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Mayors of Norfolk and Haldimand write premier urging nuclear plant for Nanticoke

Port Dover Maple Leaf: March 26, 2008

To have nuclear power at Nanticoke or not, that is the question facing Ontario Govt.

Mayors of the County of Norfolk and the County of Haldimand forwarded letters last month to Premier Dalton McGuinty urging a start to an environmental assessment that would be filed, along with a formal site application, by nuclear operator Bruce Power.

Residents in communities of both counties are of mixed minds concerning nuclear generation. People understand the massive Nanticoke coal-fired station is set to shut down in 2014. Many residents are urging the provincial government to consider the area for a nuclear power plant.

"Bruce realizes the benefits of coming here," said Mayor Trainer who, according to Haldimand's letter, directly raised the issue with Energy Minister Gerry Phillips on January 27.

Many people in Norfolk and Haldimand believe that Nanticoke being on Lake Erie's shore is also a benefit. That makes for easier delivery of construction equipment and access to cooling water required for large thermal plants. Locating a nuclear plant in Nanticoke could also bring stability to the power grid, which will be knocked out of balance once the coal plant there is closed.

Shutting down the coal plant will lead directly to the loss of 600 jobs, not including the associated ripple effects on the local economy.

An economic study prepared last fall by Harry Kitchen, a professor of economics at Trent University, concluded that a new nuclear plant in Nanticoke would create roughly 1000 full-time jobs over the next decade and inject as much as $660 million into the local economy annually.

The Toronto Star reported in mid-March that Minister Gerry Phillips stated the next nuclear plant to be built in Ontario will be in a community where nuclear generation already exists. That limits locations to Clarington, the home of Darlington Nuclear Generating Station.

"I'm pretty single-mindedly focused on that one point," said Energy Minister Phillips. However, at the same time not ruling out Nanticoke as a possible site for a second plant, if needed. He said environmental assessments started for the Darlington and Bruce sites were filed a year ago. "We're not going to lose a year for an environmental assessment somewhere else," he stated. Industry experts say Nanticoke is an ideal location for a nuclear plant, arguing that once the Nanticoke coal plant is closed there will be ample capacity on transmission lines, unlike the overcrowded transmission around Bruce Power's current site, where an "Orange Zone" prohibits the development of new renewable energy projects.

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