DC1 Decommissioning The PickeringDC2 Nuclear Generation StationDC3 In 1986, Chernobyl Ukraine’s nuclear power station suffered amajor nuclear meltdown, where there was a fire and explosion thatsent radiation into the atmosphere.
DC4 Expertspredict that the meltdown is responsible for over 93,000 cancer related deathsdue to the exposure to the radiation (Slate). If the containmentDC5 structurein the reactor gets damaged the radioactive materials and ionizing radiationcan be released into the surrounding environment. This is very dangerousbecause it can lead to many different types of cancer for both humans andanimals, contaminate water streams, and ruin land(National). Every year thatpasses the Pickering Nuclear Generation Station gets older and more dangerous.An old nuclear plant is more unreliable, expensive, and dangerous. ThePickering Nuclear Generation Station must be decommissioned because the costsoutweigh the financial savingsDC6 , there isdangerously low preparedness and awarenessDC7 of thepopulation in case of emergency, and a possible meltdown would result incontamination of Lake Ontario thus leading to lack of clean water for millionsof people.
DC8 As nuclear plants age they become more expensive to maintain.The Pickering plant costs more to maintain the it saves in energy prices. DC9 The onlyreason Ontario Power Generation (OPG)insists that the plant is beneficial isthe Independent Electricity System Operator(IESO) cost-benefit analysis. Thisanalysis was filled with unrealistic assumptions that were proven optimisticand slanted towards the Plant. One of the comparisons made was to natural gasgenerators; the predict gas prices were much too high. When IESO finished thisanalysis (2015) they concluded that extending the life of the plant had a 70%chance in resulting in a net cost.
If IESO were to do the analysis again with Lup-to-dategas prices, Pickering would cost rate payers over $550 million (Financial). OPGconducted a study where they would compare nuclear plants from across thecontinent. Two out of Pickering’s six reactors scored last place when it cameperformance.
Performance is compared using a measure referred to as “unitcapability factor”. The factor is a measure of power output compared to its maxoutput. The other four reactors placed in the bottom half. OPG admitted thatbecause of the Pickering plant’s design, it will never be as efficient or reliableas other nuclear plants. In OPG’s 2016 annual report, they reported that theplant spent more time offline then they had intended it to(Financial). Ontarioalready has an energy surplus so almost all the energy created by the plant isnot needed, and in the long run costing the rate payer more.
Ontario powergeneration recently filed an application to get three times as much money fornuclear power output for reason they said covering the ballooning cost ofoperating the aging Pickering nuclear station (Greenpeace). They said itthemselves the cost of the plant keeps increasing with age. IndependentElectricity System Operator confessed that Pickering energy would only be needa few hours a year. But, it produces power year-round because of how nuclearpower is difficult to turn on and off (Financial). Through OPG’s benchmarkstudy they concluded that a unit of energy from Pickering is over 70% moreexpensive then energy produced at top performing Plants in North America andover 50% more expensive then the median cost. Energy production at thePickering Plant is 50% more expensive then that at the neighboring plant inDarlington (Financial). The Pickering nuclear power station is more expensivethen it is worth and is standing in the way of using less expensive renewableenergy sources. Secondly, Ontario is not prepared in case of a meltdown atthe reactor which will result in thousands of lives.
Since there is such anabundance of people living near of the plant a disaster would result in catastrophicdamage. During the nuclear meltdown inFukushima 150,00 people were evacuated within 20km. If there were to be ameltdown in Pickering and the evacuation area was the same over a millionpeople would be displaced(Greenpeace). The emergency plan for the Pickeringarea hasn’tDC10 been changed since 2009. This meaning that theplans DC11 does not account for the population increase.Potassium Iodine (KI) pills are to be taken after a nuclear accident tomitigate risk of cancer. Only people within the first 10km have received any(Star). But the Nuclear Regulatory Commission recommends anyone within 80km toprotect their food and water from radiation, meaning that Ontario ins furtherthen the KI pill radius will be affected by the radiation(Smithsonian).
Arecent survey of residents living within 10km of Pickering plant neighboringplant in Darlington, showed that 80% said they have no plans incase ofemergency (Star). This goes to show that the government has not stressed theimportance of preparation of an emergency. Theresa McLagan, executive directorof the Canadian Environmental Law Association (CELA) commented “Until now, asfar as I’m aware, there’s been no attempt to reach out to city of Torontoresidents about the fact that there are nuclear plants in the GTA.” The plant’semergency plan is not based on a Fukushima type scenario. By creating plansthat rely on workers controlling the accident, the plant is simply hopingnothing terrible happens. They are hoping and preparing for a minor accidentinstead of preparing for the worst, like what happened in Chernobyl orFukushima.
The population in the area surrounding the plant continues to grow,resulting in more people in dangerously proximity of the plant. If there wereto be a meltdown over a million people would be affected, we have seen frompast disasters that no matter how prepares you are damage will be done withoutdoubt. But, the Ontario Government is not preparing as much as we need.
ThePickering Nuclear Generation Station is the most heavily populated nuclearplant in North America meaning that if disaster were to strike millions wouldbe affected. The government must aware residents and prepare for the worstbecause without preparation damage will be maximized.DC12 Lastly, a nuclear meltdown would contaminate Lake Ontario; awater supply over 9 million DC13 people depend on for their water (Star). All nuclearplants must be situated on a body of water; The Pickering nuclear plant is locatedon the shore of Lake Ontario. Lake Ontario is a crucial body of what that supplieswater to over 9 million people from Ontario and New York.
