Greenpeace projection at Pickering nuclear site shows cracks in McGuinty’s energy plans

Green power more affordable than replacing Pickering with new nuclear

Feature story - August 12, 2010
(Pickering) – Greenpeace activists projected an enormous crack onto the dome of the aging Pickering nuclear station last night to demand the McGuinty government replace the aging reactors with green energy instead of expensive new reactors as planned.

“The cracks are showing in the McGuinty government’s nuclear plans. We were told new reactor would be cheap, but the cost for just two reactors to replace the Pickering station has topped $26 billion,” said Shawn-Patrick Stensil, Greenpeace’s nuclear analyst. “It’s time to stop wasting time and money pretending new reactors are a viable option for Ontario and invest instead in affordable green energy”,

Using a high powered projector, Greenpeace activists projected the messages, “Nuclear: A Dangerous Waste of Time, A Dangerous Waste of Money,” and “Green Energy: Less Risky, More Affordable” onto the 50 meter reactor dome to highlight how massive amounts of time and money have been wasted preparing to replace Pickering with new reactors at the Darlington site 60km east of Toronto.

The McGuinty government has been preparing to build replacement reactors at Darlington since 2006, but in 2009 was confronted with the staggering price tag that topped $26 billion — $20 billion more than expected. However, despite the high cost, the government has said it remains committed to building new reactors.

It was claimed that new reactors were a safe choice because the cost over-runs and delays that have plagued nuclear projects were a thing of the past. And yet new reactor construction projects in Europe continue to go billions of dollars over budget, with similar cost over runs happening in Ontario and New Brunswick, where reactor refurbishments are continually delayed.

“The answer is simple: We need more green energy to protect Ontarians from the unnecessary costs and risks of building new nuclear reactors. Ontario has already procured more green power in 2010 than it expected to over the next seventeen years. We can build on this success, save Ontarians money and create thousands of green collar jobs,” said Stensil.

Earlier this week a coalition of environmental organizations released a report showing that a mix of green energy and conservation would be 12 to 48 per cent cheaper than new reactors at Darlington site. The six reactors at Pickering produce just 15 per cent of Ontario’s electricity supply and could be replaced by a portfolio of conservation, wind, solar and Combined Heat and Power facilities when they shut down in 2020, says the report by Renewable is Doable.

 “New nuclear at Darlington is unnecessary and expensive. Green energy is the affordable and low risk choice for replacing Pickering,” said Stensil.

More photos available at

To read the new Renewable is Doable report, 'Ontario's Green Energy Plan 2.0' go here