Nuclear is no laughing matter

Edmonton Journal: Patricia Hartnagel - April 23, 2008

Re: "Scot on a mission to reshape the Peace: Son of a shipbuilder has ambitions to bring nuclear power to northern Alberta," The Journal, April 20.

By all means, let's keep it light -- after all, we're only talking about introducing nuclear power to Alberta.

Duncan Hawthorne, president and CEO of Bruce Power, is described as managing "to win over most of the crowd with humour" at a public meeting in Peace River. If this scheme goes through, it will be Alberta taxpayers who will need an enormous sense of humour.

Bruce Power has put the tab at $3.4 billion to get two of their idle reactors in Ontario refurbished and running again.

Conveniently for this privately owned consortium, Ontario taxpayers are on the hook for half of the cost overruns up to $3.05 billion and for 25 per cent of any overruns beyond that.

Moreover, Ontario's auditor reports the electricity produced by the refurbished reactors will cost consumers 44 per cent more than the going market rate.

Is this what Albertans have to look forward to if we all just have a few laughs with Hawthorne and ignore the enormous government subsidies, ridiculous cost overruns and problems associated with Bruce's other nuclear power plants?

Hawthorne is said to have "mocked community members who asked questions" at the Peace River public meeting. Such arrogance! Given the state of the Bruce reactors, it is he who should be mocked for trying to dupe Alberta taxpayers.

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