OPG needs to respect request of Pickering City Council

Pickering Nuclear Generating Station

It will take four decades until the Pickering Nuclear Generating Station will be fully decommissioned. – Ryan Pfeiffer/Torstar

Last Friday the Saugeen Ojibway Nation, whose traditional territory includes the site of the Bruce Nuclear station, voted overwhelming against Ontario Power Generation’s (OPG’s) plan to bury nuclear waste next to the station.

OPG CEO Ken HartwickOPG’s CEO, Ken Hartwick, immediately announced that OPG will respect the Saugeen Ojibway Nation’s request and not proceed with its plan to build a Deep Geological Repository on the shores of Lake Huron. This sets an excellent precedent.

Last week Pickering City Council voted unanimously to request that OPG dismantle the Pickering Nuclear Station “as expeditiously as possible in line with the recommendations of the International Atomic Energy Agency” after it is shutdown in 2024.

We hope that OPG will respect the request of the Pickering City Council.

Immediate dismantling of the Pickering Nuclear Station after shut-down in 2024 will create multiple benefits for the City of Pickering including:

1. Permitting most of the Station’s 600-acre prime waterfront site to be returned to the local community for revitalization by 2034.

2. Permitting the people who currently work in the station to be involved in its dismantling.

3. Creating 16,000 person-years of employment in Pickering between 2024 and 2034.

4. Enabling the City of Pickering to become a world leader in nuclear dismantling and decommissioning.

When the Pickering Nuclear Station closes, the total radioactivity of its spent nuclear fuel, which is stored on-site in six conventional commercial storage buildings, will be 200 times greater than the total radiation released to the atmosphere by the Fukushima accident in 2011.

Given that it may be many decades before an off-site location for Pickering’s nuclear wastes will be in service, we hope that OPG will move as expeditiously as possible to build above-ground, attack-resistant, reinforced-concrete vaults for safer on-site storage of Pickering’s spent nuclear fuel until an off-site facility is in service.

Please contact OPG CEO, Ken Hartwick, [ken.hartwick@opg.com and cc angela@cleanairalliance.org] and ask him to respect the wishes of Pickering City Council and dismantle the Pickering Nuclear Station as expeditiously as possible after it is shutdown in 2024; and to create above-ground, attack-resistant, reinforced-concrete vaults for safer interim storage of Pickering’s spent nuclear fuel. SOURCE


It will take 40 years for Pickering Nuclear site to return to normal

Indigenous community rejects nuclear waste bunker near Lake Huron

Ontario Power Generation signage is seen facility at the Darlington Power Complex, in Bowmanville, Ont., on May 31, 2019. File photo by The Canadian Press/Cole Burston

An Indigenous community has overwhelmingly rejected a proposed underground storage facility for nuclear waste near Lake Huron, likely spelling the end for a multibillion-dollar, politically fraught project years in the making.

After a year of consultations and days of voting, the 4,500-member Saugeen Ojibway Nation announced late Friday that 85 per cent of those casting ballots had said no to accepting a deep geologic repository at the Bruce nuclear power plant near Kincardine, Ont.

“We were not consulted when the nuclear industry was established in our territory,” SON said in a statement. “Over the past 40 years, nuclear power generation in Anishnaabekiing has had many impacts on our communities, and our land and waters.”

The province’s giant utility, Ontario Power Generation, had wanted to build the repository 680 metres underground about 1.2 kilometres from Lake Huron as permanent storage for low and intermediate-level radioactive waste. The project was tentatively approved in May 2015.

While Kincardine was a “willing host,” the relative proximity of the proposed bunker to the lake sparked a backlash elsewhere in Canada and the United States. Politicians, environmentalists and scores of communities expressed opposition.

Successive federal governments have withheld final approval. In August 2017, then-environment minister Catherine McKenna paused the process — the last in a string of delays for the project — to ensure buy-in from Indigenous people in the area.

The generating company, which insisted the stable bedrock would safely contain the waste, items such as contaminated reactor components and mops, said it respected SON’s decision.

“OPG will explore other options and will engage with key stakeholders to develop an alternate site-selection process,” Ken Hartwick, head of OPG, said in a statement shortly after the vote was announced. “Any new process would include engagement with Indigenous peoples as well as interested municipalities.”

The apparent end of the road for the project comes shortly after the federally-mandated Nuclear Waste Management Organization said it was making progress toward choosing a site for storing millions of far more toxic spent nuclear fuel bundles.

The organization, comprising several nuclear plant operators, said it had struck deals with landowners in South Bruce — about 30 minutes east of Kincardine — that will allow it to begin site tests. The only other site under consideration for high-level waste storage is in Ignace in northern Ontario.

