100 days to save 12%

The Ford Government must use its next 100 days in office to show it has a workable plan to meet its promise to reduce electricity costs by 12%. And it must do so without repeating the mistakes of the previous government – turning up its nose at an incredible offer of low-cost power from Quebec and using accounting tricks to create an illusion of savings.

Step one is to take new Quebec Premier Francois Legault up on his offer to sell Ontario low-cost power. In fact, the new Quebec premier has said he sees power exports as a key way the two new like-minded governments can work together. “Of course, we have clean energy, cheap energy, compared to the nuclear, and I would like [to] make [that] our contribution and work together,” Mr. Legault told the National Observer

This is not a new offer from Quebec – the province is keen to expand its electricity exports as it has a large and growing power surplus – but under pressure from our high-cost (and coddled) nuclear industry, the previous Ontario government refused to sign a major long-term deal. As a businessman, Mr. Ford must recognize that getting the same goods at half the price is an offer that is just too good to refuse and should immediately negotiate a smart deal with Quebec.

By saying “yes” to Premier Legault’s generous offer, Premier Ford could give every Pickering nuclear worker a $1 million severance package and still reduce Ontario’s electricity costs by $5 billion

When will Doug Ford keep his promise?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Step two is to focus on finding real savings for electricity users instead of just hiding costs on another set of books. Electricity consumers can save big by increasing efficiency and today’s technology makes it easier than ever to do so. Delivering real bottom-line savings on bills – instead of just moving numbers around — is particularly important for rural and small town electricity consumers grappling with Hydro One’s sky-high distribution charges.Switching to more efficient heating technology, improving insulation, heating water on demand – these are the kinds of actions that can deliver real bottom-line savings for millions of Ontarians.

By paying consumers to save a kilowatt-hour (kWh), Premier Ford can avoid the need to pay Ontario Power Generation 4 to 8 times moreto produce a kWh of electricity. We all save with a more efficient system that requires fewer expensive generating stations.

Please send a message to Premier Ford [doug.ford@pc.ola.org] and Energy Minister Rickford [greg.rickford@pc.ola.org] now telling them you want them to keep their promise by developing a real plan — not accounting tricks — to reduce our electricity costs by 12%.

Thanks,

Jack Gibbons
Chair, OCAA

Let’s make every Pickering worker a millionaire

How could the Ford Government actually meet its promise to reduce hydro bills?  It could start by making every worker at the Pickering Nuclear plant a millionaire.

OK, that sounds like a pretty strange plan, but the fact is that by replacing the power from Pickering that Ontarians currently use with low-cost water power from Quebec, we could save so much money that we could make every Pickering worker a millionaire and still save billions on our electricity costs (you can see all the details in our new report).

Workers are given a more-than-fair settlement for the quick shutdown of an aging and increasingly unsafe plant and we all pay less for power. Plus, we end the production of tens of thousands of radioactive fuel bundles that are currently being piled up on the Pickering waterfront in warehouses and open water pools with no long-term storage solutions in sight.

And the wins just keep coming: If we embark on immediate decommissioning of the plant, as recommended by the International Atomic Energy Agency, we can create thousands of skilled jobs in dismantling its 50-year-old reactors and moving waste to a much more secure facility away from the water.

That, in turn, opens up a 750-acre waterfront site for redevelopment, just as the closure of the dirty Lakeview coal plant has allowed Mississauga to embark on an ambitious new plan for its waterfront.

Instead of accounting tricks that shift costs between ratepayers and taxpayers, our plan results in real bottom-line savings for everyone who buys electricity in Ontario.  So let’s make Pickering workers millionaires and save ourselves some serious dough.

If you want to save on your hydro bill, sign our petition to close Pickering today!

We can make every Pickering worker a millionaire — and still save billions!

According to the Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters, the Pickering Nuclear Station’s performance is “persistently abysmal… by any objective measure.”

Ontario Power Generation admits that Pickering’s operating costs are higher than those of any other nuclear station in North America

Half of the power produced by Pickering is exported at a loss, costing Ontario electricity ratepayers hundreds of millions of dollars each year.

Ontario can lower its electricity costs by $1.1 to $1.4 billion per year by closing the Pickering Nuclear Station and importing cleaner, safer and lower-cost water power from Quebec.

The savings would be so great that we could pay every Pickering worker $1 million in severance and we would still save billions!

Sign the petition to close Pickering!

The International Atomic Energy Association recommends immediate decommissioning for closed nuclear plants.  This would create thousands of hours of work over a decade or more as the plant is dismantled and waste is moved to more secure facilities.

The people of Pickering would then have a roughly 700-acre waterfront site ready for redevelopment – just as Mississauga is redeveloping the site of the old Lakeview coal station.

It would also mean that we stop accumulating close to 20,000 radioactive fuel bundles every year that are added to the huge pile – 700,000 bundles – already being held on the Pickering waterfront.  There is no long-term storage site for this waste anywhere in North America, and not likely to be one soon.

We all win by closing Pickering: electricity consumers save big; Pickering workers are rewarded; and we remove an aging and dangerous nuclear plant from our largest urban area, where it simply doesn’t belong.

Read the full report: How we can make every Pickering nuclear worker a millionaire and save Ontario electricity consumers $5 billion

Another costly nuclear decision – Pickering gets 10-year extension

Unsurprisingly, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) has approved a ten-year extension to the aging Pickering Nuclear Station’s operating licence, meaning the plant can now operate until 2028. 

It took the CNSC less than five weeks to review – and dismiss – dozens of submissions pointing out the Pickering Station’s terrible location surrounded by millions of people, the lack of thorough emergency planning despite 50 years of operations, and the absence of plans for better dealing with the tonnes of radioactive waste stockpiled at the plant with nowhere to go.

Instead, the CNSC came down in favour of submissions such as one made by Ontario Power Generation that claimed that no one had been harmed by the massive radiation releases from the Fukushima accident and that “some radiation” is actually good for you!

Meanwhile, the CNSC essentially ignored the findings of international radiation expert Dr. Ian Fairlie about the true potential consequences of a Fukushima-scale accident at Pickering, including more than 20,000 cancer deaths and hundreds of thousands of homes left evacuated for decades.

It also ignored the issues raised by nuclear risk expert Dr. Gordon Thompson about the ever-growing pile of highly radioactive waste on the Pickering waterfront – next to the source of drinking water for 40 million people – including enough plutonium to construct more than 11,000 nuclear warheads. Somehow it is ok with the CNSC that Pickering continues to produce close to 20,000 radioactive fuel bundles every year despite a lack of fully secure storage facilities onsite or any viable long-term plan for dealing with this deadly waste.

