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Canada: Referendum victory for environmentalists

Nuclear Monitor Issue: 

(December 4, 1997) In Canada's first ever referendum on nuclear power, citizens of the Town of Pickering voted overwhelmingly to call for an environmental assessment on the Pickering Nuclear Generating Stations, to be made before operator Ontario Hydro proceeds with rehabilitation of the aging reactors.

(482.4779) DNA -The referendum was placed on the ballot of Pickering's municipal election held on November 10. Eighty-seven percent of Pickering's voters (17,038 out of a total of 19,599) supported the YES side in the referendum, calling for the environmental assessment. Durham Nuclear Awareness spearheaded a campaign of door-to-door leafleting, postering, and advertisements, urging residents to 'Vote YES to Assess!'

The referendum follows the decision last August by Ontario Hydro to temporarily shut down the four reactors at the Pickering 'A' nuclear station, the oldest and most accident-prone nuclear power reactors in Canada (see WISE NC 477.4730: Electricity liberalisation + EU expansion = the end of nuclear power?). Ontario Hydro has called operations at the Pickering Stations 'minimally acceptable,' but intends to restart the aging reactors beginning in year 2000. Chief Nuclear Officer Carl Andognini has stated that work on the plant will begin on January 1, 1998 (see article in this issue: Canada: Restoring reactors more expensive than estimated).

According to Durham Nuclear Awareness representative Dave Martin, 'The ball is now in the court of Ontario Environment Minister Norm Sterling. We want an environmental assessment before Ontario Hydro proceeds with any work on the nuclear stations.... This vote sends a clear message to the government that the safety of the Pickering nuclear stations should be put on the front burner. The citizens of Pickering just don't trust Ontario Hydro to make any more nuclear decisions in the back room.'

Source: News Release Durham Nuclear Awareness, 10 November 1997
Contact: Dave Martin at Durham Nuclear Awareness (DNA). Box 104, Uxbridge, Ontario L9P 1M6 Canada.
Tel & Fax: +1-905-852-0571