Despite the rejection of OPG’s proposal, the utility said it planned to continue a relationship “based on mutual respect, collaboration and trust” with the Saugeen Ojibway Nation, which comprises the Chippewas of Saugeen First Nation and the Chippewas of Nawash Unceded First Nation.

Chippewas of Saugeen Chief Lester Anoquot called the vote — 170 for and 1,058 against — a “historic milestone and momentous victory” for the community.

“We worked for many years for our right to exercise jurisdiction in our territory and the free, prior and informed consent of our people to be recognized,” Anoquot said. “We didn’t ask for this waste to be created and stored in our territory.”

At the same time, Anoquot said, the vote showed the need for a new solution for the hazardous waste, a process he said could take many years.

Ontario depends heavily on nuclear power for its electricity but a permanent storage solution for the increasing amounts of waste now stored above ground has proven elusive. The radioactive material, particular from used fuel, remains highly toxic for centuries.

The utility insists exhaustive science shows a repository in stable and impermeable rock offers the best solution.

“Permanent and safe disposal is the right thing to do for future generations,” Hartwick said. SOURCE

Take Action! No need to wait until 2064 to revitalize Pickering’s waterfront

Require immediate dismantling for the Pickering Nuclear Station and safe storage of radioactive waste

Petition to the Honourable Peter Bethlenfalvy, M.P.P. Pickering-Uxbridge & President of the Treasury Board

Dear Minister Bethlenfalvy:

Please ask Ontario Power Generation (OPG) to:

  1. Immediately dismantle the Pickering Nuclear Station after it closes in December 2024, to permit most of the station’s 600-acre site to be returned to the people of Pickering by 2034; and
  2. Ensure that the Pickering Nuclear Station’s spent nuclear fuel is stored in an attack-resistant facility as soon as possible.
You can add your own comments by clicking “Read the Petition” and adding comments.

Pickering wants its waterfront back

Making the right choiceOur community meeting in Pickering last week made one thing clear – Pickering wants its waterfront back.

The people of Pickering have lots of ideas about how the 600-acre site of the Pickering Nuclear Station could be re-purposed once the plant closes in 2024 – from restoring natural habitat and marshes to developing renewable energy generation. What they don’t want is to wait 30 years to begin the process of dismantling the plant and moving its highly radioactive waste to a safer location.

Pickering MPP Peter Bethlenfalvy is an important minister in the Ford government. We are calling on Mr. Bethlenfalvy to use his influence to speak about the desire of the people of Pickering to see the nuclear station immediately dismantled after closure. As Ontario Power Generation’s (OPG’s) only shareholder, the Government of Ontario can order OPG to adopt the global best practice of immediate dismantling.

Please sign our petition calling on Minister Bethlenfalvy to support immediate dismantling. And please ask your friends and neighbours to do so too. After hosting the 8-reactor station for 53 years, the people of Pickering shouldn’t have to wait until 2064 for an opportunity to revitalize their waterfront.

Sign the petition now!

Canadian Coal-Fired Power Plant Transformed into Solar Farm

The 44-MW Nanticoke Solar Farm in Ontario.
The 44-MW Nanticoke Solar Farm in Ontario. ONTARIO POWER GENERATION

What was once the largest coal-fired power plant in North America has been converted to a 44-megawatt solar farm with 192,431 photovoltaic panels spread across 260 acres, the electric utility Ontario Power Generation announced. The facility, situated on the shores of Lake Erie in Ontario, will generate enough electricity to power more than 7,200 homes.

The project is located on the grounds of retired Nanticoke Generating Station, which operated for more than 40 years before closing down in 2013. The idea to use part of the coal facility’s property for a new solar farm was spearheaded and paid for by Ontario Power Generation (OPG), the Six Nations of the Grand River Development Corporation, and the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation. Its opening last week coincided with the one-year anniversary of the demolition of Nanticoke’s smokestacks, which once stood 650 feet tall, Mining.com reported.

Stacey Laforme, Chief of the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation, called the Nanticoke Solar Project “an important economic development” in the region and for tribal nations. MORE


Ontario: Energy Price Alert!

On January 1st Ontario Power Generation (OPG) raised its price of nuclear power by 7% to 8.8 cents per kWh.

As a result, the price of nuclear power has doubled since 2002.

When will the promise be kept?To add insult to injury, OPG has told the Ontario Energy Board that it needs to increase its price of nuclear power by a further 88% between now and 2025 to pay for the re-building of its Darlington Nuclear Station. If this occurs, Premier Ford will not be able to keep his promise to lower our electricity costs by 12%.

Fortunately, the solution to our rising electricity rates lies just east of the Ottawa River. Quebec is the 4th largest producer of water power in the world and it has a large and rising supply of low-cost water power available for export to Ontario at a fraction of the cost of nuclear power. TAKE ACTION!


The Economic Viability of Nuclear Power Is Only Going Down