Jamie Swift and Keith Stewart's piece on the 100th
anniversary of Ontario Hydro (April/May 2006) made good
reading before lapsing into contemporary editorial. Several
jabs are made at nuclear technology, whereas I'm sure that
Sir Adam Beck would have been pleased to see this clean,
cost-effective, almost limitless source of "public power"
pioneered in Ontario as his legacy.
Interestingly, the claim that "cost overruns [of Ontario's
reactors] dwarfed those of the Beck station at Niagara" is
contradicted by the photo caption claiming that the Beck
station cost "four times its original estimate". The poster
child for nuclear cost overruns (Darlington, near Toronto)
almost doubled its projected cost of $7.5 billion made at the
start of construction, and almost tripled an earlier estimate
made at the time the gov't committed to the project - hardly
The lesson is that major projects sometimes overspend, often
(as with Darlington) due to political factors unrelated to
the technology. Sir Adam Beck would agree that what really
matters is efficient performance, as intended, for years
afterward - the case with both the Niagara and Darlington stations.
The article concludes with a curious statement that
"conservation has no physical limit". While this statement
is demonstrably false for conservation (the limit is zero),
it is effectively true for uranium since it offers thousands
of years of energy using advanced reactor technology.
Perhaps the biggest advantage citizens have today, not
available in Beck's time, is diversity of options.
To the Editor,