Premier Kathleen Wynne’s government announced last week it was cancelling plans to build risky new reactors at the Darlington nuclear station. This is good news for the environment, electricity consumers and the future of Ontario’s renewable energy industry. Premier Wynne deserves kudos.
Greenpeace has fought the plans to build new reactors at Darlington for the past eight years.
When former Premier Dalton McGuinty first proposed building new reactors in 2005, Greenpeace told him the nuclear lobby was selling him a bill of goods. The nuclear lobby would never deliver on its promise to build cheaper and safer reactors.
Premier McGuinty unfortunately chose to listen to the nuclear lobby. He ignored nuclear power’s checkered history: the massive cost over-runs, Chernobyl and the stockpiles of radioactive waste.
But at Greenpeace we knew the nuclear industry would repeat its past mistakes. This would put Ontarians and the environment at risk, so we set out to stop McGuinty’s reactor plan.
We published credible research and made regulatory interventions to expose nuclear power’s real risks and costs.
We also used peaceful direct action to confront the government and force it to acknowledge nuclear power’s real risks.
And bit by bit, it became apparent the nuclear lobby couldn’t build affordable reactors.
Then in 2011, the Fukushima disaster began. Fukushima showed the world shoudn’t trust the nuclear lobby’s claim a Chernobyl-like accident would never happen again.
But in spite of the Fukushima and the high cost, Premier McGuinty’s government stayed committed to new reactors.
In response, Greenpeace activists peacefully shut down hearings on new reactors and locked themselves in Ontario energy’s Minister Brad Duguid’s office.
Meanwhile, the world changed. Many countries decided to replace their nuclear plants with green energy. Quebec closed its only reactor.
In the end, it’s better late than never to admit the truth.
In September, Greenpeace and the Pembina Institute published new research showing green energy is more affordable than spending more money on new nuclear reactors.
Premier Wynne’s decision to cancel new reactors shows she wasn’t be duped by the nuclear lobby’s false promises.
Her decision puts Ontario on the path to a greener energy future.
Thank you Premier Wynne.