Tories, NDP blast Bruce cost overruns

TORONTO, ONTARIO - The $300 million cost overrun in the Bruce nuclear station refurbishment is an indictment of the Liberal government's energy plan, critics warn.

In the wake of recent revelations in the Star that the price tag for overhauling two reactors near Lake Huron is rising, the opposition parties expressed alarm.

So far, what had been proposed as a $2.75 billion project is now expected to top $3 billion with electricity consumers footing about $150 million of the additional costs.

Progressive Conservative Leader John Tory said he doesn't buy Energy Minister Gerry Phillips's explanation for why the project is already 10 per cent over budget when it's just over half completed.

"I see the minister says the reason for the cost overrun is in part because they decided to speed up the process. I think when you see the government acknowledging that their timetable... is responsible it indicates what I've said all along: These people have no plan for energy," said Tory.

"They're dithering on decisions they should be making faster. They're speeding things up that cost the taxpayers and others a lot more and they have no plan," said Tory, who supports nuclear power, which accounts for about half of Ontario's electricity.

NDP Leader Howard Hampton, who opposes any expansion of Ontario's nuclear capacity, said the Bruce debacle is "another example that (the) Liberal electricity plan of ‘go nuclear, go big’ means ‘go very expensive.’"

"There will be more cost overruns at the Bruce. This is not the end. This is the beginning," said Hampton. "Ten per cent at this stage is quickly going to grow to 20 or 30 per cent by the end of this contract."



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