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.

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