Darlington reactors would boost federal infrastructure stimulus and jobs

On the federal government’s map of infrastructure projects, the area along Hwy 401 between Oshawa and Bowmanville shows two projects, each worth less than $1 million. Important though these are—the area is home to many laid-off manufacturing workers—there’s another project that would inject billions of dollars into the Ontario economy and create thousands of high-paid, high-skilled, and long-term jobs. That is the addition of two or three new nuclear reactors at the Darlington generating station.

Of all the infrastructure projects on the entire map, from coast to coast, this would be the biggest. It would also be the most decisive step the feds have yet taken to proving they’re serious about making 90 percent of Canada’s electricity carbon-free by 2020—as they promised in last November’s Speech from the Throne.

The new reactors could, depending on the make and model, crank out more than 30 billion kilowatt-hours of carbon-free electricity every year for sixty years. In so doing, they would offset over 16 million tonnes of carbon dioxide each and every year—almost as much as Ontario’s entire electric power generation sector emitted in 1994.

Everybody agrees this construction project should be started soon. In this time of uncertain employment, especially in Ontario’s manufacturing sector, thousands of new jobs—high skilled, high paid, and long term—would be a huge shot in the arm. All it takes is federal and provincial politicians working together to arrange the financing. There has been some disagreement between them over who should commit how much money; see article.

Regardless. Surely some smart political strategists—in Ottawa, Toronto, and in Durham Region (which is home to Darlington)—could see the wisdom in creating thousands of jobs and achieving a major national environmental aim.

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