The Toronto Star
June 12, 2013
Repairing Pickering nuclear plant is a waste of money
And it doesn’t make much sense from a safety standpoint either.
The hearings in front of the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission focused strictly on the safety of operating a plant that is not only old, but also the closest nuclear plant to a major urban centre (that’s you Toronto) in the world.
What it didn’t consider was whether it made any economic sense to keep running the problem-prone plant. Independent studies have made it clear that “the Pickering A and B plants have among the worst, and, on some measures, the worst, operating measures” among the world’s entire nuclear fleet. In fact, Pickering A is the most expensive nuclear plant to operate in all of North America. These aging reactors are turkeys, and expensive ones at that — we estimate Ontario would save $850 million a year by shutting Pickering right now and switching to cleaner, safer and cheaper alternatives.
Ontario has already thrown billions of dollars at repairing these reactors — with repair costs going massively overbudget and repairs, as usual, being finished years behind schedule — yet performance lagged for years afterwards and two units remain mothballed.
Meanwhile, despite OPG having stamped just about every important piece of information “proprietary” at the CNSC hearings in the interest of keeping things “out of sight, out of mind,” one thing did become clear: there is no comprehensive plan to deal with a major incident at the plant. The justification? “It can’t happen here,” just like they probably said in Japan.