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Smitherman rejects Nanticoke nuclear plant plan

thestar.com: Tyler Hamilton - Oct 31, 2008

http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/article/528385

Ontario's energy and infrastructure minister poured cold water today on the idea of building a nuclear plant in Nanticoke along the shoreline of Lake Erie, calling a plan announced by Bruce Power a tactic aimed at forcing the government's hand.

"I want to make very clear that this is an unsolicited action on the part of a private interest. We didn't solicit it, we don't endorse it, tacitly or otherwise," said George Smitherman in an interview. "It's designed to influence government policy."

Privately owned Bruce Power, which already operates six Candu reactors at nuclear facilities near Kincardine, confirmed today a story first reported in the Toronto Star that it wants to build a new plant near the existing Nanticoke coal-fired generating station in the Haldimand-Norfolk region.

The plant would consist of two nuclear reactors capable of generating between 2,000 and 3,000 megawatts of electricity. The company said it filed an application Friday for a site preparation license from the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission and will move forward with an environmental assessment that's likely to take three years.

"Bruce Power will use the (environmental assessment) as a planning tool to weigh the merits of building a clean energy hub on approximately 800 hectares within the Haldimand Industrial Park," the Tiverton, Ont.-based company said.

It has negotiated an option for the land from owner U.S. Steel Canada Inc., formerly Stelco Inc. "Although this is a major step forward, we will not make a decision to proceed with a project until we have consulted thoroughly with the people of Haldimand-Norfolk and have significantly progressed the EA," said Bruce Power president and chief executive Duncan Hawthorne.

The company, citing research out of Trent University, said a nuclear plant in the region would create 1,000 new jobs and contribute $550 million a year to the local economy during construction.

The plan has support from the mayors of Haldimand and Norfolk and both communities' town councils. Local MP Diane Finley, federal minister of human resources and skills development, also backs the new plant along with the Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters and the Canadian Nuclear Workers Council.

The McGuinty government has consistently said it will only build a new nuclear plant in a community that already has one. Earlier this year it chose Ontario Power Generation's Darlington site as the location of a new plant, and a process is underway to select a reactor technology.

But proponents say Haldimand county would be an ideal location for a second plant because of its willing community and access to high-voltage transmission lines after the massive Nanticoke coal plant, which employs about 600 workers, is shut down in 2014.

Smitherman, however, said Ontario already has its hands full with projects in the works.

"I remain singularly unconvinced that there is the capacity to build new nuclear at Nanticoke while we still have very ambitious plans for a new build at Darlington and tonnes of refurbishment work (at older nuclear facilities)," he said. "We couldn't do it if we wanted to."

Bruce Power is a joint venture of Saskatoon-based uranium giant Cameco Corp., TransCanada Corp. of Calgary, the Ontario Municipal Employees Retirement System, and other partners.

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COMMENTS:

Congrats, George! Congratulations to George Smitherman for a sober assessment of Ontario's energy needs! After Nanticoke's closure, cutting greenhouse gases and smog, our children and grandchildren don't need and want radioactive emissions and lethal nuclear waste. Too bad that our babies and toddlers can't speak up, they are the ones who have to bear the consequences, not only on the environment but also on their pocketbooks.

The timing of Smitherman's statement is nothing but a "red herring"; with his knowing of the announcement well before-hand, The Bruce, OPG, and Provincial strategy mix, is Biomass (OPG Nanticoke), wind, solar and nuclear after the Nanticoke coal-fired plant shuts down. The only alternative to nuclear remains clean-coal-technology and carbon sequestration. Therefore, people of Haldimand/Norfolk need to lobby "hard" for clean-coal as the alternative to nuclear?

Ontario's energy future; Nanticoke brings to mind the McGuinty Government's promise last time around to shut the Nanticoke coal-fired generators by 2010 or so. Now supposedly it will be 2014, always a year or two AFTER the next election. If this government were realistic, they would have had proper scrubbers installed at Nanticoke years ago and investigated CO2 sequestration, since it is doubtful that Ontario can do without coal-fired plants for a while yet. I believe that building nuclear plants -- if that's what they plan -- takes about ten years or so. What does this energy uncertainty do for Ontario's investment climate?

