Thursday, December 15, 2005

Nuclear power on table, McGuinty says

The Globe and Mail: Nuclear power on table, McGuinty says

TORONTO -- Premier Dalton McGuinty is promising "a very important conversation" with Ontarians before committing his government to a renewed nuclear-energy program.

Mr. McGuinty, making his first public comments since a provincial advisory agency last week recommended spending up to $40-billion to refurbish existing reactors and build new ones, said "nuclear remains on the table for us."

He said Ontario is in a difficult position in ensuring reliable supplies of electricity in the future because previous governments avoided making hard decisions. He said that he would prefer not to have to build new nuclear reactors, but his government has a responsibility to ensure the lights stay on.

"We will not duck this. We look forward to engaging Ontarians in a very important conversation."


Government officials reaffirmed yesterday that there is no guarantee that Ontario will go for Canadian-made CANDU reactors if the decision is made to build new nuclear reactors. Other technologies, from the United States and France, would be considered, they said.

On a recent trade mission to China, officials took note that the new reactors being built there were not using CANDU technology even though the Canadian reactors built earlier there had been successful.

Mr. McGuinty's comments cleared up the confusion about whether opponents of nuclear power would have the chance to air their views.

Energy Minister Donna Cansfield said last week that the report from the Ontario Power Authority would be posted on the Environmental Bill of Rights website for 60 days. She did not commit herself to the full public debate promised by her predecessor, Dwight Duncan.

However, Mr. McGuinty said public input will go beyond the website, but he did not elaborate. "This is too important a conversation to leave it just to a website."

New Democrat Leader Howard Hampton criticized the government during Question Period for considering expanding the province's nuclear fleet, when such power is expensive and unreliable.

He pointed to the fact that Bruce Power, a private consortium that operates a nuclear station on Lake Huron, was forced to shut down two reactors this week because of problems.

Jack Gibbons, chair of the Ontario Clean Air Alliance and a critic of nuclear power, welcomed the Premier's comments.

He said the OPA report is biased in favour of nuclear power and ignores the possibility of a decentralized network of small-scale generation plants across Ontario.

"We need to turn our schools, recreation centres, shopping malls, office towers and factories into mini-power plants."


Blogger James said...

You should see what the Ontario Tenants Rights site has to say about this.

In particular look at their Ontario Hydro and Ontario electricity news pages.

3:13 PM  

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