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

  • Filipino troops kill notorious Abu Sayyaf kidnapper in clash

    World News CTV News
    MANILA, Philippines - The Philippine military chief says marines have killed an Abu Sayyaf extremist commander considered to be one of the most notorious kidnappers in the country's south. Military chief Gen. Eduardo Ano tells The Associated Press that Alhabsy Misaya was slain in a clash with marines late Friday in the jungles between the towns of Indanan and Parang in Sulu province. Source
  • Some U.S. lawmakers want parents charged in genital cutting cases

    World News CTV News
    ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Lawmakers in Minnesota and Texas are pushing to crack down on parents involved with genital cutting after an indictment against a Detroit-area doctor accused of performing the procedure on two young Minnesota girls highlighted the little-known practice. Source
  • Three men sentenced for stealing $18 million worth of maple syrup in Quebec

    Canada News Toronto Sun
    MONTREAL - Three men convicted in connection with the theft of $18 million worth of maple syrup in Quebec were sentenced on Friday to between two and eight years. Superior Court Justice Raymond Pronovost sentenced Richard Vallieres to eight years in prison, confiscated $606,500 from him and fined him another $9.4 million. Source
  • Donald Trump to NRA: 'Eight-year assault on your Second Amendment freedoms has come to a crashing end' [Video]

    World News Toronto Sun
    ATLANTA - President Donald Trump reaffirmed his support for gun rights Friday, telling attendees of a National Rifle Association convention that “the eight-year assault on your Second Amendment freedoms has come to a crashing end.” Trump, the first sitting president to address the group’s annual convention in more than 30 years, assured the audience that he would defend their right to bear arms in a campaign-like speech reminiscent of his election rallies. Source
  • Friends hail slain 86-year-old Calif. woman as hero for allegedly defending friend

    World News CTV News
    NORTH HIGHLANDS, Calif. -- A young man was identified Friday as the suspect in the sexual assault and beating death of an 86-year-old California woman. She was remembered as a hero by investigators and neighbours after she used a walking stick to try to stop the alleged assailant from attacking her friend. Source
  • Conviction, 5-year sentence upheld for cop who faked crash reports

    Canada News CTV News
    TORONTO -- A veteran police officer who prepared bogus accident reports in exchange for cash lost his bid on Friday to overturn his conviction and five-year prison term. In upholding the guilty finding, the Court of Appeal for Ontario rejected arguments from Peel Regional Police Const. Source
  • Major earthquake hits south of Philippines, no injuries reported

    World News CTV News
    MANILA, Philippines - Philippine officials say a powerful earthquake with a magnitude of 7.2 has struck off a southern province and prompted a local tsunami warning, but there are no immediate reports of damage or injuries. Source
  • Videos reportedly show gruesome abuse of young boy who was fed to pigs

    World News Toronto Sun
    KANSAS CITY, MO. - Videos and photos from a home in Kansas where a 7-year-old boy’s remains were found in a pigsty show the boy suffered horrific abuse in the months before he died, the child’s maternal grandmother said. Source
  • Fentanyl suspected in 2 deaths in Newfoundland

    Canada News CTV News
    The drug fentanyl is suspected of killing two people and causing 14 other overdoses in Newfoundland and Labrador. The local health authority issued a warning Thursday, saying the drug is suspected of causing 15 overdoses, including one death. Source
  • Men sentenced up to 8 years for Quebec maple syrup heist

    Canada News CTV News
    MONTREAL -- Three men convicted in connection with the theft of $18 million worth of maple syrup in Quebec were sentenced on Friday to between two and eight years. Superior Court Justice Raymond Pronovost sentenced Richard Vallieres to eight years in prison, confiscated $606,500 from him and fined him another $9.4 million. Source