Bruce Power turns to Norfolk

SIMCOE REFORMER: Barbara Simpson - November 26, 2009

Bruce Power won't set up a nuclear power plant unless there's a willing community on board -- and that the mixture of humans, natural habitat and wildlife in this community won't be harmed in its wake.

That's the message that Doug Boreham, of Bruce Power, and Duncan Moffett, of Golder Associates, brought to council chambers last night. The pair came to discuss the three-year environmental assessment underway for a proposed Nanticoke nuclear power plant. The scientific study will examine several factors, such as the effects on water, soil and human health. It's the first step in a lengthy eight- to-10 year process to set up a nuclear plant.

"No decisions will be made until the environmental assessment is completed," Moffett stressed to council.

Mayor Dennis Travale raised a comment from a concerned community member who claimed that environmental assessments are "fixed."

"There is no bias in doing it," Moffett responded.

"We're very proud of our work," Boreham added, stating that their work will stand up to scrutiny. "We're professionals."

But Stephana Johnston, of Grand Erie Energy Quest, called into question two "inaccuracies" after the pair's presentation. Her and fellow member Jim Elve visited council last night to hear the presentation and distribute anti-nuclear literature and collect signatures for their petition.

Johnston says she has heard that there have been 63 nuclear environmental assessments with only two of these being denied. She said this is contradictory to the pair's estimate that one-third of their projects don't get the go-ahead.

"That's something people should be aware of," Johnston said, adding that her group's statement in their literature -- that nuclear plants shut down in "heat waves" -- was true, despite Boreham's refusal during council.

"This did happen in France when people most wanted air conditioning," she explained.

Johnston was also surprised that council didn't "bite" at one of the questions on their fittingly green handout entitled, H-N Nuclear Waste Garbage Dump.

There, they ask, "Is the $15,000 given to the Port Dover Medical Centre by Bruce Power a token down payment to pay for future illnesses caused by radioactive contact?"

"It's buying people's compliance," she explained of the decision to accept a Bruce Power donation. "I would say, 'No thanks. We'll raise the money ourselves.'"

Simcoe Coun. Charlie Luke also raised a tough question to the energy experts during the question period following their presentation. Why go ahead with an environmental assessment without the province's stamp of approval?

"Bruce Power, as a private company, wants to investigate options," Moffett explained, adding that the region has an ideal site and qualified workforce.

Moffett said that the four community information sessions -- two in Haldimand and two in Norfolk -- will be an opportunity for residents to learn more about the nuclear plant and share concerns.

"It's too early in the process to be opposed to it," Boreham explained.

But Langton Coun. Roger Geysens said that the public has a different perception of these information sessions.

"A lot of people see these open hours as a selling job rather than hearing what they have to say," he explained.

Moffett explained that the joint review panel -- that makes a decision on the environmental assessment -- requires Bruce Power to show it has solicited and responded to residents' concerns.

The information sessions will be held over the course of four days from Dec. 1 to 4 -- first at the Port Dover Lions Community Centre, then the Jarvis Community Centre, the Simcoe Recreation Centre and the Cayuga Kinsmen Community Centre. All sessions will run from 5-7 p.m.

Article ID# 1316520

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