Bruce Power: Information sessions to utilize inferior open house format; online presentation doesn’t appear to mesh with feasibility study
The drive to convince residents in central
The Ontario-based private nuclear generating company took out full-page ads in the Prince Albert Daily Herald on Feb. 14 and Mar. 7 with the most recent one offering what appears to be a free meal to anyone willing to come out and listen to its spiel.
“We want to give you an update of our plans and get your feedback at our upcoming Community Information Sessions,” the ad states.
The company is planning three sessions: March 18 at the Travelodge in
Those wanting more information were asked to visit Bruce Power’s website or contact the
According to its website Golder is an international group of companies that provides ground engineering and environmental consulting services in support of environmental, industrial, natural resources, health, and civil engineering projects. Golder’s 2006 annual report states that Bruce Power is a client and that the firm has conducted several environmental assessments for the company. The firm’s work for Bruce Power included creating a “communications strategy” for local First Nations and community at large that involved open houses, workshops, newsletters, direct mail and library materials.
Golder is also a contributor to the Saskatchewan Party. Since 2004 the company has donated $4,719.92 to the political party.
In response to a request for additional information Golder staff said on Mar. 9 that the upcoming information sessions will be “an open house format. There will be displays set up showing the current status of the project and representatives from Bruce Power available to answer any questions” that the public might have.
Unfortunately, open houses can be inferior to town hall meetings where the public can ask questions or make comments and everyone attending can hear what’s being said including the answers. At an open house discussions are generally scattered around a room and isolated involving only a few individuals at a time with people coming and going throughout. This format favours Bruce Power since any troubling questions or concerns would be confined to a few people.
It wouldn’t be at all surprising if some time down the road Bruce Power started waving around the results of its open houses saying that public support for nuclear power in
Bruce Power might also want to make a point of attending meetings sponsored by others. The Meridian Booster reported on a meeting held in Paradise Hill near
On Feb. 26, CBC News reported that Bruce Power representatives have been approaching some farmers in the Rural Municipality of Britannia, northeast of
According to the CBC, Bruce Power spokesperson Steve Cannon said no land has been purchased and no options have been signed.
Cannon says the company has been speaking to many land owners in the province, including some in
He said the company is trying to educate landowners about nuclear power.
“Our approach has always been to really be up-front with landowners, tell them who we are and why we’re asking questions,” Cannon said. “It’s all just part of the process of trying to narrow it down to a site selection where we can someday conduct a full environmental assessment.” [Debate over nuclear power warms up in
We can only imagine what Bruce Power are telling people as they “educate” them about nuclear power. If the full-page ads in local newspapers are any indication it’s all about jobs and the boatloads of money that can be made.
At least one Saskatchewan Conservative MP is on board and officials from the affected communities have visited the Bruce plant in
In the Meridian Booster earlier this year Battlefords–Lloydminster MP Gerry Ritz lashed out at critics of nuclear power saying, “I think it’s a tremendous opportunity for
Ritz’s past eneavours listed on his website include sales, co-ownership of a community newspaper, general contracting as well as grain and ostrich farming. No sign of a scientific background here.
Apparently Ritz is unaware of the numerous fact based columns and op-eds on the pitfalls of nuclear power that have appeared in The StarPhoenix over the years by environmental columnist Paul Hanley and Dr. Jim Harding, a retired professor of environmental and justice studies at the University of Regina in Saskatchewan.
The Meridian Booster reported a few months ago that civic officials from
“We went down there to get information, because we knew there would be a lot of questions,” said Lloydminster Mayor Ken Baker. [A glimpse into our nuclear future? (Meridian Booster)]
This was long before Bruce Power’s feasibility study was released. It’s clear that part of the company’s strategy was to get local leaders on side as early as possible.
Bruce Power recently posted a presentation on its website outlining highlights of the feasibility study it released in
Similar to the newspaper ads the presentation completely avoids any discussion about the massive costs associated with building a nuclear reactor or the cost to taxpayers for infrastructure upgrades, cost overruns, refurbishing and decommissioning.
