OPG TO TRAIN IT'S OWN "ARMED FORCE" Metroland, Oshawa-Whitby-Clarington This Week - Jennifer Stone - August 3, 2007

DURHAM -- Ontario Power Generation's facilities -- including Darlington and Pickering Nuclear -- will be guarded by OPG employees, instead of members of the Durham Regional Police, by 2013.

That's when the DRPS agreement with OPG comes to an end.

It was a partnership forged after 9/11, when the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission upped its requirements for security at facilities like nuclear power stations.

"The CNSC asked for compliance in a fairly timely manner, and we wanted to make sure we were timely and did it (met the requirements) well,"" said OPG spokeswoman Jacquie McInnes. Having Durham cops take on the job ""allowed us to focus on some of the other security enhancements"" required post-9/11, including a new security building at Darlington, and ""more robust security measures," including geometric identification systems, she said.

Now, at the direction of the regulator, the CNSC, OPG is to put in place its own armed force.

"In discussion with DRPS and in review of our evolving security requirements, and the direction of our regulator, OPG and DRPS jointly agreed that for the long term this was the best course of action for our nuclear response capability,"" said Ms. McInnes.

OPG isn't currently saying how large the force will be, nor how many DRP officers it has had on hand over the last few years. Hiring and training will be completed over the next several years.

"The candidates will be looked at from a number of places ... They'll be selected and trained over the next six years," said Ms. McInnes.

Neither DRP Chief Mike Ewles nor police association president Tom Andrews could be reached for comment. But, in a press release, Chief Ewles said DRPS's support for OPG would continue.

"The Durham Regional Police Service nuclear response force at Pickering and Darlington will continue in its present form until all partners and the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission are fully satisfied that the new model will exceed current capacities, and meet all of the safety needs for our communities," he said. "Following this transition, the DRPS will remain committed to provide off-site support to OPG's new security division, just as we have done for the last 40 years."

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