Deputy PM says Pickering Nuclear Plant will help Canada become an “energy super power”

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Published April 21, 2023 at 8:40 am

The road to net zero and a Canada’s clean energy future doesn’t happen without nuclear power, said the country’s Finance Minister and Deputy Prime Minister at a surprise appearance at the Pickering Nuclear Generating Station Thursday.

“Clean and reliable nuclear power will play a very important role in our clean energy future, especially here in Ontario,” Chrystia Freeland told an assembled group of Ontario Power Generation executives, workers and media. “I have never been more optimistic about our future than I am today.”

The ageing Pickering nuclear plant was slated for the wrecking ball until a campaign to refurbish the facility won the government’s heart last year and Freeland now believes nuclear plants like Pickering give Canada a “competitive advantage” in the global clean energy future.

The switch from fossil fuels to clean energy like nuclear power, she noted, will be “the biggest transformation the world has seen since the industrial revolution itself” and Canada will get its “fair share” of the economic benefits the transformation will bring.

“Our government is absolutely committed to Canada being successful in this industrial evolution,” Freeland said after a tour of the facility. “A big part of the plan is making Canada an energy superpower.”

Freeland’s words were music to the ears of Dr. Chris Keefer, the President of Canadians for Nuclear Energy, who was one of the biggest players in convincing the federal government to agree to a major refurbishment of the Pickering plant last year. Keefer blitzed Parliament Hill last fall. managing to bend the ear of Freeland and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in the process.

He said the Finance Minister’s speech was a major turnaround from Ottawa’s not-so-distant views of nuclear energy.

“A bold move signalling the sea change in attitudes towards nuclear power from this federal government,” Keefer said.

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