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Decision too complex for politicians A very political power play

The Toronto Star: Fred Boyd - April 25, 2008

This is to congratulate Andy Frame for his clear indictment of the politics associated with the call from the Ontario government for bids for new nuclear power plants.

The ridiculous situation of having politicians and their bureaucrats make the complex and technical decision of which nuclear power plants to build in Ontario is just one disastrous outcome of the decision of the Mike Harris government to dismantle Ontario Hydro. Harris dismantled Ontario Hydro in 1999, creating five new entities, including Hydro One with its notoriously high paid executives. That was all in the guise of a "market" system. That was soon seen not to work. So, we now have a bastardized combination of government price setting and both publicly and privately owned generation, with the latter receiving a higher price for the electricity they generate. Atomic Energy of Canada Limited has a long and honourable history. Canada was the second country in the world to have a nuclear reactor, at the Chalk River Laboratories of AECL in 1945, and was the first to declare that our nuclear technology would be for peaceful purposes only. With funding very modest compared with other nuclear countries, Canada developed our own indigenous and successful CANDU type of nuclear power plant. Over the past 15 years AECL has built a number of CANDU units offshore. Yes, AECL has problems. Its owner, the federal government, has starved its research and development efforts and not invested in new designs, expecting it to be funded from its offshore sales. It is essential that the federal government fully support AECL and the provincial government recognize the value of our indigenous nuclear capability. To buy our next nuclear plants from foreign companies would be a greater national loss than the potential sale of MDA and our space technology.

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