The CNSC’s lack of serious scrutiny of the issues involved in operating a 50-year-old nuclear station well past its intended lifespan were made clear by its decision to begin hearings on the licence renewal just as the licence was coming up for renewal. With only a few weeks between the end of public hearings and the licence expiry, it was obvious the CNSC never truly intended to do anything more than issue its usual rubber-stamp approval. Indeed, the CNSC has never refused a nuclear licence request – no matter how old or trouble-prone the facility.

But that certainly doesn’t mean that continuing to operate Pickering is a good, safe or economical idea. In fact, replacing Pickering with low-cost water power from Quebec would save us $billions. Meanwhile, decommissioning the fourth-oldest nuclear station in North America would create thousands of jobs and open up new economic opportunities on the Pickering waterfront.

The CNSC may be satisfied that millions of people living alongside eight aging reactors (six active) is a good idea, but we know the vast majority of residents of the GTA are not on board with this risky plan.

We need an unbiased review of the true costs and benefits of continuing to operate this high-cost, high-risk facility, which should have been closed years ago. Please email energy minister Greg Rickford <greg.rickford@pc.ola.org> and tell him that closing Pickering now is the best way to cut electricity costs while ensuring the safety of millions of Ontarians.

Thank you. Please pass this onto your friends.

Angela Bischoff, Director

Ford needs a real plan to lower electricity bills

The Ford Government’s mantra is “promise made, promise kept.” But in the case of its promise to cut electricity bills by 12% there is still a long road ahead. Showing the board and CEO of Hydro One the exit and cutting renewable energy contracts will not be sufficient. Premier Ford is going to need to dig a lot deeper.

Real savings mean saying no to nuclearThe place to start is with Ontario’s high-cost nuclear energy projects. In our new report, Three Options to Reduce Ontario’s Electricity Costs, we have outlined how taking a pass on some or all of these high-cost nuclear projects could save Ontario electricity consumers anywhere from $1.1 to $5.7 billion per year.

The Ford Government can take a fiscally responsible approach to our electricity system by closing the highest-cost nuclear plant in North America – the Pickering Nuclear Station – when its licence expires this summer. And Premier Ford can actually preserve and create jobs in Pickering by ordering the immediate decommissioning of the closed plant and make way for the redevelopment of Pickering’s waterfront.

The numbers are black-and-white: Replacing high-cost nuclear power with low-cost water power from Quebec can result in enormous savings. That’s the bottom line our new Premier needs to focus on.

Please contact Premier Ford (doug.ford@pc.ola.org) and ask him to direct the Independent Electricity System Operator to analyse the potential cost savings that Ontario can achieve by importing low-cost Quebec power to replace higher-cost nuclear power.

Thank you. Please pass this message onto your friends.

Angela Bischoff, Director

 

Three Options to Reduce Ontario’s Electricity Costs

This report outlines three ways in which the Ford Government could actually reduce electricity costs.  We outline how the government could save electricity users anywhere from $1.1 to $5.7 billion per year by closing the aging Pickering Nuclear Plant and forgoing expensive reactor rebuild plans in favour of lower cost options, such as improved energy efficiency and importing low-cost water power from Quebec.

Read the report

Pickering Nuclear’s huge radioactive waste problem

 

The Pickering Nuclear Station has a deadly secret: The plant is a storehouse for 16 million kilograms of high-level radioactive waste sitting right on the edge of Lake Ontario.

The more than 760,000 spent fuel bundles stored at the Pickering plant are the legacy of 50 years of reactor operations with no long-term waste management solution in sight. This waste contains dangerous radioactive elements and enough plutonium to construct more than 11,000 nuclear warheads. Laid end-to-end, the radioactive fuel bundles stored at Pickering would stretch from Kingston to St. Catharines.

Pickering's waste would stretch from Kingston to St. Catharines

More than half the waste that Ontario Power Generation has been quietly piling up at Pickering is kept in open water pools. One of the biggest concerns during the Fukushima nuclear disaster was the possibility of a “pool fire” if the zircaloy cladding on spent fuel bundles combusted. All of Tokyo would have needed to be evacuated if a narrowly avoided pool fire had happened. Pickering’s fuel has the same cladding, except Pickering is 10 times closer to downtown Toronto than Fukushima is from Tokyo.

The rest of Pickering’s massive inventory of spent fuel is stored in warehouses that have no defences against rocket or airplane attacks. All of this, right next to the source of our drinking water.

But the most troubling news from a report commissioned by the OCAA from nuclear risk expert Dr. Gordon Thompson is that this waste is probably going nowhere for a century or more – if ever. That’s because the Nuclear Waste Management Organization’s effort to find a “willing host” community to become the burial site for tonnes of radioactive waste has no end in sight — and may never succeed. Even if a willing community can be found, building a massive underground storage facility and transferring tonnes of waste from Pickering and other nuclear sites will take decades.

We’re calling for the waste to be pulled back from the waterfront and stored in above-ground, attack-resistant, reinforced-concrete vaults.

What other industry would be allowed to create toxic, dangerous radioactive waste for decades with no long-term safe disposal plan in place?

Those, like Premier Ford, who think it’s a good idea to keep Pickering running well beyond its design life need to immediately explain their plan for dealing with its deadly waste. No one in Pickering or Toronto agreed to be a “willing host” community for the storage of 16,000 tonnes (and growing) of radioactive waste. It’s time to stop the production of even more of this deadly waste every year.

Sign the petition to close Pickering and better secure its waste.

Also, please contact your MPP (Member of Provincial Parliament) – ask her/him to tell Premier Ford to close Pickering in August when its licence expires and stop producing these deadly radioactive wastes.

Thank you. Please pass this message onto your friends.

Angela Bischoff, Director

 

Pickering’s big– and growing — waste problem

The nuclear power industry likes to claim that it produces “clean” energy.  This statement ignores the very significant amounts of radioactive waste created by extracting energy from uranium. 

400,000 radioactive fuel bundles are stored in open water pools at the Pickering Nuclear Station

Currently, the Pickering Nuclear Station has two “dry storage” facilities for the storage of spent nuclear fuel (and other radioactive wastes).  These facilities currently store more than 340,000 highly radioactive spent fuel assemblies loaded in containers that each hold 384 assemblies.  Radioactive assemblies more recently removed from reactors are stored in open water-filled pools. Roughly 400,000 spent fuel assemblies —more than half of Pickering’s current waste — are currently stored in these pools. Ontario Power Generation (OPG) is planning to add three additional radioactive waste storage buildings to the Pickering site, which would bring the total storage capacity up to 1,152,768 spent fuel assemblies, which is enough storage to continue to operate all six of Pickering’s operational reactors for a decade or more beyond 2024, which is when OPG currently says it plans to stop operating all of the plant’s reactors.

This is a very significant amount of waste.  As of the end of 2017, this waste included roughly 56,000 kg. of plutonium.  If the plant continues to operate until it reaches its maximum licensed waste storage capacity, this amount would grow to about 88,000 kg.  of plutonium — more than can be found in all operational nuclear warheads worldwide today.

