Ontario doubles down on obsolete nuclear – and you’re paying for it

In its just released Long Term Energy Plan, the Wynne government has doubled down on its plan to rebuild 10 aging nuclear reactors. The price tag for this dubious plan is a whopper — a 55% increase in residential  electricity rates by 2032 (pg. 28).

This high-cost, high-risk plan flies in the face of worldwide trends, where many countries are moving away from nuclear energy and embracing ever lower-cost renewable sources instead. In fact, in 2016 worldwide wind power output grew by 16% and solar by 30%, while nuclear grew by just 1.4% (largely due to China). Nuclear reactors actually produced only about half as much of the world’s electricity supply in 2016 as they did 20 years earlier, a clear sign of an industry in steady decline.

And it’s not like Ontario does’t have other options. For starters, we live next door to a renewable energy superpower – Quebec. And Quebec has offered to supply Ontario with clean renewable energy at one-third the cost of power from rebuilt reactors. This is power that is available around the clock in every season of the year. Taking Quebec’s offer could lower Ontario’s electricity costs by $12 billion over the next 20 years, but the Wynne government apparently prefers to bet on always-over-budget nuclear projects instead.

Meanwhile, the first stages of the Darlington Nuclear rebuild project are already massively over budget while Ontario Power Generation seeks to continue operating the high-cost, 46-year-old Pickering Nuclear station despite it being surrounded by more than two million people and its power no longer needed.

In the U.S., South Carolina pulled the plug on construction of two nuclear reactors at a cost to ratepayers of billions of dollars. And giant nuclear builders Westinghouse and Areva have both gone essentially bankrupt (with Areva being bailed out by the French government just as Ontario had to bail out the old Ontario Hydro after it became mired in nuclear debt).

Ontario’s fixation with obsolete nuclear energy is to say the least puzzling, but what is clear is that this fixation is going to cost us dearly.

Please sign our petition calling on Premier Wynne to make a deal with Quebec to lower our electricity costs and to open the way for a modern renewable energy system. And please forward this onto your friends. Thank you.

Angela Bischoff, Outreach Director