Tag Archives: Economy

CNA2013

CNA2013 Video: The Power of Linking Energy and Industrial Policies

Dr. Tim Stone is the Expert Chair with the UK Department of Energy and Climate Change. He has considerable expertise in reviewing UK nuclear installations and providing advice on waste management and decommissioning. In his talk, Dr. Stone shares the importance of political aspects of nuclear projects in supporting a strong national economy.

You can watch more CNA2013 conference videos on the playlist we created. Other videos including videos from previous conference years can be found on our YouTube channel.

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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.

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Canadian Nuclear Association Applauds Canada-China Agreement on Uranium Exports

Prime Minister Harper’s recent visit to China proved positive for Canada’s nuclear industry. We released this statement today.

Canadian Nuclear Association Applauds Canada-China Agreement on Uranium Exports

February 9, 2012 – Ottawa, ON – Canada’s nuclear industry congratulates Prime Minister Harper on the successful completion of negotiations between Canada and China to formalize an agreement that will increase exports of Canadian uranium.

“This is good news for Canada’s nuclear industry,” said Denise Carpenter, President and CEO of the Canadian Nuclear Association. “Canada produces 18% of all global uranium, making us the second largest producer in the world. Our uranium industry employs about 14,000 people across Canada and is the leading employer of Aboriginal people in Saskatchewan.”

The broadening of the Canada-China Nuclear Cooperation Agreement means hundreds of new jobs and billions in new investments in Canada, and greater security of nuclear fuel supply for China. The Canada-China Memorandum of Understanding on Energy Cooperation strengthens bilateral ties between the two countries and provides a framework for Canada to engage China on nuclear energy policy, trade, investment, and research and development.

In addition to large uranium deposits, Canada is also home to the world’s largest commercial uranium refining facility (Blind River, Ontario) owned and operated by Cameco Corporation. The company’s planned increase in annual uranium production aligns well with China’s ambitious nuclear growth plan.

“This agreement between Canada and China will generate even more jobs and revenue in Canada, and contribute to the use of clean energy in China, which is the world’s largest energy consumer,” added Ms. Carpenter. “We encourage the Government of Canada to finalize the Protocol as quickly as possible to benefit Canada’s economy and improve access to markets for Canada’s nuclear energy resources.”

Canada’s nuclear industry generates approximately $6.6 billion per year, contributing $1.5 billion in tax revenue and $1.2 billion in export revenues. The industry also supports over 70,000 direct and indirect jobs.

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For more information:
Kathleen Olson
Director of Communications
Canadian Nuclear Association
olsonk@cna.ca

CNA Responds

CNA Responds: The Green Goliath Takes on Nuclear (Financial Post, Dec. 10)

This Letter to the editor was submitted to the Financial Post in response to this op-ed on December 10.

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Lawrence Solomon makes the claim that “the Ontario government’s decision to go nuclear — based on the ideology of the 1960s and 1970s — had nothing to do with economics and everything to do with the politics of the day.”  Ontario was out of suitable large hydroelectric sites by the 1950s and nuclear was the economic, low-emissions option that was emerging.

Choosing nuclear power greatly facilitated Ontario’s economic growth over the past five decades, it has helped Canada avoid about 90 million tonnes of CO2 emissions annually, and still supports tens of thousands of high-wage, highly-skilled jobs in Ontario.  If that decision “had nothing to do with economics” then it has been a remarkably lucky one for Ontarians’ quality of life.

Because nuclear power plants are highly reliable, competitive, predictable in costs, and low in emissions, they have been chosen as a source of base load power in most of the world’s large, developed economies.  Most of these countries are planning new investments in nuclear, as are many emerging economies.

What Solomon calls “nuclear power cost overruns” were in large measure a combination of high interest rates, unexpected delays due to stops and starts of projects by different governments, and unanticipated design changes by regulators.  None of the cost challenges that have affected nuclear power plant construction are inherent in nuclear technology.  New nuclear plants in Asia are being built at a very low cost compared with North America and Europe, in part due to the cost benefits of getting beyond the slower “first of a kind” projects and moving on to second, third and fourth plants of the same design.

The costs and timeliness of plant construction have become more accurate as more plants are built.   And while nuclear plants have high capital costs and take a long time to come into service, once they are built they have low and stable operating costs, and those operating costs are much less sensitive to fuel price increases than either gas or coal plants.  That is why nuclear is becoming the global choice for base load electric power.

In Canada, three provinces – Ontario, Quebec and New Brunswick – are benefitting from this available, reliable, clean and affordable source of energy.  And, for almost 50 years, Canada’s nuclear industry has achieved an unparalleled record of safe power generation in these provinces. Nuclear energy is responsible for 15% of Canada’s electricity production and for 55% of Ontario’s alone.  Furthermore, nuclear energy is not subject to unreliable weather or climate conditions, unpredictable cost fluctuations, or dependence on foreign suppliers. Fortunately, Canada is a uranium-rich country, making the supply of this key ingredient stable over time.

Canada has a number of challenges ahead with respect to electricity demand. We believe that when the real costs and benefits are considered, nuclear will play a significant role in Canada’s energy portfolio going forward. It is a vital component for a sustainable energy future.

Denise Carpenter

President and CEO
Canadian Nuclear Association