Sign the petition to close Pickering and stop the production of more deadly waste

Ontario Clean Air Alliance Research asked nuclear risk expert Dr. Gordon Thompson from the Institute for Resource and Security Studies in Massachusetts to look at the risks of storing this large quantity of radioactive waste at a plant that is surrounded by millions of people. In 2005, Dr. Thompson was asked to prepare a report on reasonably foreseeable security threats to options for long-term management of radioactive waste in the United Kingdom by the UK government’s Committee on Radioactive Waste Management.

Waste is stored literally on top of Lake Ontario at the plant

Dr. Thompson notes in his report that the Pickering Nuclear Station is “suboptimal as a spent nuclear fuel-storage site from perspectives including defensibility, proximity of populations, and potential to contaminate Lake Ontario.”  He concludes that while steps could be taken to reduce risks, there is simply no way to fully eliminate the risks involved in storing more than a million spent fuel assemblies in the middle of our largest urban area, right on the shore of the source of drinking water for tens of millions of people.

The waste being stored at Pickering is far from benign. Besides plutonium, these wastes contain the radioactive isotope Cs-137.  In 95% of its decays, Cs-137 yields Ba-137m, a radionuclide that can be absorbed by the body. Cs-137 sheds dangerous isotopes readily when nuclear fuel is overheated, such as in a fire or explosion.  Therefore, the quantity of Cs stored at Pickering represents a good measure of the radiological risk posed by the site.  Dr. Thompson compared Cs at Pickering to the quantities at Fukushima and found that when Pickering reaches its full waste storage capacity, it will have roughly a third more Cs than was deposited on land after the Fukushima explosion. So the radiological risk posed by Pickering is significant should Cs ever be released through a container failure or fire.

As noted above, the spent fuel assemblies at Pickering also contain significant amounts of plutonium, which again is produced on an ongoing basis through the nuclear reaction at the heart of the plant’s operation (the plant produces approximately 18,000-22,000 used fuel assemblies each year). This plutonium is “reactor grade” but Dr. Thompson notes that various experts have stated that it is still suitable for use in weapons.  As one expert noted, “The difficulties of developing an effective [nuclear explosive] design of the most straightforward type are not appreciably greater with reactor-grade plutonium than those that have to be met for the use of weapons-grade plutonium.”  Only an amount shaped into roughly the size of an orange — about 4.5 kg. of plutonium — would be needed to create a critical mass for a nuclear explosion.   

More importantly, plutonium could be used to simply spread radioactive elements through either a bomb or other means of dispersing the material over a wide area or by secreting the radioactive material near a target and exposing those in the vicinity over a period of time.  Dr. Thompson points out that a 2007 study sponsored by Defence Research and Development Canada estimated that the economic impact of an open-air explosion of a radiological dispersal device (a.k.a, dirty bomb) at the CN Tower in Toronto would be $250 billion.

Dr. Thompson notes that most North American nuclear plants, including Pickering, are actually relatively “lightly defended” with armed guards, vehicle barriers, alarms, etc.  He points out that it would likely be possible for a well-armed and well-trained small force to breach these defences. The station also has no direct defenses against an attack from air or water with missiles, bombs or fuel-laden aircraft. 

But putting aside the threat of an attack, there is also the threat of fire or storage cask degradation. Dr. Thompson notes that CANDU and more common light-water reactor (such as those at Fukushima) both employ zircaloy cladding on fuel bundles, which means there is the potential for an exothermic reaction if the zircaloy is exposed to steam or air, leading to fire.  A runaway, exothermic reaction – a “pool fire” – in the spent fuel pool of Fukushima #1 Unit 4 was narrowly avoided during the Fukushima accident.  If the pool had caught fire, it would have been necessary to evacuate much of Tokyo – and the Fukushima nuclear plant is more than the ten times further from Tokyo than downtown Toronto is from Pickering.

Similarly, fuel containers that will have to remain tightly sealed for thousands of years to avoid any radiation leakage could slowly decay or be damaged.  In the U.S., consideration is now being given to the need to equip radioactive waste storage sites with “dry transfer systems” — systems that can be used to inspect or move materials while in storage from one cask to another should the need arise.  Pickering currently has no such system.

Waste will likely be stored at Pickering for 100 years or more

In this context, it is important to note Dr. Thompson’s finding that the significant amount of waste currently stored at Pickering will likely remain there for many decades to come.  Given the Nuclear Waste Management Organization’s (NWMO’s) current timelines for establishing a remote repository for nuclear waste and the time it would take to transfer waste to such a facility, Dr. Thompson finds that waste could continue to be stored at Pickering for 100 years or more.  But he also points to the failure in the United States of plans to construct a centralized long-term storage facility at Yucca Mountain in Nevada to explain the growing view that many reactor sites are likely to become long-term storage sites by default.  

It is worth noting the widespread public opposition to plans for a “Deep Geological Repository” near the Bruce Nuclear Station and to a “Near Surface Disposal Area” for waste from the nuclear research facilities at Chalk River Laboratories near Ottawa in this context.  The NWMO’s timeline assumes it can find a “willing host” community, construct a massive underground storage complex, and successfully move hundreds of thousands of radioactive fuel assemblies over long distances to the new remote facility.  These assumptions are all far from assured.

That opens the question of how we manage a site that will need to be maintained and secured for thousands of years. The U.S. Department of Energy has modelled the possibility of waste being stored onsite at reactors and other existing waste sites for up to 10,000 years, but with actual control of these sites lapsing after as little as 60 years in recognition of the large range of uncertainty that come with managing waste that will need to be stored for 400,000 years.  Dr. Thompson notes that the real time frames for waste being stored at Pickering far exceed what OPG has acknowledged and planned for even under the NWMO’s current plans.

The likelihood that radioactive waste could still be stored at the Pickering site a century – or many centuries — from today means it is all the more important that we properly acknowledge the risks involved.  As Dr. Thompson notes, nuclear regulators often downplay what they characterize as remote risks – such as a terrorist attack — without acknowledging that the consequences of such events would be catastrophic.  He believes much more attention needs to be paid to the qualities of these risk and the devastating scale of potential outcomes when weighing the wisdom of continuing to operate six reactors in the heart of a large urban area.

In fact, Dr. Thompson concludes that the first step we can take to reduce radiological, proliferation, and program risks at Pickering is to shut the plant down when its licence expires in August 2018.  This would pave the way for a number of positive outcomes:

  • An end to highly radioactive spent fuel waste, including Cs and plutonium, accumulating;
  • The opportunity to consolidate existing waste into a more secure (including from aircraft attack) hardened onsite storage facility. This facility would also incorporate a dry transfer system to ensure long-term container integrity;
  • No fuel stored in pools with the potential for dangerous fires once the final fuel assemblies are moved to dry storage;
  • A return of waterfront lands to the people of Pickering and a more safe and secure community.

