Society of Energy Professionals

Society of Energy Professionals

March 17, 2011 19:11 ET

Energy Professionals: Ontario's nuclear facilities among the safest

Attention: Assignment Editor, Business/Financial Editor, Energy Editor, News Editor, Tech/Telecomm Editor TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - March 17, 2011) - Leaders of the Society of Energy Professionals extended their sympathies and condolences to all harmed by the recent earthquake and tsunami in Japan.

"We want our brothers and sisters in the Japanese nuclear industry to know that we stand in solidarity with them as they risk their lives in unimaginable conditions to bring the situation to a safe conclusion," said Society President Rod Sheppard. "These workers are heroes."

Sheppard paid tribute to the Fukushima workers in the midst of the current emergency. "As workers in the nuclear industry, we better than most are able to understand what they're going through, and we send them our best wishes."

The Society will donate at least $25,000 to the relief effort in Japan, he said.

Sheppard also addressed rampant speculation that a similar event could occur in Ontario. The most important difference, he said, is that Ontario doesn't sit on the "ring of fire," like Japan does, and seismic activity is much milder. Also, there's "zero chance" of a tsunami occurring in Lakes Ontario or Huron.

"I can say without hesitation that Ontario's fleet of nuclear reactors are among the safest in the world," said Sheppard. "As the people who work at these facilities we have a vested interest in ensuring our work environment is as safe as possible."

"We are an internal, independent safety watchdog," said Ron Boss, a control room supervisor at Pickering Nuclear Generating Station. "We take our safety responsibilities very seriously, because not only are we the first people in harm's way, but many of our families live in close proximity to the stations."

Sheppard says the Society presumes the Fukushima incidents will be heavily reviewed, and the nuclear industry around the world will learn from it and improve. He noted there have been calls to conduct a public review, which he said the Society would also welcome. He said, however, that the government of Ontario should not pause in its plans to refurbish Darlington Nuclear Generating Station and build new units there.

"There's a very long lead time before you get a nuclear generation station built," he said. "There'll be more than enough time to have reviews, even public ones, but 'pausing' the refurbishment and new-build procedures will delay what will undoubtedly amount to improvements to nuclear safety in Ontario."

The Society of Energy Professionals represents more than 8,300 engineers, telecommunications and information technology professionals, scientists, supervisors, and others who for generations have designed, built, operated, and helped safeguard Ontario's vast electricity system. Originally formed in 1948, these women and men manage Ontario's electricity system and ensure power is there when needed, reliably and safely. The Society's members work for Ontario Power Generation, Hydro One, Bruce Power, the IESO, the OEB, the ESA and other key electricity sector employers. /For further information: please contact Brian Robinson at (416) 716-6438/ IN: ENERGY, LABOUR, TELECOMM

Contact Information

  • Brian Robinson, Communications Officer, Society of Energy Professionals
    Primary Phone: 416-716-6438
    E-mail: brian@thesociety.ca