Greenpeace activists today began an occupation of the office
ofrecently re-appointed Ontario Energy Minister Dwight Duncan in
theHearst Block in response to the government's announcement that
it iscommitting to a 20-year $40 billion nuclear energy plan.
"Nuclear power is unsafe, unclean, uneconomic and unreliable"
said DaveMartin, Greenpeace Energy Coordinator. "The McGuinty
government has thepower to change our electricity system for the
better. Instead it hasblocked any meaningful public debate on
nuclear power, and nuclearpower will block any meaningful
development of conservation andrenewable energy."
In one short year, Duncan has gone from promising an "open and
publicdebate" on nuclear power, to ramming through a 20-year, $40
billioncommitment to a radioactive future. In response to demands
formeaningful consultation, the government held three rushed
andinadequate days of public meetings in mid-February. Despite only
11days of notice, the public response was overwhelmingly
anti-nuclear andsupportive of green energy.
"The McGuinty government has given in to nuclear industry
lobbyists anddinosaur bureaucrats," said Shawn-Patrick Stensil,
Greenpeace EnergyCampaigner "We should not be rushing a nuclear
decision when greenenergy options can be installed more quickly, at
less cost and withless environmental risk."
New nuclear plants take at least ten years to build, and
historicallyboth the construction and reconstruction of reactors
have suffered fromlengthy construction delays and huge cost
over-runs. Greenpeacesupports conservation and smaller,
decentralized supply options thatcan be built faster and with less
environmental risk than nuclearmega-projects.
The government directive to the OPA sets the parameters
forfinalization of a December 2005 draft plan, which was widely
condemnedfor fundamental flaws: dependence on nuclear power;
over-estimatingdemand; under-estimating renewable energy; and
Greenpeace and other environmental organizations, including WWF,
theDavid Suzuki Foundation, the Sierra Club of Canada and
PembinaInstitute, released a report showing that energy efficiency
andlow-impact renewable energy sources have the realistic potential
toprovide more than double the amount of electricity needed in
worst caseprojections of Ontario's future electricity in 2020.
Greenpeace commits to fighting the government's nuclear agenda,
and islaunching a campaign called 'Power to Change' to push the
government tophase out dirty nuclear and coal power and phase in
clean renewableenergy and conservation.