The government has noemergency plan on how to act in case of plant meltdown resulting in watercontamination. “Millions of people get their drinking water from Lake Ontario,but there’s no credible plan on how to deal with tap water contamination in theevent of a nuclear accident,” says Greenpeace Canada’s senior nuclear analyst,Shawn-Patrick Stensil. Lake Ontario is crucial for providing water to millionsof people, many of which have no other source of water. Over 30 years after theaccident in Chernobyl near by cities are still experiencing many watercontamination problems (ScienceDirect).
Contaminating Lake Ontario will notonly affect this generation but also future generations. After the disaster inFukushima, Japan, water sources from over 200km away were contaminated. Not onlydo big meltdowns leak radiation but small leaks can as well. As plants getolder the chance of them leaking is much higher. Since the Pickering plant is 47years old it will be very susceptible to leaks. 75% of US nuclear plants haveleaked Tritium, a chemical that has been proven to cause cancer and birthdefects (Environment). If the safety of the lake cannot be guaranteed neithercan the health of the people drinking that water. The solution that thegovernment has stood by is to simply hope that the plant can be contained quickenough so that the lack does not get completely contaminated.
This solution cannot cut it, we as Ontarians can not be satisfied with a plan to hope. Water iscrucial to the wellbeing of the population and the government must step up andstart to address this possible disaster. Thegovernment of Ontario must decommission the Pickering Nuclear Generationstation because of the little benefit associated with keeping it open and thehigh risk of not closing it. Many peoplebelieve that the power plant has no negatives, the only reason they believethat is because they have not seen any negatives. Pickering Nuclear GenerationStation is a negative that is a danger to us because of the lack of awarenessand preparedness and the risk of water supply contamination Are we as aprovince going to sit around and wait for a disaster to strike or are we goingto act to protect ourselves. Chernobyl will not be inhabitable for the next20,000 years; do we want to inflict that on future generation.
We must preservethis precious land we live in we must shut down the plant.DC14 Works CitedDC15 “Accidents at Nuclear Power Plants and Cancer Risk.” National Cancer Institute, 19 Apr. 2011,www.
cancer.gov/about-cancer/causes-prevention/risk/radiation/nuclear-accidents-fact-sheet#q2.Mycio, Mary. “How Many People Have Been Killed byChernobyl?” Slate Magazine, 26 Apr.2013,www.
slate.com/articles/health_and_science/explainer/2013/04/chernobyl_death_toll_how_many_cancer_cases_are_caused_by_low_level_radiation.html.”Nuclear Power Plants Threaten Drinking Water for 4Million Bay Staters.” Nuclear Power PlantsThreaten Drinking Water for 4 Million Bay Staters | Environment Massachusetts,24 Jan.
2012,environmentmassachusetts.org/news/mae/nuclear-power-plants-threaten-drinking-water-4-million-bay-staters.Otis, Daniel. “Is Toronto Ready for a Radiation Emergency?”Thestar.com, 5 Jan.
2016,www.thestar.com/news/gta/2016/01/05/is-toronto-ready-for-a-radiation-emergency.html.Otis, Daniel. “Safety Not Guaranteed near NuclearPlants in Pickering and Clarington, Critics Say.
” DurhamRegion.com, Metrolandmedia, 5 Jan. 2016,www.durhamregion.com/news-story/6218718-safety-not-guaranteed-near-nuclear-plants-in-pickering-and-clarington-critics-say/.”Pickering Nuclear: Too Close for Comfort.
” Ontario Clean Air Alliance, 24 Feb.2076, www.cleanairalliance.org/pickering-nuclear-in-the-wrong-place/.
Ridgwell, Henry. “30 Years On, Chernobyl Still LeaksRadiation.” VOA, VOA, 26 Apr. 2016,www.voanews.
com/a/chernobyl-still-leaks-radiation-30-years-later/3302759.html.Stensil, Shawn-Patrick. “3 Reasons to Shut DownPickering.” Greenpeace Canada, 6 Dec.2016,www.greenpeace.
org/canada/en/blog/Blogentry/3-reasons-to-shut-down-pickering/blog/58227/.Stromberg, Joseph. “Do You Live Within 50 Miles of aNuclear Power Plant?” Smithsonian.com,Smithsonian Institution, 13 Mar. 2014,www.
smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/do-you-live-within-50-miles-nuclear-power-plant-180950072/.Vakulovsky, S M, et al. “Cesium-137 and Strontium-90Contamination of Water Bodies in the Areas Affected by Releases from theChernobyl Nuclear Power Plant Accident: an Overview.” Journal of Environmental Radioactivity, Elsevier, 8 Apr. 2003,www.sciencedirect.
com/science/article/pii/0265931X94900558.Yach, Brady. “Looking to Lower Ontario Power Rates? Startwith Pickering, Where $550 Million Will Be Wastefully Spent.” Financial Post, 28 Mar. 2017,business.
financialpost.com/opinion/looking-to-lower-ontario-power-rates-start-with-pickering-where-550-billion-will-be-wastefully-spent. DC1Overall,interesting and well argued. However there are a number of writing mistakes, orincomplete thoughts that could be improved. See below for my comments. DC2Missinga ‘the’ DC3Howabout a better name for your FILE itself. ‘BigOlGeoBoi” not really appropriate. DC4Thisshould be two sentences, not one.
DC5’the’?Watch out for small writing errors. DC6Of? DC7For? DC8Generallygood thesis, but see above – you could expand it a bit to be moreinformativeand clear. DC9Wouldbe good to see some dollar figures here – what’s expensive? Real dollars willmake it more real in your reader’s head. DC10ForPickering? DC11Incomplete– what are you trying to say? (plus you may need a citation here) DC12Goodthoughts and arguments based on your research. DC13Only9? Maybe cite this. DC14Goodconclusion overall. DC15Putat top of page. 11 sources – a solid amount for a project of this size.