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NUCLEAR POWER IN THE DARK

The Ottawa Citizen - July 23, 2007

When there's a hole in a duct in your local nuclear plant, you generally hope the plant's owner fixes it promptly. All the more so when that owner is the Government.

That's reportedly the case at the Pickering B nuclear facility, which is the property of Ontario Power Generation, which is the property of the government of Ontario. According to an anonymous tip confirmed by the Toronto Star, a concrete duct used to suck up leaked radioactive material in emergencies ... well, it's a little hole in it for more than a month.

OPG promises there's no danger, since the containment system is not routinely used and anyway the hole is very small.

A safety system at the Pickering nuclear plant has a little hole in it, though according to Ontario Power Generation it's nothing to worry about. Nevertheless, this doesn't help the Crown corporation's reputation.

The company has had enough black eyes. Conceived in debt, OPG is one successor to Ontario Hydro, which racked up $30 billion in debt despite being the monopoly provider of an essential commodity. In its new incarnation, OPG went billions overbudget overhauling the Pickering A nuclear plant. Energy Minister Dwight Duncan fired OPG's chairman and its chief executive, who was being paid millions.

Now Ontario is looking to build more nuclear plants. If OPG wants to run them, this latest problem, however minor, is not one it can afford.

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The Ottawa Citizen 2007

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