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Billions budgeted for Darlington refurbishment

Province allocates $12.8B for 10-year project at nuclear plant

darlingtonBy Graeme McNaughton/The Oshawa Express

The nuclear plant that provides much of Oshawa’s power has secured a large windfall of money that will see it refurbished over the next decade.

The province has announced that the Darlington Generating Station in Clarington will be receiving $12.8 billion over the next 10 years to refurbish the plant’s four nuclear reactors.

As well, the province has announced that the Pickering nuclear station will now be open until 2024, four years longer than originally planned, in order to accommodate the demand for power. The province says this plan will save approximately $600 million compared to switching over to other power sources gas-powered plants and importing power.

“Proceeding with the refurbishment at Darlington will ensure that nuclear continues to be Ontario’s single largest source of power,” Bob Chiarelli, the province’s energy minister, states in a news release. “The Darlington refurbishment project will create up to 11,800 jobs annually and contribute $15 billion to Ontario’s GDP. Continuing operations at Pickering will protect 4,500 jobs across the Durham region, provide emissions-free electricity, and save Ontario electricity consumers up to $600 million.”

Work on the site is expected to begin in October.

As it stands, about half of Oshawa’s power comes from Darlington, although the head of the city’s power utility says it isn’t up to them where it comes from.

“The reality is that from an Oshawa power perspective, we don’t really have any control over that decision,” Atul Mahajan, the president and CEO of Oshawa PUC, tells The Oshawa Express. “We don’t really have any control over that or any influence on that. We are price takers in that case. We get that price, and then we have control over how we distribute power…to residents on our wires and infrastructure like transformers and so on.”