Comments made recently by Crown Investments Corporation Minister Ken Cheveldayoff regarding upgrades should be raising red flags but so far haven’t.
When Bruce Power presented its feasibility study on Nov. 27, The StarPhoenix reported Cheveldayoff telling reporters after that news conference that “SaskPower spends right now between $400 and $500 million on capital upgrades (in an average year); part of that will be towards the grid and we see that amount increasing in the future.” [Firm touts nuclear plant (StarPhoenix, Nov. 28, 2008)]
Then on Mar. 5 the CBC reported Cheveldayoff saying that “we’re looking at a capital expenditure of nearly $1 billion in each of the next four years in SaskPower.” [No rebates from $185-million Crown dividend,
It appears that SaskPower’s capital expenditures could be doubling and no one is asking any questions.
Bruce Power is no stranger to cost overruns. In the op-ed Public cost of nuclear power high (StarPhoenix, Mar. 6, 2009) Jim Harding points out that, “In
“After that, they pay one-quarter of overruns. What a deal: a private corporation gets to profit by using the public grid, while it’s guaranteed public backing for going over-budget. Bruce already has raised the possibility of a partnership with the Saskatchewan Party government and/or SaskPower for its guesstimated $10-billion project and there’s no reason to believe economic risks similar to
It’s a good bet that folks enjoying the free meal at the upcoming Bruce Power information sessions won’t hear any of this.
Bruce Power notes the following in its online presentation:
[In the legislature on Dec. 1 Enterprise and Innovation Minister Lyle Stewart said “All options could be on the table supposing we ever get to the stage of building anything . . . right from CIC doing it, a CIC-government partnership, a CIC-private sector partnership, a design-operate-build by the private sector or any combination of those possibilities.”
Outside the chamber, Stewart said he personally favours the private sector being responsible for the project.
Stewart also said Bruce Power is “open to anything,” but the only model he’s discussed with them would see them design, build, own and operate the nuclear reactors. [CIC could have nuclear role (StarPhoenix, Dec. 2, 2008)]
Judging by the presentation it would appear that Bruce Power intends build and operate the plant.]
Work force: “Since the project would create many jobs some relocation and training of workers would be needed, however, we want to build a power plant in a place where the population and community services can support it.”
[Relocate from where? The feasibility study doesn’t mention relocation or training.]
[SaskPower isn’t mentioned in the feasibility study. The report only states: “In addition to supporting
[Bruce Power released this polling information in an Aug. 6, 2008 update. The same report indicated that “people in Saskatchewan overwhelmingly support the use of wind (94%) and solar (95%)” and “The top five reasons for opposing nuclear include concerns such as: safety, environmental impacts, health, waste and a general opposition to the technology.” The company’s newspaper ads and website presentation don’t include these items.]
[Bruce Power appears to be monkeying around with its numbers. In the feasibility study the company said that, “During site preparation and construction the project would contribute about $4 billion to the provincial economy, including $1.4 billion in labour income.” The presentation, however, states that during the 10 year construction phase the project would contribute $5.1 billion to the province’s GDP and $2.2 billion in total labour income. The feasibility study states that the project will contribute almost $240 million annually to the provincial economy when the plant is operating. Yet the presentation says $443 million annually for sixty years. Which is it?]
[In the column Nuclear power costly, no friend of environment (StarPhoenix, Dec. 2, 2008) Paul Hanley noted that “the most significant finding of Bruce Power’s Feasibility Study for a nuclear power plant in the province” is that it “would not result in the reduction of
“As indicated in a graph included in the study, even after spending up to $10 billion on nuclear power,
“Even if we spend billions on nuclear power, the economy and energy use will continue to grow -- emitting more GHGs -- faster than the alternative nuclear power sources can replace them. This underscores the ineffectiveness of capital-intensive, high-cost climate strategies that involve nuclear power and clean coal.”]
[The Saskatchewan Party government has repeatedly stated that no firm decision has been made on moving forward with a nuclear power plant, but you wouldn’t guess that after reading some of the statements that have been made by government officials over the last few months.]