It is hard to imagine any other industry being allowed to accumulate large quantities of highly hazardous waste for more than 50 years with only temporary storage methods in place.  Of course, nuclear waste presents challenges on a scale we have never dealt with before: Managing waste sites for thousands of years while keeping materials with high destructive potential completely secure.  So it is perhaps not surprising that the NWMO projects it will take at least 60 years to come up with a long-term waste solution.  And, equally unsurprisingly, that there is a growing skepticism that a viable remote disposal solution will ever be developed.

The nuclear industry has had a free ride on dealing with its deadly waste products for far too long.  It is time to acknowledge that we have better waste-free solutions for meeting our electricity needs and that it is time to stop producing more of these dangerous waste products, while more securely storing what has already been left behind.

To read Dr. Thompson’s full report on the risks of radioactive waste storage at Pickering, click here.

 

 

 

 

Urgent: Hearings on Pickering license extension this week

Urgent: Hearings on Pickering license extension this week

The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) will be holding public hearings this week on OPG’s quest to keep the aging and outdated Pickering Nuclear Plant running for at least another decade. We need you in the room to let the CNSC know that we expect a real evidence-based hearing on the wisdom of keeping a 50-year-old, high-cost nuclear plant operating in a densely populated urban area when we have so many lower-cost, safer alternatives.

Puclic hearings run from June 25 to 29th at the Pickering Recreation Complex, 1867 Valley Farm Road (map).

There will be many well-informed speakers (read their submissions), including the OCAA Chair Jack Gibbons, who will be trying to get the commissioners to face up to the real risks and high costs of OPG’s plan. Jack will be presenting Wednesday morning and you can watch his presentation (and any other parts of hearing) via livestream or attend in person.

The CNSC too often acts as a cheerleader for nuclear power rather than as a truly independent protector of public safety. That’s why we need you to get out to these hearings and use your presence to let the CNSC know that the public is watching.

On the second day of the hearing, Tues. June 26, 12:30 – 1:30 p.m. there will be a rally outside the hearing to let those inside the room know that the risks of continuing to run Pickering far outweigh any benefits. This will be a colourful and lively event to highlight the need for open and transparent decision making, instead of the CNSC’s usual rubber-stamp approvals (they have never turned down a licence request). Please join us!

Keeping Pickering running for another decade is a decision with huge safety and cost implications for millions for Ontarians. We need your help to hold the CNSC accountable for its decisions by helping us drag its processes out of the shadows. If you can drop in for a few minutes or an hour or more, or if you can watch online, it will help to send the message that not everyone is willing to turn a blind eye to the huge risks of running an aging nuclear station in the wrong place – for years to come.

Thank you.

Angela Bischoff, Director

Ford fails to seize opportunity to lower Ontario’s electricity costs by $1.1 billion per year

 

Today Ontario Premier-Designate Doug Ford failed to seize his opportunity to lower Ontario’s electricity costs by $1.1 billion per year by directing Ontario Power Generation (OPG) to close the Pickering Nuclear Station in August when its licence expires.

On the contrary, Mr. Ford announced that he will allow the 4th oldest nuclear station in North America to continue to operate in the middle of the GTA until 2024.

Mr. Ford’s decision does not make financial sense for Ontario’s electricity consumers. The annual savings from closing the Pickering Nuclear Station would be 183 times greater than the savings from firing Mayo Schmidt, the CEO of Hydro One.

According to the Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters association, the Pickering Nuclear Station’s performance is “persistently abysmal…by any objective standard.”

According to OPG’s own 2015 Nuclear Benchmarking Report, Pickering’s operating costs are higher than those of any other nuclear station in North America.

To add insult to injury, approximately half of Pickering’s output is surplus to Ontario’s needs and is exported to the U.S. at a financial loss.

Nevertheless, based on an out-of-date 2015 report, which compared Pickering’s costs to those of a natural gas-fired power plant, Mr. Ford asserted that the continued operation of the nuclear station will save Ontario consumers $600 million. What Mr. Ford failed to note is that Ontario can lower its electricity costs by $1.1 billion per year by replacing Pickering’s output with lower cost water power from Quebec.

For more information, on the financial benefits of buying Quebec power and closing Pickering, please click here to read our report: We have better choices: It’s time to close the aging Pickering Nuclear Plant.

Presently, 1900 people work at the Pickering Nuclear Station. By immediately dismantling and decommissioning the station, we could create 32,000 person-years of employment over the next 14 years, creating a fair jobs transition for the workers. To read our report on immediate decommissioning, please click here.

Please pass this message on to your friends.

Thank you!

Angela Bischoff, Director

 

What is OPG really up to at Pickering?

In response to calls to close the aging Pickering Nuclear Station, our newly elected Premier, Doug Ford, defended keeping the plant running until “at least” 2024 while on the campaign trail.

That phrase, “at least”, is very important because there is clear evidence that Ontario Power Generation (OPG) really wants to keep the plant operating way beyond its claimed  shutdown date of 2024.

Last year, OPG received approval to expand the storage capacity for spent nuclear fuel at Pickering to a level sufficient to hold up to 1.1 million spent fuel bundles in dry storage. These are the bundles of radioactive rods that are removed from the reactors after use. They contain a number of dangerous elements, including plutonium and other radionuclides that can damage the human body.

Here’s what’s telling about OPG’s plan: If the plant closed in 2024, at current production levels, it will have produced approximately 835,000 fuel bundles, assuming the two remaining 1970s-vintage “A” reactors are shut down in 2020. If all six reactors remain online until 2024, the plant will have produced around 865,000 bundles by 2024. So OPG has approved plans for storing 240,000 to 260,000 more spent fuel bundles than it would ever need by 2024.

In other words, OPG has planned for enough waste storage to allow it to continue operating the reactors for up to 22 years beyond 2024 – to keep this 50-year-old nuclear station operating until 2046! Of course, this fits with its application for a 10-year license extension, despite the fact that it claims that it plans to close the station in 2024.

This is the hidden agenda for Pickering that OPG doesn’t want to talk about. After all, Pickering is already on “life extension” and has essentially been treated to a patch-up job to keep its reactors running.

Please send a note to OPG President and CEO Jeffrey Lyash <jeffrey.lyash@opg.com>, asking why they’re planning to have enough spent fuel storage capacity to allow the Pickering Nuclear Station to continue to operate until 2046 while publicly committing to close it in 2024.

We’ll have more to say about the wisdom of storing hundreds of thousands of radioactive fuel bundles right next to Lake Ontario shortly. Stay tuned.

Please share this bulletin with your friends. Thanks.

