Your chance to ask OPG some tough questions

Ontario Power Generation (OPG) is holding “information sessions” next week on its plan to keep the 46-year-old Pickering Nuclear Station running for another seven years (at least).

This is your chance to ask OPG some tough questions:

· Where is it going to store the radioactive waste produced by running reactors for another seven years? Fifty-two years after construction of Pickering began, OPG still has not figured out what to do with its highly radioactive waste. Instead, it is stored in “temporary” containers that sit beside or on top of Lake Ontario. There are already 14,000 tonnes of high level nuclear waste stored at the station, incredibly.

· Why is it only now getting around to improving emergency plans, distributing KI pills and expanding public notification systems, 45 years after this station began operating?

· When can the people of Pickering get their waterfront back? Why are they planning on leaving the station sit idle for 30 years after shutdown rather than immediately decommissioning it? This is despite the fact that the International Atomic Agency says that immediate decommissioning is the “preferred” approach and will provide a fairer transition for workers.

· What will happen to the Pickering plant’s employees if it is idled in 2024 and then left untouched for the next 30 years? We’re calling for immediate decommissioning of the station after shutdown.

· Why would we keep Pickering running when we can import much lower cost power from Quebec and lower our electricity bills? Pickering has the highest operating costs of any nuclear station in North America.

Quebec recently offered Ontario more than enough power to replace what we use from Pickering at 5 cents per kWh. That’s a fraction of Pickering’s fuel and operating costs alone, 9 cents. And, no, despite OPG’s misleading claims, we do not need new transmission lines to access this power. Yet OPG prefers to keep an accident-prone nuclear station running in the heart of Canada’s biggest metropolitan area.

So the big question for OPG is “Why?” Why keep this aging and obsolete plant operating when we have safer and lower cost options, such as importing low-cost power from Quebec? Why choose the riskiest and highest cost option for keeping our lights on and agree to see our hydro bills go up again?

In fact, maybe that’s a question you should ask our Premier – premier@ontario.ca.

The public are invited to drop-into OPG’s green-washing open houses anytime from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m., presentation at 6:30 p.m.

• Tuesday, Oct. 24 – Toronto Pan Am Sports Centre, 875 Morningside Ave, Scarborough

• Wednesday, Oct. 25 – Pickering Recreational Centre, 1867 Valley Farm Rd., Pickering

• Thursday, Oct. 26 – Pickering Nuclear Information Centre, 1675 Montgomery Park. Rd, Pickering

If you plan to go to any of these, please let me know. Can I send you our leaflets to share with other attendees (and/or to your neighbours)? If so, please send me your mailing address and I’ll mail them to you (free of charge). Thanks.

Angela Bischoff, Outreach Director