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

  • Trump heads to U.N. with long list of deals he's yet to close

    World News CTV News
    WASHINGTON -- U.S. President Donald Trump, a self-described deal-maker, is saddled with a long list of unresolved foreign policy deals he has yet to close heading into his U.N. visit this coming week. There are challenges with Iran, North Korea, the Afghan Taliban, Israel and the Palestinians -- not to mention a number of trade pacts. Source
  • U.S. man dies during underwater proposal, girlfriend says

    World News CTV News
    A couple from Louisiana had their romantic trip to a Tanzania resort end in tragedy after the man died while to proposing to the woman while underwater, according to local reports. Kenesha Antoine posted a memorial to her partner Steven Weber that included photos and videos of the proposal on Facebook. Source
  • Teen activist Greta Thunberg delivers message ahead of UN youth climate summit

    World News CBC News
    The first UN youth climate summit kicks off in New York City on Saturday with a panel of speakers that includes 16-year-old Swedish environmental activist Greta Thunberg. She was on Capitol Hill on Wednesday, wrapping up a six-day visit to Washington, appearing with other young activists before the House foreign affairs subcommittee on climate change. Source
  • Greta Thunberg, other activists, deliver messages at UN youth climate summit

    World News CBC News
    The first UN youth climate summit kicks off in New York City on Saturday with a panel of speakers that includes 16-year-old Swedish environmental activist Greta Thunberg. She was on Capitol Hill on Wednesday, wrapping up a six-day visit to Washington, appearing with other young activists before the House foreign affairs subcommittee on climate change. Source
  • U.K.'s Labour Party in turmoil as vote to oust deputy ditched

    World News CTV News
    LONDON -- A vote to oust the deputy leader of Britain's main opposition Labour Party was ditched Saturday after a big backlash to the proposal prompted Jeremy Corbyn, the party's leader, to intervene. The surprise attempt to abolish the role of deputy leader by one of Corbyn's close allies caused uproar among many Labour members and has overshadowed the start of the party's annual conference in the southern England city of Brighton. Source
  • Rare protests in Egypt call for el-Sissi to step down

    World News CTV News
    CAIRO -- Rare anti-government protests broke out in Egypt Friday night calling on President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi to step down. The former army general has overseen an unprecedented political crackdown, silencing critics and jailing thousands. Source
  • Police use tear gas in Paris amid an array of protests

    World News CTV News
    Paris police used tear gas Saturday to disperse anti-government demonstrators who try to revive the yellow vest movement in protest at perceived economic injustice and French President Emmanuel Macron's government. The French capital was placed under high security as few hundred anti-government protesters started marching in the Paris streets Source
  • Paris police use tear gas for 2nd time on day of protests

    World News CTV News
    PARIS -- A protest march on climate change brought thousands of people to the streets of Paris, including some agitators who scuffled with police and drew tear gas in response Saturday. Peaceful participants marched in the south of Paris to demand urgent action from the government and corporations to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, save the burning Amazon rainforest and stop the Arctic from melting. Source
  • Iraq detains suspect in deadly bombing that killed 12

    World News CTV News
    BAGHDAD -- Iraqi security forces boosted their presence and measures around the Shiite holy city of Karbala on Saturday, a day after a deadly bombing hit a minibus packed with passengers outside the city. Iraq's prime minister said security forces have detained a man suspected of detonating the bomb. Source
  • Hong Kong protesters burn flag, police fire pepper spray

    World News CTV News
    HONG KONG -- Protesters in Hong Kong burned a Chinese flag and police fired pepper spray Saturday in renewed clashes over grievances by the anti-government demonstrators. Police accused some protesters of throwing gasoline bombs after a march by several thousand people in Tuen Mun, an outlying district in the northwest of the Chinese territory. Source