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

  • Same-sex couples start registering marriages in Taiwan

    World News CTV News
    TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Hundreds of same-sex couples in Taiwan are rushing to get married on the first day a landmark decision to legalize same-sex marriage takes effect. One household registration office in Taipei was packed Friday as couples seized the earliest opportunity to tie the knot. Source
  • Brazil's supreme court votes to make homophobia a crime

    World News CTV News
    RIO DE JANEIRO -- A majority in Brazil's supreme court has voted to make homophobia and transphobia crimes like racism, a decision coming amid fears the country's far-right president will roll back LGBT social gains. Source
  • More than video shows in Vegas bus shove murder case: lawyer

    World News CTV News
    LAS VEGAS -- There is more to know than a bus security video clip has shown about the case of a 25-year-old woman accused of killing a 74-year-old man by shoving him off a public bus in Las Vegas, an attorney defending the woman on a murder charge said Thursday. Source
  • Family of incapacitated woman who was raped blames Arizona

    World News CTV News
    PHOENIX -- The parents of an incapacitated woman who was raped and later gave birth at a Phoenix long-term care centre alleges in a $45 million legal claim that the facility and state broke their promise to have only female caregivers tend to their daughter. Source
  • Calgary man convicted of murder for second time after new trial ordered

    Canada News CTV News
    CALGARY -- A Calgary man has been convicted of the killing of a University of Calgary student -- for the second time.READ MORE on this story from CTV News Calgary A jury convicted Mitchell Harkes Thursday of the second-degree murder of 20-year-old Brett Wiese, who was fatally stabbed in the back at a party in January 2013. Source
  • Lawyer says deal close in Weinstein sexual misconduct lawsuits

    World News CBC News
    A tentative deal is close to settling lawsuits brought against the television and film company co-founded by Harvey Weinstein, who has been accused of sexual misconduct by scores of women. "We now have an economic agreement in principal that is supported by the plaintiffs, the AG's office, the defendants and all of the insurers that, if approved, would provide significant compensation to victims, creditors and the estate, and allow the parties to avoid years of costly, time consuming and…
  • Trump moves to escalate investigation of intel agencies

    World News CTV News
    WASHINGTON -- U.S. President Donald Trump directed the U.S. intelligence community on Thursday to "quickly and fully co-operate" with Attorney General William Barr's investigation of the origins of the multi-year probe of whether his 2016 campaign colluded with Russia. Source
  • Reports: Theresa May expected to announce departure as British PM

    World News CTV News
    LONDON — Increasingly isolated, Prime Minister Theresa May backed down Thursday from plans to seek Parliament’s support for a Brexit bill already rejected by much of her Conservative Party, as expectations rose that she would cave in to demands that she resign and let a new leader try to complete the U.K. Source
  • Theresa May expected to announce departure as British PM: reports

    World News CTV News
    LONDON — Increasingly isolated, Prime Minister Theresa May backed down Thursday from plans to seek Parliament’s support for a Brexit bill already rejected by much of her Conservative Party, as expectations rose that she would cave in to demands that she resign and let a new leader try to complete the U.K. Source
  • Canada seeing spike in temporary visas as migrant worker advocates raise alarm

    Canada News CTV News
    OTTAWA -- Applications for temporary resident visas issued to visitors, students and temporary workers in Canada have more than quadrupled since 2015, stretching the Immigration Department's ability to process them, according to a federal report. Source