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Falling demand for electricity, sky-high cost projections, a catastrophic meltdown in Japan and a dedicated resistance to nuclear expansion have contributed to tough times for advocates of new and rebuilt nuclear reactors in Ontario.
The latest punch in the gut for nuclear proponents in the province comes from a May 14 Federal Court decision to nullify the approval of up to four new reactors at Darlington Station, about 60km east of Toronto.
Today marks two years since the beginning of the nuclear disaster at Fukushima. Put numerically, it's two years since three reactors melted down, causing an estimated $200 billion plus in damages, and forcing the displacement of more than 160,000 people previously living in the now state designated 'evacuation zone.'
It's important to note that additional thousands evacuated the region surrounding Fukushima amid health and economic concerns, though as far as compensation goes, they're marked as "volunteers" and thus, undeserving of recompense.
Public hearings in London, Ontario for Enbridge's proposed reversal of the Line 9 pipeline had barely begun Wednesday when more than a dozen protesters, including members of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy, quickly shut down the proceedings.
Within moments of the disruption, the National Energy Board (NEB) panel and the representatives from Enbridge exited the room through the Hilton London staff doors.
Using the people's mic tactic, the demonstrators challenged the hearings for "failing to consider the impacts of tar sands expansion and all the treaties being breached by this proposed pipeline reversal."
No 'free, prior and informed consent' for Enbridge
This week the Yinka Dene Alliance and their supporters will pay a visit to Enbridge's annual shareholders meeting, which will be held Wednesday, May 9 in downtown Toronto.
The energy giant's shareholder meeting is the final stop of the Freedom Train 2012 tour, which has seen the alliance travel from their traditional territories in northern British Columbia across Canada to oppose Enbridge's proposed Northern Gateway Pipeline. The campaigning tour, which began on April 30, has stopped in Jasper, Edmonton, Saskatoon and Winnipeg, holding rallies at each of these stops.
Along with Enbridge, Harper government refuses to hear 'no'
On Wednesday morning, as part of Toronto-based anti-nuke group DONT NUKE TO!, I commemorated the anniversary of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster by unfurling an enormous stop sign banner in the middle of the intersection of Yonge and Dundas in the centre of Toronto.
I was in the intersection of Yonge and Dundas simply because I'm 27 years old and I've been alive for four nuclear meltdowns -- unit 4 at Chernobyl, and units 1, 2, and 3 at Fukushima Daiichi.
With so many eyes on the proposed Northern Gateway Pipeline in northern B.C., Enbridge’s other currently proposed pipeline project -- the reversal of Line 9 between Sarnia and Westover in Ontario -- has been slightly in the shadows.
According to Enbridge, the existing pipeline has a capacity to pump 240,000 barrels of conventional oil per day, westbound from Montreal to Sarnia. On August 8, 2011, the company filed an application with the National Energy Board (NEB) to reverse the flow of the section between Sarnia and North Westover.
At the end of March, the Ontario Liberals received their two-year review of the Feed-In Tariff Program (FIT). The FIT was a component of 2009's Green Energy Act that aimed to procure renewable energy at a fixed, contracted rate that would both spur the renewable energy sector in the province and facilitate the shutdown of coal power generation.
Part 1 of Pushing back on the nuclear path outlined three post-Fukushima nuclear battles in Ontario. They were the campaigns to stop the construction of two new reactors at Darlington Station, the life extension of 10 more reactors in Ontario, and efforts to prevent economically desperate communities in Northern Ontario from becoming dumping grounds for Canada's radioactive waste.
In this final part, we're headed to Eastern Canada to outline the ongoing efforts to oppose nuclear in Quebec and New Brunswick.
Point Lepreau: Down the re-furbishment rabbit hole
Being true to my inner technology geek, I have compulsively followed energy issues for years. Energy discourse is not for everyone, however. I've realized this the socially awkward way by bringing up Ontario's electricity future in casual conversation at house parties.
But with the recent one-year anniversary of the ongoing Fukushima nuclear disaster, forecasts abound on the prospects of nuke power surviving yet another devastating public relations catastrophe. However, in all these stories about nuclear meltdowns and the future of nuclear energy, I was struck by a significant gap: where is the Canadian content?