Nuclear power will be the big political debate in Ontario in the new year as the province will have to decide whether or not it should spend billions to keep the plants running.

Ontario's nuclear power plants are aging and most have to be either renovated or rebuilt. The estimated cost of the overhaul is about $40 billion.

NDP MPP Peter Tabuns said Ontario needs to think twice before investing in nuclear power.

"We are taking a huge economic gamble with nuclear power that already has shown itself to be a loser," he said, using the Darlington plant as an example.

That project was expected to cost taxpayers $3 billion but ended up costing $12 billion instead.

"We're still carrying the debt," Tabuns said.

It takes about 10 years to get the plants up and running, said Energy Minister Gerry Phillips.

The province will rely on conservation but will also look at natural gas plants for power.

"There's a plant under construction down in Toronto and others across the province," he said.

A natural gas generating station will likely be built at the site of the old Lakeview coal plant in Mississauga.

With a report from CTV Toronto's Paul Bliss