Uncategorized

How Does Nuclear Energy Benefit Ontario?

Nuclear is the backbone of Ontario’s energy mix because it offers several advantages, including round-the-clock reliability, clean and environmentally-friendly operation, and affordability. The refurbishment project has also created thousands of jobs across the province.

The following infographic summarizes these advantages.

How Does Nuclear Energy Benefit Ontario - 2014

Click here to download your copy.

Uncategorized

CNA Members Voted ‘Top 50’ Companies in Canada

By Erin Polka
Communications Officer
Canadian Nuclear Association

Great place to workTwo of our members are worthy of special mention this month – Lakeside Process Controls Ltd. and The Ian Martin Group.

Both companies were included in Canada’s ‘Top 50 Medium Companies with <1,000 Employees,’ as selected by Great Place to Work Institute. The list was published as a Special National Report in The Globe and Mail on April 10, 2015.

This is an incredible achievement and the CNA would like to commend them on a job well done.

In addition, both companies were among the ‘Top 50 Best Workplaces for Women.’

LakesideLakeside Process Controls is an industrial services/engineering company located in Mississauga, Ontario, with 208 employees.

“When a new employee is hired at Lakeside Process Controls, the company has a long-standing tradition of bringing in treats and placing them at the new hire’s desk so employees are required to meet the new hire to get their afternoon snack!” mused a Lakeside rep.

This is the fifth year in a row that Lakeside has made the list.

Ian Martin GroupLocated in Oakville, Ontario, Ian Martin Group is a professional services/staffing company with 135 employees.

According to an Ian Martin rep:

“Each month, the CEO publishes the content of the leadership team’s last meeting. Groups meet to discuss the content, and everyone is asked to come with a Doozey of a Question (DOAQ). Teams vote on the most important question and then allocate 30 minutes in vigorous debate to that topic.”

Ian Martin made the list in 2013 and 2014, as well.

Uncategorized

When is the Best Time to Take a Nuclear Power Plant Offline?

By Erin Polka
Communications Officer
Canadian Nuclear Association

What happens to greenhouse gas emissions when a nuclear power plant goes offline? Let’s look at the Bruce Power complex in Kincardine, Ontario. On April 15, Bruce Power shut down the four reactors in its B building to enable a vacuum building outage (VBO). The vacuum building, which is an essential safety feature, needs regular maintenance that should last about a month.

Shutting down Bruce B means some 3,268 MW of generating capacity needs to be replaced with some combination of hydro, gas and wind. Which combination is better for the environment?

Hydro capacity is highest in the spring, as winter snows melt and rivers run high. So it stands to reason that hydro power will make up for some of the shortage. (And, yes, the VBO was timed to match the availability of hydro.)

What about wind? Not as much help. Wind provides only four percent of Ontario’s electricity on average. Whether it could provide more would depend on whether the wind blows longer and stronger. Maybe it will, and maybe it won’t – hardly the reliability needed to replace the steady nuclear workhorse.

And then there’s gas. It can be fired up quickly and easily, it runs reliably, and it doesn’t cost all that much more than nuclear power – about twice as much.

In the best-case scenario, hydro would replace the power from the four Bruce B reactors. It’s the best case because hydro, like nuclear, generates no greenhouse gases. But there’s a problem. Hydro in Ontario is quite limited as a result of the province’s geography, and the province lacks sufficient transmission lines to import replacement power from Quebec. Also, even if the lines did exist, Quebec doesn’t have a spare hydro dam to match the output from the four reactors.

The next-best scenario would use all the available hydro power, keeping cost and emissions down, and use gas for the rest. Very likely, hydro could replace half the nuclear energy from Bruce B, and natural gas would replace the other half.

Is that a problem? After all, Ontario businesses and residents will still get steady, reliable electricity – just as they did with the Bruce reactors. But here’s the thing – natural gas emits greenhouse gases, especially carbon dioxide, which is primarily responsible for climate change.

GiraffesReplacing half the nuclear output with gas means the province’s gas plants will emit an additional 295,095 tonnes of carbon dioxide. For perspective, that’s the weight equivalent of about 300,000 adult giraffes.

What else would produce 295,095 tonnes of CO2?

