Pickering to Darlington Nuclear Awareness Ride

This ride is intended to raise awareness about the issues surrounding the nuclear power plants in Durham Region.  Fission is an outdated, dirty, exorbitantly expensive, and extremely risky type of electricity production.  There are many alternatives available that are much cleaner, a fraction of the cost, and essentially free of catastrophic risks.  Since the Fukushima disaster last year, Germany, Belgium, Switzerland, Japan, and Quebec have all decided to abandon nuclear power, and the world's renewable energy production is growing rapidly.

A disaster at Pickering or Darlington would result in epic devastation to Toronto, Lake Ontario (the source of our drinking water), and the Canadian economy.  Despite overwhelming evidence that nuclear power plants need to be decommissioned as soon as possible, the Ontario government has been pressured by the nuclear industry to continue running Darlington until 2055.  The cost of the refurbishment is now estimated at over thirty-six billion dollars, and we still haven't finished paying off the cost of Darlington's original construction, which was over twenty years ago.  The good news for our safety and electricity bills is that we still have time to stop Darlington, but we need to speak up and educate our public officials before it's too late.

 

This is a free ride that will feature experts on the subject and possibly buttons for everyone who attends.  It's a ride intended for all types of bicycles and riding abilities.  There will be places to rest, refill water bottles, and/or purchase food along the way.  The idea is that this will be a comfortable and achievable ride where people can learn about the issues while enjoying the autumn scenery, the experience, and the camaraderie.

 

This ride has multiple distance options available:

42 kilometres: Whitby rest stop to Darlington to Oshawa GO Station
62 kilometres: Pickering GO Station to Darlington to Oshawa GO Station
90 kilometres: Pickering GO Station to Darlington and back

RSVP with the distance option that you'd prefer.

 

The itinerary will be as follows:

09:00: meet at Pickering GO Station
09:30: depart Pickering GO Station
11:30: meet at Whitby rest stop
14:00: arrive at Darlington
15:30: arrive at Oshawa GO Station
18:00: arrive at Pickering GO Station

 

-----BEGIN PICKERING DIRECTIONS-----
Most attendees will probably take the GO Transit train from Toronto to Pickering GO Station.  Here's the train schedule and the fares for adult single-ride tickets:

08:00: depart Exhibition GO Station @ $6.55
08:13: depart Union Station @ $6.55
08:23: depart Danforth GO Station @ $5.50
08:29: depart Scarborough GO Station @ $5.50
08:33: depart Eglinton GO Station @ $5.50
08:37: depart Guildwood GO Station @ $4.70
08:42: depart Rouge Hill GO Station @ $4.70
08:49: arrive at Pickering GO Station

When you get off the train in Pickering, go down the stairs and through the tunnel that leads to the South parking lot.  Do not use the bridge over Highway 401 because that is the wrong way.  We'll meet in front of the ticket building, which is equipped with bathrooms and a drinking fountain.
-----END PICKERING DIRECTIONS-----

 

-----BEGIN WHITBY DIRECTIONS-----
The rest stop in Whitby will be the field that's immediately North of the Port Whitby boat ramp:

http://maps.google.ca/maps?q=43.8564,+-78.9404

For anyone meeting us at the rest stop in Whitby, here's your GO Transit train schedule and the fares for adult single-ride tickets:

10:00: depart Exhibition GO Station @ $7.95
10:13: depart Union Station @ $7.95
10:23: depart Danforth GO Station @ $6.85
10:29: depart Scarborough GO Station @ $6.85
10:33: depart Eglinton GO Station @ $6.85
10:37: depart Guildwood GO Station @ $6.05
10:42: depart Rouge Hill GO Station @ $6.05
11:01: arrive at Whitby GO Station

When you get off the train in Whitby, go West to Henry Street.  Ride South about half a kilometre on Henry Street toward Lake Ontario, and the street name will change to Watson Street when you cross Victoria Street. Turn West (right) through the yellow gates onto the paved Waterfront Trail path that's just North of the marina, and then take the path South-West to the Port Whitby boat ramp.
-----END WHITBY DIRECTIONS-----

 

If you are taking GO Transit from somewhere else, please visit the GO Transit website for schedules and fares:

http://www.gotransit.ca/

 

Starting at Pickering GO Station, we'll ride about 2 kilometres South down Liverpool Road to the Waterfront Trail.  From there, we'll ride the official Waterfront Trail East to Whitby, where we'll meet anyone who wishes to join us at the rest stop.  After that, we'll continue East to Darlington, and then back.  It's a scenic route that we have travelled many times, and we know it well.

