Tag Archives: Nuclear Power

Guest Blog

Toronto Electric Transit: Clean, Affordable, and Nuclear Powered

Today’s post comes from guest contributor Steve Aplin. Steve works at the HDP Group and authors the great blog, Canadian Energy Issues.

Toronto is a beautiful, modern, clean, world-class city which is—sometimes unfairly—nicknamed The Big Smoke. The nickname comes from the smog that sometimes hovers over the city on hot summer days. Smog is caused in part by fossil fuel combustion, and in Toronto that means cars. Therefore the city’s biggest and most effective weapon against smog is its electric-powered subways and streetcars.

Subways and streetcars run on steel rails, and rail transportation is far more efficient, in terms of fuel used per kilometer traveled, than road transportation. And electric-powered rail is far more efficient than fossil-powered. If the electricity comes from mostly zero-carbon sources, as it does in Ontario, then electric rail transit is, on a passenger-by-passenger basis, twenty to eighty times as clean as car transportation.

In 2010, the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) used 4.4 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity to move millions of passengers on electric subways and streetcars. Most of those 4.4 billion kWh came from Ontario’s three nuclear power plants. Because most of that electricity came from nuclear plants, each individual subway or streetcar rider’s carbon footprint was tiny: nuclear emits no smog or greenhouse gas pollution.

And because Toronto’s subways and streetcars are mostly nuclear powered, TTC fares were low—nuclear is among the least expensive types of electricity in Ontario.

Nuclear energy is affordable because it is also among the most efficient and reliable ways we know to make electricity.

So I congratulate all Toronto subway and streetcar riders: every day you prove that modern transportation is affordable, reliable, and clean.

CNA Responds Nuclear Energy

CNA Responds: Clearing the Air on Energy Exports

Today we responded to yet another opinion piece from the Clean Air Alliance’s Jack Gibbons. Our response submitted to the Toronto Star is below but here are a couple of extra points we’d like to make:

  • There is affordable, reliable clean air power in Ontario thanks to nuclear.
  • Without low-carbon nuclear power, we would be burning more polluting coal and natural gas.  Nuclear provides the reliable base load we need around the clock for cooling our homes, powering our freezers, etc.
  • The global adjustment (GA) is paid to all power producers – in proportion. Nuclear powers almost 60% of Ontario’s needs and receives only 45% of the provincial GA. That’s a good deal.
  • Many people may not realize that nuclear’s clean, base load power is enabling the province to be coal-free by 2014 and provides the stable base needed to bring more intermittent renewables onto the grid. Nuclear works when the wind isn’t blowing and the sun isn’t shining. Nuclear diverts millions of tonnes of CO2 emissions that would result from the same amount of electricity generated by fossil-based sources, like the natural gas Mr. Gibbons is advocating for.
  • According to a report from 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.  Readers might also be interested in the Ontario Auditor General’s examination of the cost of renewable energy initiatives:  http://www.auditor.on.ca/en/reports_en/en11/303en11.pdf.
  • Simply shelving the province’s Long-Term Energy Plan, as suggested by Mr. Gibbons, in favour of a less reliable, more financially and environmentally costly energy mix, is risking our ability to meet important emissions-reduction targets and the province’s future energy stability and economic competitiveness.

 

EDIT: The Toronto Star printed a couple of responses correcting Gibbons’ op-ed, including from Michael Ivanco, Society of Professional Engineers and Associates, Mississauga, and Francois Tardif, Trading Analyst, Market Operations, Ontario Power Generation, Woodbridge.

Read their comments here

 

Photo credit: KEVIN FRAYER/CP (via thestar.com)

In response to: Why are we paying N.Y. to take our electricity? (Toronto Star, Aug 7)

Jack Gibbons’ argument contains many unsupported statements as well as many misunderstandings:  about the origins of Ontario’s power surplus, the difference between average and spot pricing, the safety and cost record of nuclear, the reliability of market forecasts, and the constraints of planning our long-term infrastructure.

