Down to the quick in the 416: public opinion matters in the nuclear game

Today’s story in the Globe and Mail proclaiming the end of the dream of new reactors at the Darlington nuclear plant came as no surprise to me. It is a shame, but not a surprise. Especially in light of yesterday’s gas plant cost dollar figure of $1.1 billion. The incumbent Liberals, barely hanging on in a minority legislature, need the NDP today more than ever. The official opposition, the PCs, will not support the Liberals on anything, and want an election as soon as possible. I have said before that the PCs could conceivably win power without any 416 seats. You could argue that point, and I would be happy to debate it. But there is no way the Liberals can win again if they lose any more 416 seats. And the party most likely to take 416 seats away is the NDP. Suddenly, it is critical that the Liberals keep the NDP on their side in postponing an election.

Keeping that in mind, today’s Globe piece might well be a trial balloon to gauge NDP reaction. The NDP are ideologically and doctrinally anti-nuclear, which is an odd position for a party that says it stands for working people. Nuclear, as I have pointed out before, produces cheap, reliable electricity—the kind that brings single working mothers to and from work every day on the subway. Why the NDP would eschew cheap union-generated nuclear for expensive foreign-owned wind electricity is beyond me: wind cannot possibly power the Toronto subway, much less affordably. But lots of things are beyond me.

The NDP were officially outraged over the $1.1 gas plant cancellation cost. It is beside the point that if they had been making the decisions at Queen’s Park over the past while they would have wound up in the exact same position: they support wind and oppose nuclear, which means they support gas (in spite of its extremely high carbon content).

Will the Liberal sacrifice of a giant-size zero-carbon electricity plant mollify the dippers?

Whether the answer is yes or no, one thing is clear. The nuclear industry should be putting its case in the 416. Public opinion matters in the nuclear game.

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Steve Foster
6 years ago

I know this isn’t a scientific survey of opinion, but the top rated comments regarding that G & M article are majority pro-nuclear.

This would match top polling in the Ministry survey re LTEP:

Nuclear ranks #1 in public opinion as in “Nuclear power is our best option”.

6 years ago
Reply to  Steve Foster

Keep in mind Steve is it appears that the Dolt McGuinty has signed up committed contracts for another couple of GW of wind power + no doubt another couple of GW of gas power for backup + all the transmission builds to carry the carry the power. The combination at 47 cents a KWh is at least 12 times the levelized cost of the $10B nuclear investment leaving no money.

6 years ago

So how do we address the supply gap after 2018? Not looking good for an industrial or manufacturing resurgeance.

6 years ago

This is the day after The Future of Nuclear Conference where some of the key players were present. What a let down after a good conference. Tom Mitchell of OPG maybe knew what was happening. The tone was kind of low key.

One of the speakers had an interesting comment that hit home. He said that he thinks CANDU does not push hard enough to promote CANDU offshore and that he says if they don’t try harder it will be another Arrow or Blackberry.

6 years ago
Reply to  Steve Aplin

Just boatloads of tritium, that is what it dumps oh and never forget the waste that will never stop being toxic. So yeah it is a great machine lol, you are crazy.

6 years ago
Reply to  Rick Maltese

“if they don’t try harder it will be another Arrow or Blackberry”


The Arrow led to major in-fighting within the military because it ate up so much money that it was threatening to kill off the new tactical day fighter purchase as well as a new destroyer fleet, and in spite of this still didn’t have a working radar or weapons system (Astra never worked). It was also widely derided outside of Ontario as an example of the fed’s industrial welfare programs favouring Ontario and Quebec while the rest of the country hated it (go watch old CBC footage from Calgary). And it would still need SAGE.

The other is a company who’s hubris led it to believe it was not only invincible in its own market (claiming in public that “Apple doesn’t know anything about phones”), and then blew any chance to save itself in a desperate and failed attempt to enter the consumer market, something they have no experience or capability to deliver on. Now it is on death-watch as we wait to see who the highest bidder for its carcass will ultimately be.

If this is what the Canadian nuclear industry has to put up as supporting arguments, I’d hate to see the negative ones.

“thinks CANDU does not push hard enough”

CANDU is dead. Everyone here is aware of this, right?

The design team was sold off at pennies on the dollar to SNC-Lavalin, who only picked them up because an associated tax write-off meant they were actually being paid to play. The ACR project has been un-staffed for a couple of years now, even before the purchase. And with this announcement it is now the case that 100% of the CANDU operator market has stated they are not buying new ones.

At least we can laugh about it:

Jeff Walther
6 years ago

Maury Markowitz is a long time anti-nuclear gas bag who makes most of his money, uh, I mean spends a lot of his time over in the Ars Technica comments section. I would take anything he writes about the nuclear industry with a large grain of salt, as even if accurate, it will be presented to put the nuclear industry in the worst possible light.

6 years ago
Reply to  Jeff Walther

> Maury Markowitz is a long time anti-nuclear gas bag

Ad hominem attacks? Is that the best you have?

> as even if accurate

The irony of that statement is delicious.

In any event, if you don’t like the “light” I present my facts in, you’re more than able to present it in your own.

So, Jeff, let’s hear *your* opinion on the facts I stated, rather than your personal attacks.

James Greenidge
6 years ago

Any way to stroke a Canadian pol’s ego (whether they’re a lion or a windvane) by inviting them to spill a few comments here on the subject? Why do they fear FUD-addicts more than trust engineers and math?

James Greenidge
Queens NY

James Greenidge
6 years ago

The pronlem in a nutshell:

James Greenidge
Queens NY