By Hamish Johnston
Summer can be a miserable time in Toronto. It can get very hot and humid, causing folks to turn up their air conditioning, which in turn puts the region’s coal-fired generating plants into overdrive blanketing the city in a sickly yellow smog that can harm those with breathing difficulties.
As a result, local utilities have begun to shut down aging coal-fired plants in an attempt to improve air quality — but leaving some wondering where the city and surrounding province of Ontario will get its electricity.
Now, Ontario’s Minister for Energy Gerry Phillips has given the go ahead for two new nuclear reactors to be built at the Darlington generating plant just east of the city, which is already home to four reactors. These are the first power reactors to be built in Canada in over 15 years.
According to the Toronto Star, the reactors will come online in 2018 and the design will be chosen in November from a short list of three firms: Atomic Energy of Canada; US-based Westinghouse; and Areva of France.
The reactors are expected to generate about 3200 MW of power, which will double Darlington’s current capacity.
The move is part of Ontario’s CDN$26 billion plan to maintain its current nuclear capacity of 14,000 MW through a series of upgrades over the next 20 years.
Darlington is located in a part of Ontario that has been hard hit by lay-offs in the automotive industry, so Phillips may be hoping that the promise of 3500 new jobs will offset the concerns of environmentalists.