  • Driving a car 35,563 times around the Earth’s equator
  • Taking 82,394 round-trip flights from Toronto to Sydney

And that’s not all. Unlike nuclear and hydro, gas also emits nitrogen oxides (NOx), sulphur oxides (SOx), and particulate matter (PM) during operation. These “other” greenhouse gases cause lung and heart disease, and make these conditions worse. They can also harm plants and animals on land and in the sea. And they can even cause building materials to deteriorate and weaken.

Drive around the worldOf course, if hydro weren’t able to stand in for the offline nuclear plants, then Ontario would need to use gas alone. And that would mean the weight of another 300,000 giraffes in greenhouse gas emissions, or another 35,563 trips around the world (“Are we there yet?”), or another 82,394 round trips to Sydney.

So, timing is everything. Scheduling the VBO in spring, when hydro reaches its peak performance, was a wise decision. Just how much hydro will be available, and how much gas is actually used, remains to be seen.

You can track the results on the CNA website, if you like. Check our emissions tracking.

Uncategorized

The 2015 Canadian Nuclear Factbook is Here!

CNA Factbook Cover Page

The Canadian Nuclear Factbook’s 2015 edition is now available!

Packed with up-to-date information about Canadian nuclear technology, the new Factbook is an ideal pocket-sized reference guide.

And not only is it new – it’s improved! Compared to the previous edition, this year’s Factbook features a sleek, perfect bind, as well as enhanced sections on:

  • the environment and climate change;
  • how nuclear works;
  • radiation safety;
  • nuclear science and technology; and
  • nuclear medicine.

And did we mention you can order free copies? Just email us at info@cna.ca! (Shipping charges may apply for international orders.)

You can also download a PDF version on the CNA website.

**A French version of the Factbook will be available in May.

Uncategorized

Ontario Nuclear Sets Monthly Output Record

By Erin Polka
Communications Officer
Canadian Nuclear Association

Ontario nuclear set another monthly output record – 8.72 billion kWh for March, beating out January’s 8.46 billion kWh, and more than any other month since 2010.

 

Monthly Ontario nuclear output

 

Most likely, it’s the highest monthly output in Ontario’s history, however reliable data sources are hard to find.

According to the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO), nuclear’s output is usually highest in mid-winter and mid-summer. This is due to the increased electrical demand as a result of heating and cooling.

But March isn’t typically a high-demand month, which makes this record all the more impressive.

The more Ontario relies on nuclear energy, the fewer greenhouse gases the province releases into the atmosphere.

Over the entire lifecycle, including construction, transportation, operation and decommissioning, nuclear is one of the cleanest options available, emitting about 16 grams of CO2 per kWh. It compares favorably with hydro (4 grams), wind (12 grams) and solar (46 grams), and is a vast improvement over gas (469 grams).

This past March, gas only contributed 1.09 billion kWh, which is less than usual, and translates into less air pollution.

Uncategorized

Energy in Ontario – by the Numbers

By Erin Polka
Communications Officer
Canadian Nuclear Association

Curious how much nuclear power is being generated in Ontario on any given day? What about any given hour?

If so, you may want to check out the CNA’s new ‘Energy in Ontario’ web app, which shows daily and hourly energy generation by selected fuels – and related lifecycle pollution emissions.

Energy in Ontario - Table 1

Energy in Ontario - Table 2

You can see how much power was generated from nuclear, gas and wind, as well as how many tons of carbon dioxide (CO2), and kilograms of particulate matter (PM), oxides of nitrogen (NOx), and oxides of sulfur (SOx) each source emitted.

A nifty feature also shows you what the environmental impact would have been had a combination of wind and gas replaced the power that nuclear generated. On average, carbon emissions would have been five to eight times higher than what they actually were.

What’s important to note about the CNA’s emission data, and is different from some of the other data out there, is that we’ve considered lifecycle factors, such as construction, transportation, operation and decommissioning. This is why nuclear, for example, appears to be generating emissions on a regular basis.

What’s next?

We’re working on adding all of Ontario’s current fuel types, including hydro, solar, and biofuel, as well as distinguishing between simple and rankine cycle gas.

We’re also developing a historical overview, showing yearly energy output and emissions, by fuel type, dating back to 2008.

All of this information is important in trying to show the effect that nuclear power has in curbing air pollution in Ontario. If not for the significant ramp-up in nuclear output, the province would be facing much more serious health and environmental problems.

Check out the live data on the CNA website, under ‘Resources,’ or click here.