Angela Bischoff, Director

Ford and Wynne wrong on electricity costs

Hamilton Spectator
May 26, 2018
Angela Bischoff

Ford and Wynne wrong on electricity costs
NDP and Greens have the right idea about closing Pickering for cheaper opportunities, writes Angela Bischoff

If provincial party leaders get their campaign pronouncements right, the next government at Queen’s Park will have a real shot at bringing electricity costs under control, with a least-cost energy strategy that saves ratepayers $1.1 billion per year.

But the path to that result is not what conventional wisdom would have predicted. Two weeks in, the party leader trying to claim the mantle of fiscal responsibility is going all-in on an unnecessary, multi-billion-dollar nuclear boondoggle. It’s the New Democrats and Greens — the two parties Doug Ford is scrambling to push back — that are advocating for a cost-effective strategy that involves closing the Pickering nuclear plant on schedule and replacing its expensive electricity with low-cost power imports from Quebec.

It’s inexplicable and sad to see Liberal leader Kathleen Wynne following Ford’s lead after her government opened the door to a long-term power purchase from Quebec. But stranger still is Ford’s apparent disinterest in lower-cost alternatives to propping up one of North America’s oldest nuclear stations.

With the highest operating costs in North America, Pickering has played a major role in driving up electricity rates and triggering high hydro bills as an election issue. Ford likes to tout his business experience as a qualification for the premier’s chair, but if this is the level of judgment and analysis he’ll bring to Queen’s Park, we should all be afraid, very afraid.

Of course, Ford’s allowed to make up his own opinions on the campaign trail, just like all the other party leaders. But nearly two years after another fraught election brought the terms “fake news” and “alternate facts” to the mainstream, he makes up his own data at his peril.

With all the facts and arguments supporting the Pickering shutdown, and the majority of Pickering residents supporting the move, the momentum in the campaign is leaning in that direction.

• The last few days have seen some wildly inflated estimates of the number of jobs affected by a Pickering shutdown. The actual head count at the facility is 1,900. Those jobs matter, but it’s a false sense of security to string those workers on for a few more months or years before the plant inevitably falls off the grid. Research by the Ontario Clean Air Alliance shows that a decision to begin decommissioning Pickering on schedule in August would sustain workers’ jobs until 2032 and match up with international best practices.

• Electricity from Pickering costs 10 times as much as recent supplies from Quebec. Pickering’s electricity costs 9.2¢ per kilowatt-hour, based on numbers from Ontario Energy Board hearings. In 2017, according to Ontario’s Financial Accountability Office, the province imported four billion kWh from Quebec at the low, low cost of 2.2¢ per kWh.

• Hydro-Quebec is offering Ontario a 20-year, firm supply of electricity at a cost of 5¢/kWh. That’s more than the 2017 price, since “spot markets” for electricity ricochet up and down. But it’s still 46 per cent less than continuing to run Pickering and offers the golden opportunity to lock in a low rate for two decades.

• Ontario consumers sell expensive Pickering electricity to the United States at a financial loss. In 2017, we paid $737 million for the privilege. During periods when power demand is low (at night and on weekends), an inflexible nuclear plant like Pickering can’t be ramped down, so the province ends up with a power surplus. We sell that electricity at just 1.6¢/kWh, less than one-fifth of what we pay to produce it.

The Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters had it right last year in a submission to the Ontario Energy Board. “OPG’s (Ontario Power Generation) plan to extend operations at Pickering is not economically feasible and, far from producing savings for ratepayers, may increase the price of electricity service in Ontario,” the association said.

It’s heartening to see Andrea Horwath’s New Democrats and Mike Schreiner’s Greens heeding the manufacturers’ call. It’s hard to understand why Doug Ford and Kathleen Wynne haven’t got the memo. But they still have two weeks to get on board with the decision that will shape a cost-effective electricity future for Ontario.

Angela Bischoff is Director of the Ontario Clean Air Alliance

Ford vs. Electricity Facts

Doug Ford, the man who wants to fire the entire board of Hydro One, is ready to take the word of the even more powerful Ontario Power Generation (OPG) that continuing to operate its high-cost Pickering Nuclear Station is somehow a bargain for Ontarians.

Strangely, Ford seems uninterested in whether  there are lower cost alternatives to continuing to operate one of North America’s oldest and least reliable nuclear stations. Instead, he seems eager to ignore Pickering’s highest-in-North-America operating costs and to not rock the boat on OPG’s high cost and high risk nuclear operations that have played a major role in driving up electricity rates in Ontario.

If this is an example of the business-like approach Mr. Ford has promised voters, we should be deeply worried about his business smarts.

Here are the facts that Ford has ignored:

– According to OPG’s 2015 Nuclear Benchmarking Report, Pickering’s operating costs are higher than those of any other nuclear station on the continent.

– Pickering’s operating costs are 9.2 cents per kWh.

– According to the Financial Accountability Office of Ontario, in 2017, Ontario bought 4 billion kWh of electricity from Quebec, on the spot market, at an average price of 2.2 cents per kWh .

– Hydro Quebec has offered to sell Ontario a 20-year firm supply of electricity at a price of 5 cents per kWh, which is 46% less than the cost of continuing to operate Pickering.

– During many hours of the year (e.g., at night and on weekends) Ontario’s nuclear reactors produce more electricity than is consumed in Ontario. Since the inflexible Pickering Nuclear Station’s output cannot be lowered during off-peak hours, approximately 50% of Pickering’s nuclear power is exported at an average market price of 1.6 cents per kWh. Selling Pickering’s power at a loss costs Ontario’s electricity consumers $737 million per year.

– In 2017 the Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters told the Ontario Energy Board that “OPG’s plan to extend operations at Pickering is not economically feasible and, far from producing savings for ratepayers, may increase the price of electricity service in Ontario .”

– By closing the Pickering Nuclear Station, when its licence expires in August, and signing a long-term electricity supply agreement with Hydro Quebec, we can reduce our electricity costs by $1.1 billion per year.

For more information on the benefits of closing the Pickering Nuclear Station please click here to read our report: We have better choices: It’s time to close the aging Pickering Nuclear Plant.

Please pass this message on to your friends.

Thank you!

Angela Bischoff, Director

NDP anti-nuclear position would cost 4,500 jobs in Durham, opponents say

Toronto Sun
May 21, 2018
Antonella Artuso

NDP anti-nuclear position would cost 4,500 jobs in Durham, opponents say

An NDP-backed proposal to shut down Pickering Nuclear station would wipe out 4,500 jobs in Durham Region, the Progressive Conservatives and Liberals warn.

“The NDP also went on to add that they will consider ‘alternatives such as conservation and clean imports from Quebec,’” a statement from the PCs said Monday. “According to Ontario Power Generation, the Pickering Nuclear Station employs 4,500 people in the Durham Region with good-paying jobs. Under the NDP’s secret plan, these are jobs that would be shipped to Quebec.

“The Ontario PC Party would keep the Pickering Nuclear Station open until the end of its operating life,” the PCs say.