There are a few difficult hills where some riders may have to dismount and walk, but other than that, it's a relatively easy ride.  The only exception is a treacherous 1.4 kilometre stretch in Whitby's West end where people with narrow tires may need to walk due to deplorably rough surface conditions.

We probably won't go any faster than 15 kilometres per hour.  Including breaks, this ride will probably take about six hours.

 

Here's the return GO Transit train schedule and the fares for adult single-ride tickets from Oshawa:

18:41: depart Oshawa GO Station
18:47: arrive at Whitby GO Station @ $4.50
19:00: arrive at Pickering GO Station @ $5.65
19:07: arrive at Rouge Hill GO Station @ $6.70
19:13: arrive at Guildwood GO Station @ $6.75
19:18: arrive at Eglinton GO Station @ $7.55
19:22: arrive at Scarborough GO Station @ $7.55
19:27: arrive at Danforth GO Station @ $7.55
19:40: arrive at Union Station @ $8.65
19:49: arrive at Exhibition GO Station @ $8.65

If we finish early, there are earlier trains at 17:41, 16:41, and other earlier times.  There are later trains every hour too, with the last train of the night departing Oshawa at 23:41.

 

Everyone is responsible for supplying their own bicycles, helmets, sunscreen, food, water, transit tickets/money, mobile telephones, insurance, et cetera.  There will be a few places to fill up on water and purchase food along the way, so if you deplete your supplies, you'll have opportunities to replenish.

 

If there are any questions, please feel free to ask. For more information about the hazards of Darlington, please visit the Stop Darlington website:

http://www.stopdarlington.org/

 

-- A.J.

Join or login to comment.

  • A.J.

    Autumn colours, many deer, dry conditions, and a good tailwind made this fun ride.

    October 21, 2012

  • A former member
    A former member

    2) a closed loop cooling system such as a cooling tower add more cost and reduces slightly the thermodynamic efficiency due to a slightly hotter condenser temperature. It all depends where you want to put your money.

    October 12, 2012

    • A.J.

      It does indeed cost more to set up closed-cycle cooling, but at least it doesn't cause the problems associated with once-through cooling. It's kind of like how recycling facilities generally cost more than landfill sites, but we pay for them anyway.

      October 12, 2012

  • A former member
    A former member

    You will likely detect more radiation in your basement due to the natural presence radon than in the lake

    October 12, 2012

    • A.J.

      Maybe so, but ambient radiation levels are still higher in communities that are located near nuclear power plants than in communities that are further away. Try using a Geiger counter on the grass in a Mississauga park, and then compare it to the grass in a Pickering park. Now that I think about it, this actually sounds like a fun idea for a ride.

      October 12, 2012

  • A former member
    A former member

    3) you are correct; however you are making it sound like these plants are just dumping waste into the water. Just to add some perspective, tritium emmisions are below legal limits. Tritium is a low energy beta emitter whose energy can easily be stopped by the lake water. Over time tritium will decay. The minute amount of tritium release is safe and will decay over time.

    October 12, 2012

    • A.J.

      I'm sure they're not dumping waste into the water deliberately, but it is happening nonetheless. Their tritium emissions may be below the legal limit, but the legal limit is dozens of times higher than the amount that occurs naturally.

      October 12, 2012

    • A.J.

      Lake Ontario's water isn't stationary, so contaminants like tritium can be expected to flow elsewhere. Tritium has a half-life of over twelve years, so it's going to be around for a while.

      October 12, 2012

  • A former member
    A former member

    1) Natural background radiation exists everywhere and at varying levels. The nuclear power stations in Durham do not add to the natural background radiation. The reactor vessel and vault and structure do not allow radiation to escape to the public domain. 2) There is a fish diversion net installed at both pickering and Darlington, saving thousands of fish each year. 3) drinking water is not affected in any way. The secondary side is completely free of radiation. This is an example of the false information you are spreading 4) hydro electricity is great but Ontario doesn't have enough geographical sources. Also there is a limit that each station can produce before drawing too much air in the water.. which is bad for the little fishes.

    October 11, 2012

    • A.J.

      3. According to the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, our nuclear power plants emit tritium oxide and other radioactive contaminants. According to the Ontario Drinking Water Advisory Council, our nuclear power industry discharges tritium into Lake Ontario. For most of us, Lake Ontario is the source of our drinking water. What part of this is false information?

