Greenpeace occupies Energy Minister’s office to demand safe green energy as nuclear crisis continues

Feature story - April 19, 2011
Toronto — Greenpeace activists are occupying Energy Minister Brad Duguid’s offices right now to highlight the McGuinty government’s repeated refusal to consider safer and cheaper green alternatives to building new reactors at the Darlington nuclear station.

Watch live streaming video.

 

"We're occupying Minister Duguid's office because he insists on rushing ahead with new nuclear reactors instead of considering safe, green energy options," said Shawn-Patrick Stensil, a nuclear campaigner with Greenpeace. "Duguid and the McGuinty government have repeatedly neglected their responsibilities to protect Ontarians from accidents like the one happening in Fukushima."

Four activists, including Stensil, are chained together inside Duguid’s office in the Hearst Block with banners reading: “Stop Darlington Go green” and “No nukes are safe Go green.” They locked down shortly before 9 a.m. this morning. Outside the Hearst Block, Greenpeace staff and volunteers are handing out information next to a model windmill. They are also broadcasting the live stream from inside the building on a television display.

Since 2006, the McGuinty government has remained committed to replacing the aging Pickering nuclear station with new reactors at Darlington to maintain nuclear at 50 per cent of electricity supply, despite the skyrocketing cost of building new reactors.  The government’s proposed Long Term Energy Plan places a long-term cap on green power development in 2018 at about 13 per cent of supply, with no additional green energy infrastructure built in the 2018 – 2030 period.

 

“The McGuinty government’s unquestioned commitment to building new reactors instead of green energy will impose Fukushima-like accident risks on Ontarians for generations.  That is unacceptable when green energy is cheaper and safer than new reactors,” said Stensil.

Greenpeace says the McGuinty government has systematically avoided any examination of alternatives to building new reactors at Darlington: 

  • In 2006, the McGuinty government rewrote its environmental assessment legislation so its nuclear plan would not have to undergo a provincial assessment of alternatives to building new reactors.
  • Access to Information documents acquired by Greenpeace show the government chose not to participate in the federal environmental assessment on new reactors to avoid the threat of a “legal challenge” that would force the review to include alternatives.
  • The McGuinty government instructed the federal panel not to consider green alternatives to new reactors.
  • Despite the cost of new reactors sky-rocketing from an estimated $7 billion in 2007 to a reported $26 billion in 2009 the government has refused to rethink its commitment to maintaining nuclear at 50 per cent of supply.

Today’s lock down is the second recent action by Greenpeace to highlight the McGuinty government’s refusal to allow discussion of green alternatives to nuclear reactors. On March 22nd, Greenpeace stopped an environmental assessment hearing in Courtice on new reactors at Darlington.

Earlier this month, Stensil visited the Chernobyl nuclear station in the Ukraine.   To mark the 25th anniversary of the Chernobyl disaster, Greenpeace has opened a photo exhibit of images from Chernobyl at the Hotshot Art Gallery, 181 Augusta Avenue, Kensington Market.

Greenpeace and other organizations will hold a candle light vigil April 26 at the Hearst Block to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the Chernobyl disaster and to support the people of Japan.

Notes:

High-resolution photos and HD video will be available at: http://share.greenpeace.org/flexshare/ca_media/

To download, simply right click on a file and chose "download linked file".

In Ontario, Greenpeace has been campaigning to stop the building of new reactors at the Darlington nuclear site. Learn more at: http://www.greenpeace.org/canada/en/campaigns/end-the-nuclear-threat/Resources/

Take action on Darlington at: http://www.greenpeace.org/canada/en/campaigns/end-the-nuclear-threat/Get-involved/

In Quebec, Greenpeace encourages the public to sign the petition to shut down Gentilly-2 on the National Assembly’s website: http://bit.ly/dZhmRm.

Topics