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Bruce Power Nuclear Power Plant Project abandoned in Lac Cardinal and Peace river, Alberta, Canada

Communities around Lac Cardinal and Peace river successfully protested against a very large nuclear power plant on their lands. Given their efforts, the project was finally cancelled.


Bruce Power company had an ambitious plan to build nuclear power plant in Alberta province, Canada, considering Lac Cardinal site, 30 kilometres west of Edmonton town.  However, this  spawned heated debate and protests [9] and the company proposed another site about 30 kilometres north of Peace River [1, 2]. The residents, here, also raised their concerns regarding the plant [1, 9]. 

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Basic Data
Name of conflict:Bruce Power Nuclear Power Plant Project abandoned in Lac Cardinal and Peace river, Alberta, Canada
State or province:Alberta
Location of conflict:Lac Cardinal and Peace river (two locations proposed)
Accuracy of locationHIGH (Local level)
Source of Conflict
Type of conflict. 1st level:Nuclear
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Nuclear power plants
Specific commodities:Electricity
Project Details and Actors
Project details

Bruce Power company wanted to build Alberta's first nuclear power plant on a site outside Peace River. Bruce Power proposed units for a total 4 GWe, 4,000 MWe [13]. The first site, located on Lac Cardinal, 30 kilometres west of the town, alarmed some residents who worried about its proximity to a freshwater aquifer that provides drinking water for the area and as an outcome the company temporarily withdrew an application for the Lac Cardinal site in January 2009 [2]. A second location, about 30 kilometres north of Peace River, was chosen two months later, but residents also worried about the site's impact on water and wildlife in the area. After public hearings the project was finally cancelled in 2011 [2, 11]. Paradoxically, one reason for increasing electricity production would have been the immediate boom in the exploitation of Alberta's tar sands. As reported at the time, "Bruce Power, operator of Canada’s biggest nuclear power plant, is walking away from a proposal to build reactors in Alberta after four years of trying to gain traction in a region where the burgeoning oil sands industry promises major new electricity demand." Several forms of complaints and a local consultation stopped the project.

Level of Investment:9,800,000,000
Type of populationRural
Start of the conflict:01/01/2006
End of the conflict:01/01/2011
Company names or state enterprises:Bruce Power from Canada
Relevant government actors:Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency
Mayors of a nearby province - British Columbia
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Council of Canadians Peace River

Keep Alberta Nuclear Free coalition
Conflict & Mobilization
IntensityMEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
Reaction stagePREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)
Groups mobilizing:Local government/political parties
Communities of Peace River, Grimshaw, Fairview and Manning [11]
Forms of mobilization:Artistic and creative actions (eg guerilla theatre, murals)
Creation of alternative reports/knowledge
Media based activism/alternative media
Objections to the EIA
Official complaint letters and petitions
Referendum other local consultations
Street protest/marches
Environmental ImpactsPotential: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Groundwater pollution or depletion
Health ImpactsVisible: Exposure to unknown or uncertain complex risks (radiation, etc…)
Potential: Accidents, Occupational disease and accidents
Socio-economical ImpactsPotential: Displacement, Loss of livelihood, Land dispossession, Loss of landscape/sense of place
Project StatusStopped
Conflict outcome / response:Project cancelled
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:Yes
Briefly explain:After several years of protests and opposition to the project in a public hearing, the project was finally abandoned in Alberta.
Sources & Materials

[1] The Council of Canadians: People, Planet, Democracy 2012: WIN! BRUCE POWER ABANDONS PLAN FOR NUCLEAR POWER PLANT IN ALBERTA
[click to view]

[3] Film by Charles Wilkinson in 2011: Peace Out
[click to view]

[2] CBC News 2011: Bruce Power dropping Alberta nuclear plant proposal
[click to view]

[6] Keep AB nuclear free, specialist says, Canadian Dimension, Matthew Brett, 14/3/2008.
[click to view]

[4] Bruce Power will not proceed with nuclear option in Alberta, WISE Amsterdam, 23/12/2011.
[click to view]

[5] Bruce Power Officially Scraps Alberta Nuclear Option, Power, 14/12/2011.
[click to view]

[7] Reuters 2008: Alberta names panel to study nuclear pros and cons
[click to view]

[9] The Globe and Mail 2009: Alberta won't fund nuclear power, Energy Minister says
[click to view]

[11] CBC 2008: Alberta nuclear power project discussed at Peace River meetings
[click to view]

[10] The Globe and Mail 2008: Alberta community in turmoil over plan for nuclear power plant
[click to view]

[12] Wikipedia: Nuclear power in Canada (Alberta)
[click to view]

Related media links to videos, campaigns, social network

Protests regarding nuclear power plant (among other projects) at [13] Peace River, Canada was covered in a film by Charles Wilkinson called "Peace out"
[click to view]

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Last update10/01/2022
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