On Friday, at the urging of Pickering-Uxbridge MP Jennifer O’Connell and Pickering Councillor Maurice Brenner, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) agreed to move its upcoming hearings on OPG’s application for a 10-year licence extension for the aging Pickering Nuclear Station from far-off Courtice to the Pickering Recreation Complex, just a few minutes from the plant.
Thanks to all of you who wrote to the CNSC’s boss, federal Natural Resources Minister Jim Carr, to help make this happen.
As Ms. O’Connell pointed out in her letter to the CNSC, the Commission’s efforts to notify the public about this hearing have been underwhelming. The Commission claims in response that it ran two newspaper ads (in five papers, including one seven months ago), emailed its subscribers, and posted information on its website and social media feeds. You’ve probably seen more advertising from your local dog walker.
Which means you probably missed the “official” deadline for making submissions on whether it makes sense to renew the license of one of the oldest and costliest-to-operate nuclear plants in North America. But don’t let that stop you. The CNSC needs to hear from the millions of people who will be affected by this decision, so we strongly urge you to email the CNSC (email@example.com) and state that:
· The CNSC must not simply rubber stamp OPG’s license application, as it has with all previous nuclear plant license requests, but, instead, properly consider the extreme risks of continuing to operate six nuclear reactors surrounded by more than two million people. The CNSC must acknowledge that a major accident at Pickering would be catastrophic for much of Southern Ontario and not simply dismiss these risks as “remote.”
· The CNSC should take into account the ready availability of lower cost and safer alternatives (e.g., importing Quebec water power) when assessing whether the risks of continuing to operate Pickering are acceptable or even necessary.
The public hearings will take place from June 25–28 at the Pickering Recreation Complex. Hopefully, the CNSC will be more welcoming to the public than it has been in the past and will come prepared to listen to evidence about the need to close this aging nuclear station, rather than just listening to nuclear industry insiders.