WTF? Up from $1.1B? Heads need to roll.
Pickering executives fired
Cost of reviving reactor estimated at $4 billion
The Ontario government moved swiftly to take control of the province's giant electricity generating utility today, firing its top three executives, after a report blamed senior managers for botching the restoration of the Pickering nuclear plant.
There was no decision on whether the province would go ahead with efforts to restart the plant, a project the report's authors estimate will likely cost $4 billion.
"It is a horrible mess," said Energy Minister Dwight Duncan.
Duncan, who blamed the previous Conservative government for failing to properly oversee Ontario Power Generation, said he had no choice but to fire the three executives. The project has driven up electricity prices in Ontario and shaken public faith in nuclear power, he said.
The government-commissioned review estimated the cost of restoring service at the Pickering A plant at almost three billion higher than the original estimated cost of $1.1 billion.
It could take until August 2008 to get all four units running at the plant just east of Toronto, the report found. That's almost eight years longer than originally scheduled.
"The facts of this report are in the panel's words alarming," said Duncan.
"The findings point to mismanagement of one of Ontario's most important energy assets."
In May, former Tory energy minister John Baird appointed Jake Epp - a former federal energy minister - to investigate the years of delays and hundreds of millions of dollars in cost overruns in getting the nuclear reactors back online.
The review was partly a response to soaring electricity prices in Ontario after a period of tight supply.
Four units at Pickering A were taken offline in 1997 for safety reasons. Repeated deadlines to get them running again were missed and the project is now almost four years behind schedule.
Only one of the four units has returned to full service and that has happened only in the last couple of months. The cost for the lone unit was $1.25 billion, almost triple the $457 million originally estimated.
Epp blamed OPG management for failing to ensure the project stayed on track.
"We also found that management of the project was seriously flawed," said Epp.
"Well established industry practices and steps for carrying out a project of this size and complexity were not followed."