Why it is time to dispel the Nuclear threat to Toronto?

By: Ayesha Umar
Greenpeace Toronto Local Group Volunteer

I am struggling. Struggling to choose between keep living in Toronto or moving to a safer city. A city where OPG is not exposing millions of people to the risks of nuclear accidents like Torontonians are.

Being a mother of a nine years old and volunteer at Greenpeace, I want Torontonians to thrive and not to get displaced. I do not want major nuclear accidents like Fukushima, Chernobyl, and Three Mile Island to happen in Toronto and ruin lives of millions. For example, several studies have shown an elevated risk of developing types of cancers among the survivors of Fukushima and Chernobyl disasters.[1] I do not want this to happen to Torontonians. Moreover, I do not want nuclear waste contaminating the drinking water, ecosystems and food supply chains.

Ironically, the Wynne government has turned a blind eye to all the threats associated with nuclear energy.  It’s allowed OPG to operate Pickering nuclear reactors beyond its original design life.  Pickering is one of North America’s oldest and most expensive nuclear reactors

How?  

Well, Pickering station has lived it’s designed life. Moreover, it is producing surplus electricity which the province does not need and that gets exported to Michigan at a loss.[2]

Strange, isn’t it?

The provincial government is spending money on producing surplus electricity, creating nuclear waste and contamination of drinking water etc. instead of committing to 100% renewable energy resources. It is a clear indication of a broken system. A system that allows nuclear reactors which are only 30km from downtown Toronto to run but stops from building a wind turbine within 500 metres of someone’s house.

The cherry on the top?

The provincial government continues to be friends with nuclear industry and just like any other loyal friend does not want to discuss nuclear emergency response or strengthening of the public safety. Consequently, the policy for public safety has not been strengthened. In other words, unlike Switzerland, where government is planning to protect her citizens by expanding emergency zones, preparing for large-scale evacuations, and long-term care of the evacuees as well. In Ontario, the provincial government has refused to listen to the concerns of the city of Toronto.

All this is unacceptable.

I believe that the government should reconsider its attitude towards public safety and nuclear energy. It has a responsibility towards its citizens. On June 8th, we will be given the chance to elect the new provincial government. It is an opportune time for us all to come together and demand the Liberals, Conservatives, NDP and Greens to commit to shutting down Pickering.

Join us and stop OPG from getting a permission to run Pickering nuclear station and exposing millions of Torontonians to the risk of nuclear accident.

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If you'd like to help, let us know here: http://bit.ly/2Df0Sso

Learn more about Greenpeace's work to stop the expansion of nuclear power in Canada. 

Join the Don't Nuke TO group on Greenwire to get campaign updates and connect with other Greenpeace volunteers and staff taking action in the GTA.

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[1] Yamashita S, Suzuki S, Suzuki S,  Shimura H, Saenko V. (2018). Lessons from Fukushima: Latest Findings of Thyroid Cancer After the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant Accident. Thyroid, Vol.28(1):11-22.

 

[2] Spears, J. (2012 May 15). Pickering nuclear units among the most expensive, least reliable in the world. Retrieved https://www.thestar.com/business/2012/05/15/pickering_nuclear_units_amon...