makes bid for Ontario nuclear plant
TORONTO - One of Canada's largest nuclear power plants may
be about to change hands. Troubled power giant British Energy
wants out of its lease of Ontario's Bruce nuclear power
station on the shores of Lake Huron.
On Monday, a consortium of three Canadian companies,
with help from unions at the plant, announced a $770-million
plan to take control of Bruce Power.
The provincial government hopes the buyout will help ease
power shortages in Ontario and lead to lower electricity
last month the Ontario government backtracked and froze
electricity prices after trying to deregulate the electricity
market. Those attempts saw prices soar for Ontario consumers,
as well as bringing warnings of blackouts.
British Energy, the company that leases and runs the Bruce
nuclear station, announced it was in serious financial
trouble. After months of uncertainty, three Canadian companies,
with support from employees, announced a deal to buy out
Energy Minister John Baird called the announcement good
news for electricity customers. Baird says the deal will
end uncertainty at Bruce and will see two nuclear reactors,
currently sitting idle, brought back on line.
Power is confident that they'll be able to get these two
reactors up and running next year to meet our growing
demand for electricity, and that'll be good news for consumers
because it will keep the price low."
Adams of the advocacy group Energy Probe says a greater
supply is a good thing. But he worries the companies aiming
to take over the Bruce plant Cameco, TransCanada
Pipelines, and the Ontario Municipal Employees Retirement
Fund have no experience running nuclear plants.
Adams says the companies simply "are not competent."
McIntyre of Cameco, says the buyout will only affect financial
control. The management and staff licensed to run Bruce
Power will remain the same.
the owners are bringing to the table is the financial
security that's required for the Bruce Power partnership
to move forward. The operational structure of the stations
is essentially exactly the same as it was before."
deal still faces a number of hurdles and ultimately must
be approved by the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission.
The consortium hopes that will happen by mid-February.