No Nukes News

July 15, 2009


Leaflet Frenzy

The new leaflets have arrived!

They contain a postcard for Prime Minister Harper and one for Energy Minister Smitherman.

Help us get them out into homes across the country. They’re free. Order bulk quantities here:

Letter Writing

Letters to the editor, to politicians, and online comments following articles (such as the ones below) are ALWAYS worthwhile, even if they’re not printed. They give newspapers and politicians a sense of the public interest, so start tappin’. Ontario Energy Minister George Smitherman Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty Prime Minister Stephen Harper Jack Layton, Leader of the NDP Elizabeth May, Leader of the Green Party Michael Ignatieff, Leader of the Liberal Party Letter to the Editor, Toronto Star Letter to the Editor, Globe and Mail Letter to the Editor, National Post Letter to the Editor, Toronto Sun

$26B cost killed nuclear bid

Energy Minister George Smitherman suspended process.

Ontario ditched plan over high price tag that would wipe out 20-year budget

The Ontario government put its nuclear power plans on hold last month because the bid from Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd., the only "compliant" one received, was more than three times higher than what the province expected to pay, the Star has learned.

Sources close to the bidding, one involved directly in one of the bids, said that adding two next-generation Candu reactors at Darlington generating station would have cost around $26 billion.

Soaring nuclear costs make green option more attractive

To build a sustainable energy economy and guarantee the phase-out of coal in 2014, we need cost-effective and flexible energy options that can be deployed quickly, not new nuclear plants that take at least a decade to build.

Renewable energy projects can be active in as little as two to three years, and there are dozens of projects that are already shovel-ready.

Reported $26B price tag for reactors won't derail Ont.'s nuclear plan: McGuinty

McGuinty was also nonplussed by negative federal comments about AECL. Officials with Natural Resources Minister Lisa Raitt have said any discussions about costs rested with AECL, and there was nothing that would push Ottawa to get involved at this stage.

Good news' in stalled reactor plan

After the Star yesterday revealed the price tag for the two Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd. reactors, McGuinty scrambled to explain how a project supposed to cost around $7 billion had ballooned to almost four times that amount.

McGuinty is banking on Prime Minister Stephen Harper, who is trying to sell off AECL's reactor business, agreeing to help Ontario by covering some of the costs.

He may have Harper over a barrel because senior federal officials admit AECL is virtually worthless if it fails to secure the Ontario contract.

"Investing $26 billion in greener alternatives like energy efficiency or wind and solar power would get twice as much power on to the grid as the same investment in new nuclear reactors," World Wildlife Fund-Canada's Keith Stewart said in a statement.

Reactor relief

Recession and climate politics team up against old-school fission mission

Chalk this up as one of those big “I told you so” moments for the anti-nuke lobby and a symbol of the shifting power dynamics in energy politics unfolding on both sides of the border.

Stalled nuclear purchase won't cause Ontario blackout

“This pause in the nuclear procurement process gives us the time to pursue much lower-cost and reliable options to keep the lights on,” said Jack Gibbons, chair of the Ontario Clean Air Alliance, an environmental advocacy group. Mr. Gibbons contended that the scope for conservation is huge, in part because Ontario residents use about 50 per cent more electricity per person than people in neighbouring New York State.

McGuinty ponders nuke plans

A decline in electricity demand in the face of a ``massive" economic slowdown was behind Ontario's move to put plans for new nuclear reactors on hold.

Turbine rules may foil wind ventures

A majority of "construction ready" wind projects in Ontario won't go forward if the province passes regulations that keep wind turbines a minimum distance from residences, roads and railway lines, warns Canada's wind energy association.

A new face of nuclear medicine

Other materials may be able to take the place of isotopes

The shutdown of the aging NRU reactor at Chalk River has cut off the supply of the main radioactive material the Heart Institute uses, called technetium-99.

But as one supply is squeezed, other materials, including this rubidium dye, can sometimes take its place.

In the institute's basement, there's a machine with a name like a carnival ride -- the cyclotron -- that produces medical isotopes (radioactive atoms) without a nuclear reactor.

Rubidium is a major alternative to technetium and it needs no nuclear reactor.

Letters of the week:

… Those 12,000 good nuclear-industry jobs he mentions come at a very high risk. According to a recent study out of Saskatchewan, Canadian nuclear workers will contract cancer at a 7.65 times higher rate than other employees. Would you encourage your son or daughter to take one of those jobs? 

Secondly, Mr. Denley's price comparison does not include the fact that the two new plants will cost every man, woman and child in Ontario $3,000 in subsidies, a decade before the first monthly hydro bill shows the "5.3 cents a kilowatt hour" that he claims the cost will be - once they are up and running. 

If a small portion of that 26 billion dollar gift to the nuclear industry were put into renewables, conservation and efficiency, the bottom line would look very different and we would not be worried about nuclear (and uranium) contamination affecting the lives of our children's, children's children... into perpetuity.

Donna Dillman, Lenark, ON

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The new generation of nuclear development is proving to be a lot like the previous generation: too costly to deserve either private or public investment. The much-touted "nuclear renaissance" is proving to be just so much hype from a highly polished and well-heeled sales force intent on lobbying for a dubious, if not absurd, new round of fruitless investment…

Jim Elve Waterford, Haldimand-Norfolk, ON

Reactor design puts safety of nuclear plants into question

Canadian nuclear safety regulators say they have underestimated the seriousness of a design feature at the country's electricity-producing reactors that would cause them to experience dangerous power pulses during a major accident.

OPA deal puts lid on ratepayer liability

Cap targets budget overruns at Bruce nuclear plant, but doesn't kick in until costs surpass $3.4 billion

The bad news: Ontario ratepayers could end up paying $238 million to cover cost overruns related to the restart of two nuclear reactors northwest of Toronto.

The good news: at least the buck stops there.

Notable Quotes

“The government still seems committed to driving the square peg of nuclear status quo into the round hole of modern realities and possibilities.”

John Etches, SAGE (Safe and Green Energy, Peterborough)

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“In spite of all the talk about a nuclear renaissance, the nuclear industry is in a desperate condition, verging on collapse. The need for nuclear vendors to sell reactors seems to far exceed the need for anybody to actually buy one. Even those who like the idea of nuclear power do not like the toxic assets that go with it -- the high level radioactive waste, the ultimate dismantling of the radioactive reactor structures, the full cost of liability insurance, the proliferation of nuclear weapons, the inevitable cost over-runs and loan guarantees.... So the government (i.e. the taxpayer) is expected to swallow the long-term toxic assets and let private industry take the short-term profits. Am I missing something?” 

Gordon Edwards, Canadian Coalition for Nuclear Responsibility