Ontario Clean Air Alliance says it sent a questionnaire to the leaders of the four main provincial political parties to get their views on the future of the nuclear power facility.

“The NDP and the Green Party are calling for the closure of the Pickering Nuclear Station when its licence expires this August,” a media release from the organization said. “The Liberal Party supports the continued operation of the Pickering Nuclear Station until 2024. The PC Party did not respond.”

Premier Kathleen Wynne, who was in Toronto Monday for a campaign event, said the NDP answer to the questionnaire reveals that the party has no cohesive plan for electricity in Ontario.

“That has implications for people’s lives, it has implications for the integrity of the electricity system,” Wynne said.

The Liberals’ long-term energy plan includes a base load of nuclear generation, wind and solar and water power, and an increased emphasis on electricity storage, Wynne said.

“There’s a lot of work that goes into creating a coherent plan,” she said. “You don’t get to just pick ideas out of the air.”

While Andrea Horwath’s NDP election platform, Change for the Better, does not specifically mention plans to shut down nuclear power, it does say “our long-term fix includes ending over-supply where we pay for electricity nobody needs.”

In the party’s hydro position papers, it says that a key part of addressing oversupply will include an “independent, fact-based evaluation of when to take Pickering offline and begin creating jobs for the decommissioning of the plant.”

An NDP government would then look at doubling the number of immediate decommissioning jobs by proceeding with the International Atomic Energy Agency’s preferred ‘direct decommissioning’ model for Pickering, a move the party maintains would protect skilled nuclear industry jobs in Durham Region.

The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission is currently considering a request by Ontario Power Generation to renew the Pickering operating licence for 10 years past its expiration date of Aug. 31.

Who really has your back when it comes to lowering hydro costs and creating jobs?

At the midpoint of the Ontario election campaign, we now have two parties defending the high-cost, high-risk nuclear status quo, and two that want to break with the past and move to lower cost and safer options for meeting our electricity needs.

The NDP and the Green Party have wisely committed to closing the high-cost, poor performing Pickering Nuclear Station when its license expires in August. (The performance of the Pickering plant has been described as “persistently abysmal… by any objective measure” by the Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters, and its operating costs are the highest of any nuclear station on the continent.)

As we have extensively documented, replacing the power Pickering produces that is actually consumed in Ontario with much lower-cost Quebec water power would reduce our province’s electricity costs by $1.1 billion per year. Cynically, the Liberals and the PCs seem to believe that voters can be easily fooled.

The Liberals and PCs are claiming that somehow Pickering is responsible for 4,500 jobs, despite the fact that in testimony at the Ontario Energy Board, Ontario Power Generation (OPG) has said the plant employs 1,900 people.

But we do have to think about the jobs that will be lost when we start shutting down the nearly 50-year-old plant. Our recommendation, which the NDP and Greens have endorsed, is to follow the advice of the International Atomic Energy Agency and immediately decommission the plant after it is shut down, thereby generating 32,000 person years of employment and providing opportunities to use the knowledge and expertise of the current workforce to safely dismantle the station. The result of following this “international best practice” would be to open up most of the 750 acre site – prime waterfront land – in Pickering for new uses by 2032 – a real economic opportunity.

OPG, on the other hand, wants to delay the dismantling of one of the largest nuclear stations in North America until 2058. We need a new generation of political leaders who are brave enough to challenge OPG and the business-as-usual approach to electric power planning.

Please take a moment to thank the parties with the courage to stand up to the nuclear special interests. The NDP and Greens are promoting a fact-based electricity policy that will lower costs by $1.1 billion/year, create 32,000 person-years of employment, provide greater safety to GTA and Durham residents, and return Pickering’s waterfront to the local community during our lifetime.

Send your message to Andrea Horwath, NDP leader, and Mike Schreiner, GPO leader here. Thank you! 

Angela Bischoff, Director

View this bulletin online here.

Who really has your back when it comes to lowering hydro costs and creating jobs?

Who really has your back when it comes to lowering hydro costs and creating jobs?

At the midpoint of the Ontario election campaign, we now have two parties defending the high-cost, high-risk nuclear status quo, and two that want to break with the past and move to lower cost and safer options for meeting our electricity needs.

The NDP and the Green Party have wisely committed to closing the high-cost, poor performing Pickering Nuclear Station when its license expires in August. (The performance of the Pickering plant has been described as “persistently abysmal… by any objective measure” by the Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters, and its operating costs are the highest of any nuclear station on the continent.)

As we have extensively documented, replacing the power Pickering produces that is actually consumed in Ontario with much lower-cost Quebec water power would reduce our province’s electricity costs by $1.1 billion per year. Cynically, the Liberals and the PCs seem to believe that voters can be easily fooled.

The Liberals and PCs are claiming that somehow Pickering is responsible for 4,500 jobs, despite the fact that in testimony at the Ontario Energy Board, Ontario Power Generation (OPG) has said the plant employs 1,900 people.

But we do have to think about the jobs that will be lost when we start shutting down the nearly 50-year-old plant. Our recommendation, which the NDP and Greens have endorsed, is to follow the advice of the International Atomic Energy Agency and immediately decommission the plant after it is shut down, thereby generating 32,000 person years of employment and providing opportunities to use the knowledge and expertise of the current workforce to safely dismantle the station. The result of following this “international best practice” would be to open up most of the 750 acre site – prime waterfront land – in Pickering for new uses by 2032 – a real economic opportunity.

OPG, on the other hand, wants to delay the dismantling of one of the largest nuclear stations in North America until 2058. We need a new generation of political leaders who are brave enough to challenge OPG and the business-as-usual approach to electric power planning.

Please take a moment to thank the parties with the courage to stand up to the nuclear special interests. The NDP and Greens are promoting a fact-based electricity policy that will lower costs by $1.1 billion/year, create 32,000 person-years of employment, provide greater safety to GTA and Durham residents, and return Pickering’s waterfront to the local community during our lifetime.

Send your message to Andrea Horwath, NDP leader, and Mike Schreiner, GPO leader here. Thank you! 

Angela Bischoff, Director

View this bulletin online here.

NDP & Greens call for closure of Pickering Nuclear Station in August

We sent an all-candidates questionnaire to the leaders of the four major parties running in the provincial election. We asked their position on closing the Pickering Nuclear Station, and on water power imports from Quebec.

 The NDP and the Green Party are calling for the closure of the Pickering Nuclear Station when its licence expires this August.
 
The Liberal Party supports the continued operation of the Pickering Nuclear Station until 2024.
 
The PC Party did not respond.
 
To read the parties’ full responses to our questionnaire, please click here.
 
The Pickering Nuclear Station is the fourth oldest nuclear plant in North America. It was originally designed to operate for 30 years, but it has now been running for nearly half a century. More than two million people live within 30 km of the Pickering Station – at least twice the number of any other nuclear station on the continent.
 