The power surplus originated mainly in a change in the whole economic growth trajectory for North America, one that very few people foresaw.  The predictions (cited by Gibbons) that power demand will remain flat or falling for the next eight years may be no more reliable than the growth projections made in 2005-2007.  Most market projections more than a year or two out are extremely unreliable.

Meeting any large, long-term supply need is likely to involve arrangements that aren’t completely flexible.  These arrangements are usually entered into in order to obtain prices that are stable and low, close to long term average costs.  These are the kinds of prices that nuclear power has delivered to Ontario.  “Spot” market prices that look low are determined by hourly and daily market forces that can change dramatically.

Gibbons talks about wind and gas power that can be turned on and off instantly, but these sources have fixed installation costs.  Costs do not disappear at the moment that a source is disconnected from the grid.

Gibbons’ casual accusation that Pickering A is a “safety and financial hazard” is not supported, nor is his claim that “every nuclear project in Ontario’s history has gone dramatically over budget.”  Pickering, like other CANDU units in Ontario, has a terrific safety and performance record.  To learn about “financial hazards” to their energy bills, Ontarians could read the provincial Auditor General’s critique of the province’s renewable energy program.

Messages Mining Nuclear Energy

National Aboriginal Day in Canada – June 21

Did you know: The Canadian uranium industry is the leading employer of Aboriginal people in Saskatchewan, and Cameco is the leading industrial employer in Canada overall?

Our industry takes great pride in the communities in which it operates. We know our neighbors and we contribute to the economic, environmental, and social prosperity of the cities and towns where we work and live.

Today, on National Aboriginal Day, TalkNUclear would like to highlight the contributions of three of our members who rely on Aboriginal communities as a valuable part of their workforce and for input into their planning and projects for the benefit of all of Canada’s people, including its First Peoples.

Did you know: Canada produces 18% of all global uranium, making us the second largest producer in the world. Our uranium industry directly and indirectly employs about 14,000 people in Saskatchewan.

Cameco is a proud sponsor of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s (TRC) fourth National Event in Saskatoon, taking place from June 21-24 at Prairieland Park. “The TRC Saskatchewan National Event is an opportunity for all Canadians, both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal, to learn more about and bear witness to the legacy of the residential school system,” said Justice Murray Sinclair, Chair of the TRC.

Did you know: The province of Saskatchewan has the largest number of Residential School Survivors in Canada.  Approximately 10 per cent of them reside in Saskatoon.

Visit www.trc.ca for more information.

If you’re in the area, join the AREVA office in La Ronge for the AREVA Celebration BBQ! Celebrate Summer and National Aboriginal Day, Thursday, June 21 at 4:00pm. Enjoy a burger and a pop while you meet some of AREVA’s employees and management, and learn more about AREVA’s operations, jobs and contracting opportunities.

Don’t know La Ronge? La Ronge is the largest community in Northern Saskatchewan with over 3500 people residing in the town itself and about 2000 people on the adjacent First Nations lands of the Lac La Ronge Indian Band and some 1000 people residing in the bordering settlement of Air Ronge.
Learn more here: http://www.townoflaronge.ca/Welcome/Introduction.php

Bruce Power is providing its employees an opportunity to learn about the cultures of Canada’s Aboriginal people with a celebration that includes a tradition drum circle, Native dancers, and cedar tea and cake. The event is hosted by the Bruce Power Native Circle, which is a group of 30 self-identified employees of Aboriginal heritage. “The day will be about sharing our rich and beautiful culture,” said Sismo – Pam Schwartzentruber, the chair of Bruce Power’s Native Circle. “I find not everyone in our area is aware of the unique parts of our First Nations and Métis communities.” Festivities and learning takes place June 21 from 10am-12pm at Bruce Power. More details here: http://www.brucepower.com/6124/news/bruce-power-to-celebrate-aboriginal-day-on-june-21/