It would be idiotic to locate another nuclear plant; on the shores of Lake Erie where it would permanently destroy the largest freshwater supply of drinking water etc if an accident were to occur.

Calm rational decision on Ont gov part; The economy is swinging up, but mostly down like see saw. Costs of construction of any kind, but especially power plants are skyrocketing. Reduced manufacturing sector, and possible recession, like those in '91 and '80s, would surely reduce power demand. Its good to know the Ont Liberals have modest plans for nuclear, relying predominantly on conservation and co-generation with gas power. Yes, Nanticoke is a good site, but the industry is short on workers as is, and current and upcoming refurbishments, uprating programs, and waste storage projects at Bruce are already a big workload. As for urgency to reduce fossil fuel emissions: Nanticoke rarely used even at 50% - New Bruce refurb, hydro, wind, gas, co-gen and conservation will drastically reduce smog and acid rain.

To Quark; You don't want coal; you don't want nuclear; and there is a lobby group that is against wind power and we are doing nothing about solar power. So it looks as if you and your gang of nay sayers should stop making babies because without some source of new energy your babies will be starving in the dark.

Smitherman just another Ontario basher; How can Smitherman begin to assume what a privately owned company can or can't handle? You're correct Goerge, Ontario does have it's hands full of unfortunately they are full of unemployment insurance forms. We have a company that want's to replace a Coal fired plant with a Nuclear one, on land that is likely contaminated to the point where it isn't good for much else. How about an open mind, how about investing in some much need infrastructure, how about creating a few much needed jobs. Oh I forgot Nanticoke is in Ontario.. the last place you'd want to invest in, as per our current government. You remain "singularly unconvinced" and simple minded George.. We in Ontario will have to start looking after ourselves. Any one happen to know who to ask in Quebec where we can get our own separation forms?

The Government is Looney Tunes; Rather than encourage an emissions free, privately funded, efficient, reliable form of energy, Smitherman would rather plaster the countryside with thousands upon thousands of worthless, almost totally subsidized wind turbines. In doing so he is trashing the rural areas and turning them into industrialized ghettos. He is not interested in the environment. He is not interested in keeping the lights on in Ontario...he is only worried about getting himself elected again. Selfish stupidity.

Alas..... Sigh.... "It has negotiated an option for the land from owner U.S. Steel Canada Inc., formerly Stelco Inc." That's the real story. We are in worse shape than we were 50 years ago. Even paper clips are now ordered out of US corporate HQ. Cheers, dba

WHAT?!!!!! Geez, I just commented on another article about what a great idea this clean energy hub is and now I read that our Energy Minister does not endorse it!!! What is the downside here? Thousands of high-paying jobs in an area hit by manufacturing lay-offs and the development of 2000-3000 megawatts of affordable and reliable power. The involvement of Ontario universities in hydrogen technology and the addition of wind and solar is exactly the type of cutting edge energy planning that this province needs. Has the government not noticesd that we are facing some very tough economic times? Why would they deny the citizens of this area a chance to better their lives? This makes no sense!!!

Nanticoke; As a resident of Norfolk (10 minutes west of Nanticoke) it constantly amazes me that ANY attempt by anyone to do anything at the Nanticoke generating plant other than close the plant (only election promise not broken) is a non starter with the McGuinty government. I propose that the name of the affected area be changed from Nanticoke to Nantipepsi the government would not know where or care where Nantipepsi was (rural you know not a lot of votes) and could still close the evil Nanticoke generating station (for those urban folks lots of votes). The surrounding land of Nantipepsi could be used for a nuclear plant.

Say No to Dirty gas; Bruce Power would like to invest and build two new nuclear reactors on the shores of Lake Erie That's Great news. But Smitherman won't support the lake Erie plants why?. He supports dirty stinking gas fired plant in the middle of our towns and cities. The power generated in these gas plants is to expensive and they pollute and heat the air and there life cycle is short. Not dirty try living next to one... Dirty Gas power is the number one cause of our power rates going thru the roof. Say No to Dirty gas and yes to wind and nuclear...

We need nuclear plants; I don't care where they put these newer and safer generating plants. We need them and we need them NOW. This will reduce our need to use fossil fuel in my opinion. Put one in my neighbourhood, I would be OK with that. Put one down on Unwin Ave. and reduce your transmission costs.

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