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

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