      October 11, 2012

    • A.J.

      4. Ontario is very big. Hydroelectricity is responsible for over 20% of Ontario's electricity output, and we still have a lot of room to grow and improve. Unfortunately, hydroelectricity projects can indeed be very destructive to local ecosystems, and they can take a long time to install and upgrade, but at least it's a steadily increasing source of electricity production.

      October 11, 2012

  • A former member
    A former member

    Aj, I responded the way I did because your information is largely biased. If you stated your opinion but gave balanced and objective information I'm sure the volume in this discussion would be toned down. Keep in mind the main demand for power is industry, not household use. Thousands of jobs (especially manufacturing) and ontarios economy are at risk if the wrong power source is chosen. If ontario energy is too unstable or expensive, industry may shrink leave. Seeing as how this group has over 1000 members it is not fair to present bias facts. Now, those are interesting alternatives for power production but it can never follow grid demand sufficiently. It is very difficult to just shut off power sources and turn on others intermittently. Its like turning your lights on and off 1000 times and expecting your lightbulb to last. Canada's climate does not favor wind power because there are too many fluctuations. Ontario's hydro power is pretty much tapped out because there isnt enough water sources. And if we bui

    October 11, 2012

    • A.J.

      I stated before that relying solely on wind power would be a bad idea, as would relying solely on any single type of electricity production. There's no denying that wind fluctuates, which is why it would need to be complimented by other types of electricity production.

      October 11, 2012

    • A.J.

      Why can't renewable energy follow grid demand sufficiently? It's very easy to predict when solar panels will be producing electricity. Hydroelectricity is also quite predictable and reliable. Other countries have adapted their grids to support these fluctuations, so why can't we do the same?

      October 11, 2012

  • Alex

    continued;

    Darlington and Bruce which are much newer plants at approx 3.6 and 7.2 GW respectively are amongst the most reliable and safe in the world and are both profitable. The three plants are the backbone of Ontario's electrical power infrastructure and will not be able to be replaced anytime soon by nascent "green energy" generation or wishful thinking.

    October 11, 2012

    • A.J.

      Operating a nuclear power plant can certainly be profitable, but this profitability is greatly offset by the cost of its construction, refurbishment, decommission, and waste management. As published in The Economist earlier this year (http://www.economist....­), private companies won't build a nuclear power without significant government subsidies.

      October 11, 2012

    • A.J.

      You're right that it would be a terrible idea to shut down our nuclear power plants right away. Before we can take our nuclear power plants offline, we first need to build our alternatives and prove that they can at least match nuclear's typical reliability and output. This is already happening in other countries with electricity demands that are much higher than ours.

      October 11, 2012

  • Alex

    If you are organizing a political event under the auspices of a friendly bike ride you should at least be honest about it. Nuclear power in Ontario has seen cost overruns largely due to delays and indecision by the NDP government all those years ago. They were regrettable and no one can say they will never happen again but on the whole Nuclear power has been very beneficial to this province. It is true that Pickering is ranked rather low in reliability (and very high in safety) world wide in an industry that has some of the highest standards existent. It is an old plant that has suffered somewhat from previous lack of commitment but it remains safe and reliable and provides up to 3,100 Megawatts of power daily with an over 90% availability factor during the summer and winter peak power seasons. It runs well above breakeven cost wise.

    October 11, 2012

    • A.J.

      I disagree with your statement that nuclear power has been very beneficial to this province. In the 1950s, Chalk River Laboratories had two disasters. Since the 1930s, Port Hope has become dangerously contaminated by radioactive waste, and the plan to spend over one billion dollars cleaning it up is considered woefully inadequate. Members of this group who have joined me for rides to Port Hope may remember me pointing out the surrounding ghost towns and contaminated areas. Durham Region and other communities that host nuclear power plants have significantly higher ambient radiation levels than communities that don't, and you can test this by roaming around Ontario with a Geiger counter.

      October 11, 2012

    • A.J.

      The effects of nuclear power on Lake Ontario (the source of our drinking water) are especially troubling. Unlike modern nuclear power plants that use closed-cycle cooling, Pickering and Darlington both use once-through cooling. Every year, these nuclear power plants kill millions of fish and other wildlife by using this method, and in the process, contaminate Lake Ontario with radioactive, chemical, and thermal pollution. The thermal pollution causes local ecological problems, whereas the radioactive and chemical contaminants have a much greater range.

