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

  • Hotel fire kills at least 11 in Karachi

    World News CTV News
    KARACHI, Pakistan - A massive fire swept through a four-star hotel in the southern port city of Karachi on Monday, killing at least 11 people, officials said. More than 50 people suffered injuries in the early morning blaze, which started in the hotel kitchen, police officer Tauqeer Naeem said. Source
  • Karachi hotel fire leaves at least 11 dead

    World News CBC News
    A massive fire swept through a four-star hotel in the southern port city of Karachi on Monday, killing at least 11 people, officials said. More than 50 people suffered injuries in the early morning blaze, which started in the hotel kitchen, police officer Tauqeer Naeem said. Source
  • Fake news story led man to shoot inside pizza shop: Cops

    World News Toronto Sun
    WASHINGTON — A man who said he was investigating a conspiracy theory about Hillary Clinton running a child sex ring out of a pizza place fired an assault rifle inside the Washington, D.C., restaurant on Sunday injuring no one, police and news reports said. Source
  • Judge orders Michigan recount to begin at noon Monday

    World News Toronto Sun
    DETROIT — A federal judge in Detroit is expected to rule on whether a recount of Michigan votes in November’s presidential election can proceed immediately or if elections officials will have to wait two business days to get started hand-counting about 4.8 million ballots. Source
  • Al Pacino, Mavis Staples, Eagles receive Kennedy Center honous

    World News CBC News
    The longest, loudest standing ovation of the Kennedy Center Honors gala wasn't reserved for Al Pacino, Mavis Staples or the Eagles. Instead, it went to the man sitting to their left, attending his eighth and most likely his last honours presentation: President Barack Obama. Source
  • Fake news story led man to shoot inside Washington pizza shop, police say

    World News CTV News
    WASHINGTON - A man who said he was investigating a conspiracy theory about Hillary Clinton running a child sex ring out of a pizza place fired an assault rifle inside the Washington, D.C., restaurant on Sunday injuring no one, police and news reports said. Source
  • Elizabeth May says she'll likely lead Greens into next federal election

    Canada News CBC News
    Green Party leader Elizabeth May says she'll likely lead them into the next federal election after members voted at a special general meeting in Calgary over the weekend to withdraw support for a controversial resolution calling for sanctions against Israel. Source
  • Sherwood Park teacher spends three years rescuing chimpanzee from Iraq

    Canada News Toronto Sun
    His international volunteer experiences started out as a way to make social studies real for students. But Sherwood Park teacher Spencer Sekyer has learned lessons of his own through an unlikely sequence of events that saw him find refuge for a suffering chimpanzee across the planet. Source
  • Philippine VP quits cabinet over 'major differences' with Duterte

    World News CTV News
    MANILA, Philippines - There was no immediate reaction Monday from Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte to the country's vice-president saying she will resign her Cabinet post, citing "major differences in principles and values" with Duterte and an unspecified plot to remove her from the vice presidency. Source
  • Armed man arrested after travelling to D.C. pizzeria cited in fake news story

    World News CBC News
    A man who took a rifle into a Washington pizza restaurant on Sunday "to self-investigate" a fake news report that it was operating a child abuse ring has been charged with assault with a dangerous weapon, police in the U.S. Source