A recent report looked at what would happen in the GTA if a major accident occurred at Pickering – similar in scale to the accident that took place at the Fukushima Nuclear Station in Japan. The report found that an accident at Pickering could lead to the evacuation of more than 650,000 people for 30 to 100 years, cause 13,000 cancer deaths, and result in $125 billion in lost real estate value just for single-family homes.
 
Replacing Pickering’s electricity with water power from Quebec would lower our electricity costs by $1.1 billion per year and eliminate our need to export surplus electricity to the U.S. at a financial loss.
 
By immediately dismantling and decommissioning Pickering after it closes, we can create 32,000 person-years of direct and indirect employment between now and 2032. This will permit most of the 300 hectare Pickering waterfront site to be revitalized and returned to the local community by 2032.
 
The full cost of decommissioning can be funded by money that is already in Ontario Power Generation’s Nuclear Decommissioning Fund.
 
 
Ask candidates where they stand when reaching out for your vote, and let them know where you stand.
 
 
 
 

NDP & Greens call for closure of Pickering Nuclear Station in August

We sent an all-candidates questionnaire to the leaders of the four major parties running in the provincial election. We asked their position on closing the Pickering Nuclear Station, and on water power imports from Quebec.

 The NDP and the Green Party are calling for the closure of the Pickering Nuclear Station when its licence expires this August.
 
The Liberal Party supports the continued operation of the Pickering Nuclear Station until 2024.
 
The PC Party did not respond.
 
To read the parties’ full responses to our questionnaire, please click here.
 
The Pickering Nuclear Station is the fourth oldest nuclear plant in North America. It was originally designed to operate for 30 years, but it has now been running for nearly half a century. More than two million people live within 30 km of the Pickering Station – at least twice the number of any other nuclear station on the continent.
 
A recent report looked at what would happen in the GTA if a major accident occurred at Pickering – similar in scale to the accident that took place at the Fukushima Nuclear Station in Japan. The report found that an accident at Pickering could lead to the evacuation of more than 650,000 people for 30 to 100 years, cause 13,000 cancer deaths, and result in $125 billion in lost real estate value just for single-family homes.
 
Replacing Pickering’s electricity with water power from Quebec would lower our electricity costs by $1.1 billion per year and eliminate our need to export surplus electricity to the U.S. at a financial loss.
 
By immediately dismantling and decommissioning Pickering after it closes, we can create 32,000 person-years of direct and indirect employment between now and 2032. This will permit most of the 300 hectare Pickering waterfront site to be revitalized and returned to the local community by 2032.
 
The full cost of decommissioning can be funded by money that is already in Ontario Power Generation’s Nuclear Decommissioning Fund.
 
 
Ask candidates where they stand when reaching out for your vote, and let them know where you stand.
 
 
 
 

CNSC blinks – agrees to come out of hiding

CNSC blinks – agrees to come out of hiding

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 (cnsc.info.ccsn@canada.ca) 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.
Send your letter now – they make a difference! Thanks for making the time.
Angela Bischoff, Director

Tell the Nuclear Safety Commission to come out of hiding

Does the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) care what you think about keeping the aging Pickering Nuclear Station running for another 10 years?

MP Jennifer O'ConnellTheir actions strongly suggest they don’t. The CNSC has quietly arranged for hearings on the Pickering licence extension to take place in an obscure location on the far eastern edge of the GTA, in Courtice, Ont.  Pickering-Uxbridge MP Jennifer O’Connell calls the CNSC’s choice of location “extremely shocking and inconsistent with the goal of ensuring that communities most affected can attend and share information.”

She also questions the CNSC’s claim that it could not find any other suitable location, noting that her staff quickly reserved a meeting space for the week the hearings are scheduled in the Pickering Recreation Complex, which has been previously used by the CNSC for hearings. In fact, despite the CNSC’s claim that it looked far and wide for a suitable hearing location, Pickering Councillor Maurice Brenner says he could find no evidence that any formal request for space was applied for through staff in Pickering.

Fortunately, as Ms. O’Connell also helpfully noted, the CNSC seems to have made next to no effort to publicize the hearing, which means that changing the location shouldn’t be a problem.

It’s time for all of us to join Jennifer O’Connell, M.P., and Maurice Brenner, Pickering Councillor, in calling on the CNSC to come out of hiding and face the public on this issue. The last thing we need is another rubber stamp approval for operating a dangerous nuclear plant surrounded by millions of people. It is time for an open debate on the merits of keeping reactors with the highest operating costs in North America running versus turning to lower-cost and safer options like importing power from Quebec.

Please email federal Natural Resources Minister Jim Carr (Jim.Carr@parl.gc.ca) – the CNSC’s boss – ask him to tell the commission to choose a more appropriate location, and tell him what you think about the proposed Pickering nuclear extension.

You can find more details here on why we should close Pickering in August when its license expires.

Please pass this message onto your friends. Thanks.

Angela Bischoff, Director

 

Can we trust the CNSC when they can’t book a hotel? 

Want to ensure the public doesn’t interfere with your efforts to rubber stamp a new license for a nearly 50-year-old nuclear station? Then hold your hearing in an out-of-the-way location, far from the people who will actually be affected by your decision.

That seems to be the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission’s (CNSC’s) strategy in deciding to hold hearings this June on the license renewal for the Pickering Nuclear Station in far-off Courtice, on the furthest eastern edge of the GTA. Courtice is close to 30 kms from the Pickering Nuclear Station, roughly the same distance from the plant to downtown Toronto.

Good luck taking transit to Courtice. You’ll need at least a couple of GO buses, a few hours to spare and some good walking shoes to trek the 1.3 kms from the closest bus stop to the hearing location. But, hey, the CNSC reports that the Hope Fellowship Church where the hearings will be held offers free parking!

The CNSC claims that it searched high and low for a venue in and around Pickering and even in Toronto, but simply could not come up with anywhere else that met its needs. Which is interesting because there are 183 hotels in the GTA as well as pages and pages of banquet halls, conference centres, and churches between Pickering and downtown Toronto. Many of these are accessible by public transit with frequent service.

How confident should we feel about a nuclear regulator that could not book an appropriate facility for hearings that have been scheduled for over a year? Oh, but the CNSC says you are free to watch the hearings online, which given their fear of elephants in the room makes some sense.

As our study of what a Fukushima-scale accident at Pickering shows, hundreds of thousands of people in and around Toronto have a huge stake in any decision to continue operating one of the world’s oldest and largest (6 reactors!) nuclear stations well past its prime. Holding hearings in a remote corner of Canada’s largest urban area will directly undercut the credibility of any decision that comes out of these hearings.

Our federal government has talked a lot about “restoring public trust” in exactly this kind of decision making process. It is therefore time for Natural Resources Minister Jim Carr (Jim.Carr@parl.gc.ca) to tell the CNSC to find a more appropriate location for this hearing. Please drop him a line here.

