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THREAT OF NUCLEAR PLANT HURTS ECONOMY

http://www.simcoereformer.ca/ArticleDisplay.aspx?e=1650559

Simcoe Reformer: Letter to the Editor by Jim Elve, Waterford - July 10, 2009

On June 28, the Ontario government suspended plans to deploy two new nuclear reactors at Darlington. Even with a bottomless public purse, the costs were deemed too high.

On July 1, the largest energy company in the U.S., Exelon, dropped plans to build a two-reactor plant in Victoria, Texas. Costs were too high.

In April, another large American energy company, St. Louis-based AmerenUE suspended work on a reactor in Missouri. Costs were too high. On July 2, New Brunswick revealed that the refurbishment project at the Point Lepreau nuclear station was eight months behind schedule and more than $100 million over budget.

On June 8, secret papers left at a CTV studio revealed that the refurbishment of reactors at Bruce Power's Kincardine plant is over a year behind schedule and between $300 and $600 million over budget.

On June 11, Prime Minister Stephen Harper's chief spokesman, Kory Teneycke, said Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd. is a "dysfunctional," $30-billion "sinkhole" that will not get any more federal funding.

As of July 1, Areva's Olkiluoto nuclear energy project in Finland was 42 months behind schedule and 60% over budget.

The new generation of nuclear development is proving to be a lot like the previous generation: too costly to deserve either private or public investment.

Here in Haldimand-Norfolk, we are being lured with the same empty hook. Bruce Power's bid to build a two-reactor plant with private capital is every bit as financially ill-advised as the aforementioned projects.

About three weeks ago, Ontario Energy Minister George Smitherman reiterated in no uncertain terms that Ontario is not supporting Bruce's Nanticoke proposal and that the province has no intention of purchasing any electricity that might be created at a possible Nanticoke nuclear plant. We simply do not need it.

Last week, a Bruce Power spokesperson told Saskatchewan residents that a nuclear plant could not be built in their province without the support and stability offered by a firm provincial government commitment. Despite the lack of financial backing and the strong probability that no plant will ever be built at Nanticoke, Bruce Power continues to press on with the environmental assessment it began last November.

Surveys taken by MPP Toby Barrett indicate that 76% of H-N residents are opposed to a new nuclear plant. New residents echo the same sentiment over and over; if they'd been aware that a nuclear plant was being proposed 6 km from downtown Port Dover, they would have bought their retirement homes elsewhere. Instead of helping our local economy with future jobs, the threat of a nuclear plant is stifling growth.

Both Bruce Power and Premier McGuinty have assured us they will not pursue nuclear development in anything but a "willing host community." We can permanently remove the threat of a nuclear plant by urging our municipality to declare that we are not a willing host.

Haldimand and Norfolk residents can contact their representatives on county councils and tell them to remove this threat that is already damaging our economy.

The hollow promise of future jobs relies on nuclear investors being hoodwinked into investing here when they are dropping the nuclear hot potato everywhere else. If it won't happen, let's make it clear to real investors that were driving unprecedented growth in Port Dover before the spectre of a nuclear plant loomed on the horizon.

Article ID# 1650559