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Letter to Editor – Response to Toronto Star Editorial on Nuclear in Ontario, February 2010


February 20, 2010
The Editors
The Toronto Star
1 Yonge St.
Toronto, Ontario
Re: Nuclear Questions Left Unanswered
Dear Sir/Madam,
In reviewing today's editorial regarding the construction of new nuclear power plants for Ontario, I was left wondering what alternative reality the Star's editorial writers were inhabiting.
The Star ignores completely the outcome of the province's bidding process for new build nuclear facilities last summer. The process revealed costs for new build facilities of between $23 and $26 billion for two reactors, a figure nearly 4 times the province's planning estimates. It was a that point that the province sensibly put its procurement effort on hold.
You editorial also ignores the uncertain status of the key nuclear proponents. The Federal government has clearly signalled intent to attempt to sell AECL’s reactor division, a situation that has led even the company’s own employees at Chalk River to look for ways to jump ship.
Given these factors, along with the uncertainty regarding the future direction of electricity demand in Ontario, it would be the height of imprudence to proceed, as the Star suggests, with an attempt to purchase new build nuclear facilities now.
The province has laid the groundwork for a more sustainable and resilient electricity system through its Green Energy Act. It now needs to carry through on that vision. The path suggested by the Star, by contrast, would leave the province with an electricity system as fragile, costly and inflexible as ever.
Yours sincerely,
Mark S. Winfield, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
Coordinator Joint MES/JD Program
Faculty of Environmental Studies
York University
4700 Keele St.
Toronto, Ontario
M3J 1P3
Tel: 416-736-2100 ext. 21078
Fax: 416-736-5679