And if you want to participate in the hearing this June, either in person or remotely, get more direction on how to do so here. And here you can find more details on why we should close Pickering in August when its license expires.

You can't go home again

Thanks for your help closing this Pickering nuclear dinosaur in August, 2018!

Angela Bischoff, Director

 

Ford’s hydro solution a few volts short of a load

Ford’s hydro solution a few volts short of a load

Doug Ford thinks firing the CEO of Hydro One will lead to lower electricity bills. While we agree that $6 million/yr is way over the top, firing him would only lead to a 3/100ths of 1% decrease in our rates. This kind of populist thinking has led successive Ontario governments to ignore real solutions to rising electricity costs.

Not one of the three parties in the legislature has questioned why Ontario Power Generation (OPG) is asking for a 100% increase in the price it is paid for nuclear power by 2025, or whether sticking with expensive nuclear power makes sense for Ontario consumers. Only the NDP has suggested that maybe we should consider the economics of keeping North America’s most expensive nuclear plant – the Pickering Nuclear Station — running, though even it has made no commitment to closing the aging plant when its license expires this summer.

The Green Party has called for the closure of Pickering, North America’s highest-cost nuclear station, in August. When will the other three major parties step up?

The good news is that we can reduce our electricity costs by $1.1 billion per year by importing Quebec water power and closing the Pickering Nuclear Station when its license expires in August.

It’s time to make the parties earn our votes by putting forward real plans to reform our electricity system instead of populist rhetoric.

Please contact Premier Wynne, Doug Ford and Andrea Horwath and ask them how they will actually reduce Ontario’s cost of generating electricity by $1 billion per year or more.

For more information, please read our new fact sheet: We have better choices: It’s time to close the aging Pickering Nuclear Plant.

Please pass this message on to your friends.

Thank you.

Angela Bischoff, Director

Pickering City Council Meeting

Hello Pickering friends,

On Tuesday. April 10th, at 7 p.m., Jack Gibbons, Chair of the Ontario Clean Air Alliance, will be speaking before Pickering City Council outlining why the Pickering Nuclear Station should be closed when its license expires on Aug. 31, 2018.  DNA, Durham Nuclear Awareness, will also present to the Council in support of the closure.

Which Pickering do you want?Jack will refer to our report which considers what would happen if a serious nuclear accident were to occur at the Pickering Nuclear Station. He’ll explain how we could create 32,000 person years of employment by immediately decommissioning the station rather than letting it sit idle for 30 years, which is OPG’s plan. He’ll also outline the opportunity this would create to re-imagine the Pickering waterfront while lowering risks for the millions of people who live in the Pickering Plant’s shadow. Look at what our friends in Mississauga are doing with the site of the old Lakeview coal plant on their waterfront!

And finally, Jack will outline how we could lower electricity bills by replacing the power we use from the Pickering Nuclear Station with lower cost, renewable water power from Quebec.

Help us fill the Pickering Council Chamber by attending this public meeting: Tues. April 10, 7 p.m. (One the Esplanade). Pickering City Council needs to know that local residents support the closure of the almost 50-year-old nuclear station!

If you’re not able to attend in person, please see Jack’s presentation here.

Also, let your Councillor and Mayor know that you support the closure of the nuclear station in 2018 when its license expires. Find their contact info here.

Please forward this to a friend. Thank you!

Angela Bischoff, Director

 

Chamber of Commerce wants to have its cake and eat it too

The Ontario Chamber of Commerce has spent the last few years predicting that rising electricity prices would doom the province’s businesses and drive its economy into the ditch.

So it is a bit puzzling that the Chamber, in a piece of “research” sponsored by Ontario Power Generation (OPG), favours keeping a nuclear plant with the highest operating costs in North America running until 2024 instead of importing low-cost water power from Quebec. 

Why does the Chamber of Commerce favour high-priced power?The Chamber sees a potential business bonanza in the billions of dollars that OPG intends to spend on rebuilding old reactors.  Which is great if you are a supplier of nuclear components.  But the Chamber seems to have forgotten about its many other members who will be left paying for over-priced electricity from old reactors under its new plan.

In fact, the Chamber studiously ignores the cost difference between power from Quebec (5 cents per kWh) and power from Pickering (9.2 cents per kWh) in its report.  It never stops to ask whether the vast majority of Ontario businesses (and residents) will be better off with a nuclear spending spree or with lower power costs. 

We’ve outlined the real benefits of closing Pickering when its licence expires this summer in a short factsheet.  It is straight and to the point — and filled with facts, like the fact that by closing Pickering we can save electricity consumers $1.1 billion per year, create 32,000 person years of employment and return most of the station’s site to the local community by 2032.  And it is not sponsored by a nuclear power company.

The Toronto Star has launched an online poll in response to the Chamber’s contradictory call for subsidizing nuclear.  It’s time for those without a vested interest in nuclear power to have a say – vote now.

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What would happen in Pickering nuclear accident: report

DurhamRegion.com
March 28, 2018
Kristen Calis

What would happen in Pickering nuclear accident: report
Groups continue to push for closure of Pickering Nuclear Generating Station

PICKERING — A Fukushima-type disaster at the Pickering Nuclear Generating Station could lead to 26,000 cancers and $125 billion in lost home values, according to a report released by the Ontario Clean Air Alliance.

Groups opposed to the continuous operation of the Pickering plant, Durham Nuclear Awareness and the Ontario Clean Air Alliance (OCAA), hosted an event at the Pickering Public Library in March, addressing a new report by Ian Fairlie, radiation biologist from the U.K. His report considers what would happen if a serious nuclear accident, similar in extent to what took place in Fukushima, were to happen at the equally old six-reactor Pickering plant.

The event marked the seventh anniversary of a runaway triple nuclear meltdown at the Fukushima Nuclear Station in Japan. The effects of this catastrophe continue today, says OCAA.

Jack Gibbons, chair of OCAA, said 2.2 million people live within 30 kilometres of the plant.

“Pickering is surrounded by more people than any other nuclear station in North America,” said Gibbons.

According to Fairlie’s report, assuming similar amounts of radioactivity and a similar fallout distribution pattern, more than 650,000 people and 154,000 homes would have to be evacuated for 30 to 100 years in the GTA.

Evacuated residents would not be fully compensated for their losses. Ontario Power Generation’s nuclear liability is capped at $1 billion.

“If you look at your home insurance policy, it doesn’t protect you in the case of a nuclear accident,” said Gibbons.

Low level fallout would stretch from west of London to the southwestern corner of Algonquin Park. All of Pickering plus parts of Markham, Newmarket, Richmond Hill, Aurora and Scarborough would need to be evacuated. Major highways, including highways 401, 407 and 404 and major rail lines would now run through no-go zones.

OCAA believes it could happen here, and says no system is perfect, noting Pickering is now 47 years old.