      October 11, 2012

  • A former member
    A former member

    My beef with this ride is that false information is being written. It is ok to state safety and waste management concerns and your opinion on them. But your information must be accurate.

    1 · October 11, 2012

    • A.J.

      Can you cite some examples of false and inaccurate information?

      October 11, 2012

  • A former member
    A former member

    And shutting down and starting up stations to meet demand is not like turning on and off your car. Doing so puts too much stress on the equipment... which means more money.

    1 · October 11, 2012

    • A.J.

      If we utilized renewable energy more, then we wouldn't need to use nuclear power at all. Germany, which is less than a third of Ontario's size, produced 36.5 terawatt-hours of wind power in 2010, whereas all of Canada produced only 8.0 terawatt-hours during the same year. Germany's population and density are much higher than Ontario's, but Ontario's most populated area has a much higher density than all of Germany.

      October 11, 2012

    • A.J.

      Home solar panel systems now cost less than $10000 per home, and the cost continues to drop while the efficiency and quality continues to rise. If the province mandated that all news home be built with solar panels on top, then of course homes would be more expensive initially, but the owners would save more in the long run, and it would help to reduce the amount of investment required in supplemental electricity sources.

      October 11, 2012

  • A former member
    A former member

    You don't know what you are talking about. Nuclear stations have larger capital costs than other power station. However the operation and maintenance cost are much lower than other means. You also do not understand how complex our energy grid is. It is impossible economically power the province with more wind and solar. In lay mans terms supply must meet demand. The wind does not always blow and you cannot simply shut down power plants when the wind blows too strong. More power is needed during the day time yet wind speeds peak at night. This is a lot of instability to the grid. I don't mean to sound condescending but energy issues are not well understood by the general public because of the complex technical nature. Fyi, nuclear stations get paid only 3.5 cents a kWh. Solar power gets paid 80 cents a kWh.wind gets roughly 20 cents a kWh. All this info is available on the Ontario government website.

    1 · October 11, 2012

    • A.J.

      For windless nights, we have hydroelectricity (wave power, tidal power, et cetera), cogeneration (6 cents per kilowatt-hour), and other types of renewable energy production. We can also import hydroelectricity from Quebec at a cost of 5.8 cents per kilowatt-hour. Energy conservation and efficiency tools/methods are remarkably cheap, costing about 2.3 to 4.6 cents per kilowatt-hour.

      October 11, 2012

    • A.J.

      Personally, I welcome these discussions. A good way to avoid sounding condescending is to not tell people that they are uninformed and uneducated. Like anyone, you're free to state your opinion, but it does come off as a bit harsh when you begin by telling someone that they don't know what they're talking about.

      October 11, 2012

  • A former member
    A former member

    You are not informed or educated in the issues surrounding energy. Do you know how a nuclear reactor works or how it is safely and easily shut down? Probably not. You have probably read a few green peace articles then laid down your opinion. Nuclear power is a safe reliable and economical source of production. These reactors have multiple redundant safety systems and can shut down the reactor in a fraction of a second. Nuclear power is paid 3.5 cents a kWh, the cheapest. There are zero emissions. Nuclear power has the potential to become an endless source of energy. Did you know ontario is soon to face a huge energy supply crisis? How will the factories run without a cheap reliable source? Let me guess.. wind? There are already serious electricity grid fluctuations caused by wind blowing or not blowing. And it costs a heck of a lot more. This ride is bull shit. Keep informed.

    1 · October 8, 2012

    • A.J.

      The energy crisis that has been predicted for Ontario could be addressed using renewable energy. Putting the bulk of our investment into a single type of electricity production would be a bad idea, but spreading it out over multiple options would be effective. This is already working in other countries.

      October 8, 2012

    • Joey S.

      Nuclear power is THE most expensive way to generate electricity. In 1993, when Bob Rae's NDP government covered stagering cost overruns, the government could have paid for a 1993-era solar panel for every house in the province, and produced as much, if not more electricity. Fission nuclear is a dead-end technology. Maybe fusion nuclear might be both efficient and cheap, but there are barely any current fusion reactors producing even slightly more power than true energy used to produce the reaction. Solar and wind are green house gas friendly ekectricity generating sources that ate both practical and affordable: fission nuclear isn't on so many levels. I for one intend to go on this ride (provided it is after the Toronto Bike Show at the CNE).

      October 8, 2012

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