Greenpeace activists, green energy supporters and cyclists were out in force on Sunday to say “no” to nuclear energy and yes to conservation and green energy. The ‘Ride for Renewables’ rode from the Pickering nuclear station to Darlington to remind the Ontario government that many people want conservation and renewable affordable energy rather than keeping the aging Pickering reactors running.
Hearings into extending the life of the Pickering nuclear reactors are open this week in Pickering.
“We’re cycling from Pickering to Darlington today to tell the Wynne government that the best and most affordable choice for Ontarians is to replace the Pickering reactors with green energy,” said Shawn-Patrick Stensil, nuclear analyst with Greenpeace.
About 80 cyclists rode 45 km along the Waterfront Trail between the two nuclear facilities. They stopped for lunch in Whitby where Gail Cockburn shared two dozen of her homemade muffins. “I should have made 4 dozen” she noted, as they quickly disappeared. Based in Whitby Cockburn has been fighting nuclear energy since 1986, after the Chernobyl accident. As a nurse she was always interested in public health and the health effects of nuclear energy. She quickly joined Durham Nuclear Awareness, a coalition of local residents who live in the shadow of reactors.
“We need green energy to protect Ontarians from increasing nuclear costs. New reactors at Darlington will reportedly cost $26 billion – that’s 20 billion more than we were told in 2007. Green energy is the affordable choice for replacing Pickering,” said Stensil, and cyclists say green energy has never had a better opportunity to grow in Ontario.
The expansion of green energy has exceeded all industry expectations and if given the chance, could replace aging nuclear stations. Ontario has already procured more green electricity in 2010 than it expected it would over the next 17 years.
The Ontario government’s recent statement that it may again delay the construction of new replacement reactors because of declining electricity demand shows the continued operation of Pickering is an unnecessary risk. The tide is turning. As one cyclist said, “I’m here to celebrate the passing of the nuclear energy era”.
Take action: Tell Premiere Kathleen Wynne to shut down the Pickering reactors