Monthly Archives: May 2012

Mining Nuclear News

AREVA Canada on AREVA in Canada (and Why they’ll be Sticking Around)

AREVA Canada Exec VP Jean-Francois Béland

AREVA Canada Executive Vice President Jean-Francois Béland appeared on Business News Network (BNN) today.

Mr. Béland talked about AREVA Canada’s involvement in the Canadian nuclear industry. They employ roughly 600 employees in Canada with projects on the go or planned in Saskatchewan, Ontario, Nunavut, Quebec and New Brunswick. AREVA Canada services nuclear facilities in all the nuclear provinces.

The interviewer asked about the “big business” of nuclear (i.e. the economic contributions of the nuclear industry). We know that through the efforts of our people, the Canadian nuclear industry is a $6.6 billion per year industry, contributing $1.5 billion in tax revenues and $1.2 billion in export revenues.

And, as Mr. Béland mentioned, it provides roughly 71,000 direct and indirect jobs.

We also know that refurbishing nuclear facilities at Bruce and Darlington will create 25,000 jobs in the next decade and inject $5 billion into the Ontario economy annually. Big business, indeed!

The Cigar Lake mine in northern Saskatchewan, the world’s second-largest high-grade uranium deposit, is on track to start producing in 2013. 100% of its production will be processed at the McClean Lake mill.

AREVA Canada’s has some exciting mining projects in Saskatchewan too. The Cigar Lake mine, which they partner on with Cameco, contains what is considered among the best grade uranium in the world. AREVA and its partners are also investing $150 million to improve the McClean Lake mill, a project that when completed will create over 100 jobs in Northern Saskatchewan.

AREVA’s McClean Lake mill in northern Saskatchewan is the only facility in the world capable of processing high-grade uranium ore without diluting it.

Mr. Béland also talks about AREVA’s international business and the politics of energy in France, after the recent election that saw a change in the head of state.

Watch the full interview here.

CNA Responds Nuclear Energy Nuclear Outreach Nuclear Pride

Nuclear Projects and Costs: Jobs and Affordability

In the article Rising electricity prices have little to do with renewable energy (May 5), Weis makes several omissions and extrapolations in the areas of transparency, cost and the role of nuclear energy projects in Ontario.

Ontario Power Generation (OPG), which is owned by the people of Ontario, produces about 60 per cent of the electricity used in Ontario and half of that comes from its 10 operating nuclear units. The price for this electricity is 5.6 cents per kilowatt hour, up from 5.5 cents two years ago.  This information is publicly available and is set by the Ontario Energy Board during a public process.

While “full costs associated with refurbishing existing units or building new ones has never been made public,” that’s because OPG and the government have yet to determine a projected cost, Similarly, OPG has yet to determine precise costs to refurbish the four units at Darlington. Both projects will be the result of competitive bidding processes. Setting a price before the bids are complete would not result in the best deal for consumers.

Building two new nuclear units will be a major undertaking. It will require thousands of skilled tradespeople, enormous quantities of cement, steel and other metals. It would require thousands of specifically fabricated components which will create numerous spin off jobs in the manufacturing sector.

According to a report released in July 2010 by Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters, refurbishing nuclear facilities at Bruce and Darlington will create 25,000 jobs in the next decade and inject $5 billion into the Ontario economy annually.

For example, the contractor workforce for the Bruce Power refurbishment wrapping up this year, at its peak, included over 3,000 skilled tradespersons. The project has been employing thousands of people since 2006. In addition to this direct employment, there is also a significant amount of indirect employment in those firms that supply services and materials to the refurbishment projects. Ontario has an ambitious clean energy development targets and nuclear energy – an integral part of the province’s clean energy portfolio – is crucial to achieving those targets. Many people may not realize that nuclear’s clean, base load power is enabling the province of Ontario to be coal-free by 2014 and provides the stable base that is needed to bring renewables onto the grid.

Reaching these clean energy goals does have associated costs and to better understand the costs of Ontario’s energy mix, plain and accessible information can be found in the provincial Auditor General’s latest report, which cites what the Ontario Energy Board itself said in 2010:

“In April 2010, the OEB completed an analysis predicting that a typical household’s annual electricity bill will increase by about $570, or 46%, from about $1,250 in 2009 to more than $1,820 by 2014. More than half of this increase would be because of renewable energy contracts” (page 95).

