Ontario's Green Future


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Big nuclear, big problems Doing more with less The efficiency advantage Resources

The Nuclear Model


Nuclear's free ride

No renewable power project, even if it is run by a community co-op or a First Nation, is allowed to pass on capital cost overruns to ratepayers or taxpayers. Companies building natural gas-fired power plants have to play by the same rules.

But it is a different story for nuclear plant operators, who have routinely reached into our pockets to cover massive cost overruns, like the $10 billion in extra costs for the Darlington Nuclear Station or the $1.5 billion in overruns on repairs to the Pickering Station. And soon, we will be footing a big part of the bill for the mounting cost overruns on ongoing repairs to the Bruce Station.

But Ontario taxpayers are not only on the hook for nuclear capital cost overruns, we also give nuclear power operators subsidies that are not available to any other power producer:

  • Radioactive waste disposal costs. The Nuclear Waste Management Organization estimates these costs will be more than $20 billion for existing waste. Taxpayers will foot a major share of this bill, including 100% of any costs over $10 billion.

  • Nuclear Liability Costs: No private insurer will insure a nuclear plant against a major accident. Therefore, the government artificially limits the liability of nuclear plant operators to $75 million — a token sum that will be dwarfed by the real costs of even a modest accident.

  • Nuclear plant decommissioning: Ontario’s electricity consumers and taxpayers are responsible for 100% of the costs of taking apart and disposing of the nuclear reactors run by privately owned Bruce Power.

There are better answers to meeting our electricity needs >

Just think what we could achieve if we put $50-$60 billion into energy efficiency programs, high-efficiency combined heat and power generation and clean renewable energy instead of into always late, always underperforming nuclear power projects..

Ontario's Green Future

Ontario Clean Air AllianceThe Ontario Clean Air Alliance is a coalition of health and environmental organizations, faith communities, municipalities, utilities, unions, corporations and individuals working for cleaner air through a coal phase-out and a shift to a renewable electricity future.