to refurbish our nuclear, we need to buy from Quebec, we may need to buy from Manitoba, and we need to grow our green energy sector, our solar and wind."

OPG president and CEO Jeff Lash touted the benefits of the Darlington project in a speech last month, saying most of the $12.9-billion budget would be spent in Ontario.

"The Conference Board of Canada crunched the numbers and determined the refurbishment would generate $14.9 billion in economic benefits to Ontario ... and about $5.4 billion in revenues for all three levels of government," said Lash.

"Importing power from Quebec or Manitoba would require construction of new dams and power stations, and perhaps more difficult would be constructing new transmission lines to reliably deliver the power where it's needed."

Ontario's New Democrats also said the Liberal government should consider options like importing power from Quebec instead of going ahead with the Darlington rebuild.

"The people of Ontario want to be sure that the future options for electricity are ones they can afford, because they sure can't afford it now," said NDP energy critic Peter Tabuns.



Advertisements

Latest Canada & World News

  • A Big House for retirement: Ont. man to live in converted N.B. jail

    Canada News CTV News
    DORCHESTER, N.B. - An Ontario garbage worker has decided to retire to the Big House -- a defunct New Brunswick jail with a history of hangings. Bill Steele of Oshawa just bought the former jail in Dorchester -- listed for $159,900 -- which was decommissioned more than 20 years ago and features 15 original cells. Source
  • ACLU, Georgia battle over 'Allah' last name for toddler

    World News CTV News
    ATLANTA -- A civil rights group sued Georgia over the state's refusal to allow a couple to officially name its 22-month-old child "Allah." The American Civil Liberties Union of Georgia filed the lawsuit recently in Fulton County Superior Court on behalf of the couple, Elizabeth Handy and Bilal Walk. Source
  • U.S. stocks lower as 'Trump trade' runs out of steam

    World News CBC News
    The three-month rally in stock markets ran out of a little steam on Monday on worries that the Trump White House may not be able to push through as many changes to business regulations as once thought. Source
  • Family pays tribute to American slain in London terror attack

    World News CTV News
    LONDON -- The family of an American slain in last week's terror attack in London expressed gratitude for the kindness of strangers on Monday, offering hope and resolve that some good would result from the tragedy. Source
  • Kushner agrees to speak to Senate panel about Russia

    World News CTV News
    WASHINGTON -- U.S. President Donald Trump's son-in-law has volunteered to answer questions before the Senate Intelligence Committee about arranging meetings with the Russian ambassador and other officials, the White House confirmed Monday. Jared Kushner has agreed to speak to the committee, which is conducting an investigation into Russia's interference in the 2016 election, including whether there are any ties between Trump associates and the Kremlin, the White House said. Source
  • 'No evidence' London attacker associated with ISIS: police

    World News CTV News
    LONDON -- Police have found no evidence that the man who killed four people in London last week was associated with the Islamic State group or al Qaeda, a senior British counterterrorism officer said Monday. Source
  • London attacker wasn't linked to al-Qaeda or ISIS, police say

    World News CBC News
    A senior British counterterrorism officer says police have found "no evidence" Westminster attacker Khalid Masood was associated with ISIS or al-Qaeda. Deputy assistant commissioner Neil Basu said Masood clearly had "an interest in jihad," but police have no evidence he discussed his attack with others. Source
  • U.S. couple accused of trying to sell baby on Craigslist for $3,000

    World News CTV News
    ELIZABETHTON, Tenn. - Authorities say a Tennessee couple is accused of trying to sell a 5-month-old baby online for $3,000. Local news outlets report that the Greene County Sheriff's Office says 37-year-old Deanna Lynn Greer and 26-year-old John David Cain were arrested Friday on charges of aggravated child abuse and aggravated child neglect or endangerment. Source
  • 5 things we learned about the changing nature of news from The National in Conversation

    Canada News CBC News
    Some of CBC's top journalists and personalities from around the country gathered in Charlottetown on Friday for a panel discussion about the changing nature of news. Peter Mansbridge, CBC's chief correspondent, was the moderator. On the panel were senior correspondent Susan Ormiston, Power & Politics host Rosemary Barton, CBC News Now with Ian Hanomansing host Ian Hanomansing, CBC News: Nova Scotia and East Coast correspondent to The National Tom Murphy, columnist Rex Murphy and This Hour Has…
  • Massive $1M gold Canadian coin stolen in Berlin

    World News CBC News
    Berlin police say thieves broke into the German capital's Bode Museum and made off with a massive 100-kilogram gold coin issued by the Royal Canadian Mint that's worth millions. Dubbed the "Big Maple Leaf" and measuring three-centimetres thick with a diameter of 53 centimetres, the coin has a portrait of the Queen on one side and maple leaves on the other. Source