The Ontario government just announced it has selected Ontario Power Generation’s (OPG) Darlington site for the construction of a new nuclear plant.
Today’s announcement will do nothing to fill Ontario’s looming electricity gap or fight dangerous climate change.
The McGuinty government continues to foolhardily march ahead with its nuclear plan, pretending new nuclear plants will address Ontario’s looming electricity gap, lower greenhouse gas emissions while ignoring the escalating cost of new nuclear plants. The government’s press release, for instance, says it is focusing on the “cost of power” and “on-time delivery”.
Meanwhile, the McGuinty government ignores the fact that the cost of new nuclear plants is going up, making renewables, conservation and decentralized generation more and more appealing.
The government also continues to ignore that its nuclear plan has already undergone delays. In 2004, the government’s Electricity Supply & Conservation Task Force said new nuclear plants could be online in 2011. A year later, Atomic Energy of Canada Limited told the government in 2005 that it could have new reactors online by 2014.
The latest start up date for new nuclear plants is 2018, but you can bet there will be further delays.
Take the construction AREVA’s EPR reactor in Finland. It has already undergone a two year delay and more are coming. The construction of the EPR in France has barely begun and problems have already begun.
The government has refused to rethink its energy plan to prioritize quicker to deploy energy options like renewables, conservation and local generation to fill the electricity gap. Instead, the McGuinty government plans to crank up fossil generation until new nuclear plants come online, increasing greenhouse gas emissions.
No matter the design or site chosen for new reactors, nuclear power is a dangerous and expensive distraction from developing the alternatives Ontario needs to keep the lights on and stop dangerous climate change.
Ontario has a clear choice: fall down the slippery nuclear slope of cost over-runs, delays and increased greenhouse gas emissions or change direction and develop quicker to deploy green alternatives.