Nuclear energy provides over half of the province’s electricity. It’s clean, reliable and affordable. The CNA invites Canadians to read the Auditor General’s report and make an informed decision on energy costs.

We also invite you to join the conversation on our TalkNUclear blog, Facebook and Twitter and ask us about the topics that are important to you. Our NU microsite NUnuclear.ca is an excellent tool that illustrates the role nuclear technology plays in our daily lives beyond power generation. From life-saving nuclear medicine to enabling materials safety, we depend on nuclear for much more than just keeping the lights on.

CNA Responds Nuclear Energy Nuclear Outreach Nuclear Pride

Nuclear Main Source of Affordable Clean Electricity in Ontario

Greenpeace anti-nuclear campaigner, Shawn-Patrick Stensil, wrote a blog recently blaming nuclear energy for Ontario’s rising electricity rates. He referred to a small section (pp. 69-70) of a very complex and technical report by the Ontario Energy Board (OEB) that investigates the sources of something called “Global Adjustment” — which is not the same as “recent increases in your electricity bill.”

To better understand the costs of Ontario’s energy mix, plain and accessible information can be found in the provincial Auditor General’s latest report, which tells us:

“Billions of dollars were committed to renewable energy without fully evaluating the impact, the trade-offs, and the alternatives through a compre­hensive business-case analysis” (page 97).

“In November 2010, the Ministry [of Energy] forecast that a typical residential electricity bill would rise about 7.9% annually over the next five years, with 56% of the increase due to investments in renewable energy” (page 89).

“In April 2010, the OEB completed an analysis predicting that a typical household’s annual electricity bill will increase by about $570, or 46%, from about $1,250 in 2009 to more than $1,820 by 2014. More than half of this increase would be because of renewable energy contracts” (page 95).

And this is despite the far larger and more reliable role that nuclear plays, relative to renewables, in our power supply. Nuclear energy is an integral part of Ontario’s clean energy portfolio. And because nuclear energy facilities produce large amounts of continuous power, they enable the use of complementary renewable energy sources, like wind and solar. Without nuclear energy, this base load power would need to be supplied by burning carbon-emitting coal or gas.

The AG’s report also clarifies what role Global Adjustment plays in your electricity bill (see graphs on page 94).  It recommends that the Province should “increase consumer awareness of the concept of the Global Adjustment and make more information available on the cost impact of its major components,” a step that the Canadian Nuclear Association (CNA) and our members would welcome.

In fact, according to the OECD, Canadians pay the same or less for electricity from nuclear power compared to all other forms of electricity; and the overall cost to the consumer is similar to that of large-scale hydro, natural gas and coal, and much lower than wind and solar. Here’s a link to that report as well.

There’s a reason anti-nuclear activists tend to criticize nuclear energy based on cost rather than on environmental arguments about the technology itself. Critics know there are virtually no greenhouse gas emissions from our nuclear facilities and that nuclear does not contribute to climate change or smog. Carbon-cutting is at the top of all of our agendas and is an area where nuclear makes a valuable contribution to Canada’s status as a clean energy superpower.  Nuclear energy saves the potential emission of about 90 million tonnes of greenhouse gases per year that would result from the same amount of electricity generated by fossil-based sources. Many people may not realize that nuclear’s clean, base load power is enabling the province of Ontario to be coal-free by 2014 and provides the stable base needed to bring renewables onto the grid.

The CNA invites Canadians to read the Auditor General’s report and make an informed decision on energy costs. We also invite you to join the conversation on our TalkNUclear blog, Facebook and Twitter and ask us about the topics that are important to you. Our NU microsite NUnuclear.ca is an excellent tool that illustrates the role nuclear technology plays in our daily lives beyond power generation. From life-saving nuclear medicine to enabling materials safety, we depend on nuclear for much more than just keeping the lights on.

Thank you to Greenpeace for allowing us to address this issue and clarify the facts for Canadians.

Sincerely,

The Canadian Nuclear Association