82% in Ontario Poll Support Quebec Hydro Imports Over Pickering Nuclear
Nearly six in 10 residents in the Ontario communities of Pickering, Ajax, and Scarborough oppose the plan to keep the aging Pickering nuclear generating station in operation through 2024—and 82% prefer to import hydro-generated electricity from Quebec as long as that option is less expensive, according to polling released yesterday by the Ontario Clean Air Alliance.
“By a ratio of almost 2:1, residents in these areas said they do not want to see the 46-year-old plant continue operating for another six years,” Alliance Outreach Director Angela Bischoff states in a release. “When told that Ontario has been offered power by Quebec at a cost that is roughly two-thirds of Pickering’s operating costs, support for closing the aging plant became overwhelming: 82% of those polled thought it made more sense to import power from Quebec than to keep Pickering running.”
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The idea of replacing Pickering with a cleaner, less expensive alternative won the support of 100% of the area’s Green Party supporters, 90% of New Democrats, 86% of Liberals, and 71% of Progressive Conservatives. With 89% support for closing Pickering in the 18- to 34-year-old age group, Bischoff notes, “a legacy of radioactive waste and more debt is unappealing to a generation that well understands the power of renewable technologies.”
The poll by Sudbury-based Oracle research, which carried a 4.4% error margin 19 times out of 20, found that 59% of respondents opposed or strongly opposed extending Pickering’s operating licence to 2024, as Ontario Power Generation has proposed. Only 35% supported or strongly supported the notion. The numbers shifted drastically when poll respondents were presented with a cost comparison between nuclear-generated electricity and imported power from existing hydro stations in Quebec.