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CNFO holds Darlington protest

Hamish Wilson — July 1984

The June rally against the continued construdtion of the Darlington nuclear power plant and the civil disobedience action at Ontario Hydro headquarters on University Ave. were coordinated by the Campaign for a Nuclear-Free Ontario. The CNFO is a coalition of peace, environmental, and safe energy groups.
As a result of its broad support, the Campaign has developed a comprehensive approach to the nuclear issues, emphasizing Ontario’s contribution to the arms race.

CNFO feels that stopping the Darlington station is the first step in creating a Nuclear-Free Ontario. This station is regarded as being unnecessary and the key to the continued existence of a nuclear power industry. The CNFO also wants Darlington stoppedto prevent the creation of an additional 60,000 kilograms of plutonium (the equivalent of 6,000 bombs) during the course of its 40-year deisgned lifetime.

Those who spoke at the rally included Mike Breaugh MPP, Margaret Boake-Hancock, Lisa Chipps-Sawyer, Norm Rubin and Dave Martin. Norm Rubin of Energy Probe emphasized the lack of a real need for Darlington, its expense and the general lack of support it has in Ontario. Rubin warned of a direct connection between nuclear power and the arms race coming from the possible separation and export of tritium from Hydro’s reactors for use in renewing atomic warheads, and urged greater eductional activity.

Outreach was attempted at the rally as well, although those passing by were not always receptive or interested in the issues involved. Somewhat heated discussions did take place between anti-nuclear people and local residents. The people in the area were quite concerned about the jobs and economic benefits of Darlington and tended to see the energy questions involved as being a choice between nuclear power or acid rain.

The rally was attended by approximately 600 people, from Guelph, Hamilton, Peterborough, Ottawa and Toronto.

The civil disobedience action at Ontario Hydro headquarters was in some ways more successful than the rally. Approximately 30 people protested at Hydro by blocking the main revolving door and occupying the main lobby. Some people attempted to meet with Hydro Chairman Milan Nastich and others attempted to leaflet internal Hydro employees but were prevented from doing so. By the end of the day, all involved were charged with trespassing and the building was cleared. These protests were well reported in the mainstream media.

It is likely that the Campaign for a Nuclear-Free Ontario will continue operations beyond these initial events. Dave Martin of CNFO hopes that the coalition can “make an impact on the electoral process” as he feels Darlington has “big scandal potential.”