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Pickering announcement means Darlington new-build imperative

Energy Professionals: Nuclear must remain at 50 per cent of electricity capacity

February 16, 2010

http://www.marketwire.com/press-release/Pickering-announcement-means-Darlington-new-build-imperative-1117655.htm

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Feb. 16, 2010) - The McGuinty government's decision not to refurbish the nuclear reactors at Pickering makes building new nuclear power at Darlington "imperative," says a leader of Ontario's professional employees.

"If Pickering only operates to 2020, then something must be done very, very quickly to get some new construction going," said Rod Sheppard, President of the Society of Energy Professionals. "Otherwise, the province's nuclear baseload supply will be in danger of falling below 50 per cent of electricity capacity."

If that happens, Sheppard pointed out, the falling nuclear supply will almost certainly be replaced with natural gas-fired generators. "And replacing emission-free nuclear with fossil-fuel combustion makes no sense at all for a province that's busy creating a green economy."

Sheppard's comments were in response to today's announcement that Ontario Power Generation (OPG) would not perform a full refurbishment of the four Pickering "B" reactors. Just enough work will be done so they will last another 10 years. The four reactors at Darlington, however, will be refurbished, and will be in operation until 2050.

Though the announcement was made by OPG officials, Sheppard said he had no doubt it was a government decision.

While any crisis involved would be ten years in the future, Sheppard says the province can't waste any more time dithering over nuclear new-build. "It'll take at least ten years to get more plant in operation at Darlington. We've got to get going."

Sheppard also noted that nuclear is a heavy employer of highly-qualified, highly-skilled, well-paid personnel. "In an economy that's in rough shape, I don't think the government will want to endanger the thousands of jobs that depend on stability in the nuclear power industry. Our members can find jobs wherever they go-Ontario shouldn't want to drive them away."

The Society of Energy Professionals represents more than 7,800 professional employees-engineers, scientists, middle management, information technology specialists, etc. in Ontario's electricity sector. The Society supports the government's conservation and renewable-power goals, and believes the Ontario's economy and public needs affordable, reliable, and secure electricity. The Society of Energy Professionals is Local 160 of the International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers.