Tag Archives: Ontario Power Generation

CNA Responds Nuclear Energy

Just the Facts, Ma’am. Just the Facts.

You’d think the facts would persuade people like the Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment (CAPE) . But that appears not to be the case.

Gideon Forman, their executive director, apparently told health authorities in Haliburton region that kids living near nuclear energy facilities face higher risks of leukemia.  Forman, who is not a medical doctor, cited the widely discredited German study Kinderkrebs in der umgebung von Kernkraftwerken (KiKK), published in 2008. (The title translates to “Childhood Cancer in the Environment of Nuclear Power Plants.”)

Here’s the problem. It’s just not true.

In fact, several follow-up studies have reviewed the KiKK work. Every one of them concluded that the kids’ leukemia risk could NOT be blamed on the nearby nuclear energy facility.

Even CAPE acknowledges in its own literature that the German study proved nothing: “The authors state that the reason for the elevated risk is unexplained, as the levels of radioactive emissions from these facilities are considered too low to explain the increase in childhood leukemia.” (Source:  Cathy Vakil and Linda Harvey, Human Health Implications of the Nuclear Energy Industry, p. 62)

As the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission said in its review of the KiKK studies, “any claims of a link between childhood leukemia and radiation from nuclear power plants are unfounded and not supported by a wealth of evidence resulting from multiple epidemiology studies.”

And as the commission chairman, Dr. Michael Binder, wrote last August in a letter to the Hamilton Spectator  specifically rebutting CAPE’s allegations, “The truth is that studies have shown over and over that people living near nuclear power plants are as healthy as the rest of the population.”

Forman also cited scientific studies to show that “all reactors release radioactive material routinely” but failed completely to put this into perspective.  The truth is that nuclear energy facilities generally add less than 0.1% to the background radiation that occurs naturally.

In fact, Canadians receive over 100 times more radiation dose naturally through the food we eat than from Canada’s nuclear energy facilities.

Those are the facts. Shouldn’t doctors deal in facts rather than fiction?

CNA2013

CNA2013 Video: Evolution of Nuclear Safety Practices

Mr. Tom Mitchell, President and Chief Executive Officer of Ontario Power Generation, provides an update on the safety measures OPG has implemented at its nuclear plants following the Fukushima nuclear event of two years ago. He also offers observations on the nuclear industry’s evolving approach to nuclear safety, including the insights gained from studying the Fukushima experience.

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.

CNA2013

CNA2013 Video: Nuclear Refurbishment Projects

The next in our CNA2013 Conference video series features a panel discussion on nuclear refurbishment projects.

Nuclear refurbishments are often referred to as the most complex engineering challenges in the history of infrastructure. With some Canadian projects recently completed, and others in initial planning phases, this session featured Canadian nuclear leaders sharing how lessons learned will inform future initiatives.

Mark Sutcliffe moderated the panel of:

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.

CNA Responds Nuclear Safety Waste Management

DGR for Nuclear Materials is the Responsible Step

This article attempts to weigh the pros and cons of building a Deep Geological Repository (DGR) for Canada’s low- and intermediate-level nuclear waste material but really just ends up confusing the matter. We’re wondering exactly what are the cons of managing waste responsibly, something our industry does every day anyway. Plus, there’s a big difference between used-fuel and low-level waste.

There is a lot of misinformation in the article and we think it’s important to address some of it here.

Conceptual design of a Deep Geologic Repository (DGR) Source: Ontario Power Generation

DGR for nuclear materials is the responsible step

The proposed deep geological repository (DGR) is a responsible step Canada’s nuclear industry is taking for the long-term storage of low- and intermediate-level nuclear waste material, which is already extremely well managed.  Ontario Power Generation (OPG), with the support of Bruce County municipalities, is proposing to construct and operate the DGR.

The Joint Review Panel (JRP) for this project is holding a six-month public comment period which provides an opportunity for the JRP, public, interested stakeholders, and aboriginal communities to review and comment on it.

Low-level waste (LLW) is not used fuel.  Rather, it consists of minimally radioactive materials that have become contaminated during routine clean-up and maintenance in the generating stations. Materials include mop heads, cloths, paper towels, floor sweepings and protective clothing. No special protection is required when handling LLW. Intermediate-level waste (ILW) is also not used fuel; it consists of resins and filters used to keep the reactors’ water systems clean as well as irradiated reactor core components associated with the refurbishment of reactors. This waste, while much less radioactive than used fuel, is more radioactive than LLW and regulations require shielding to protect workers during its handling.

A four-year program of geoscientific investigations, safety assessment, engineering and design, and environmental field studies contributed to the environmental assessment process that concluded the DGR will not cause significant adverse effects to the environment or the public. This documentation will be the subject of a very thorough and robust regulatory and public review process, held in an open and transparent manner, to ensure the proposed DGR is safe for the public and environment.

There are several examples of other countries that are utilizing geologic repositories for the safe management of their L&ILW, including Sweden, Finland and the United States.  The proposed DGR has been rigorously scrutinized by environmental and regulatory agencies at various levels of government, has been open to public input and been found to be a responsible and sound plan. Each day Canadians working in the nuclear industry safely ship thousands of packages of radioactive material – many of them across the world. Radioactive shipments include medical isotopes, some smoke detectors, gauges and instruments, nuclear reactor fuel, uranium, and cobalt for sterilizing food and medical supplies. No member of the Canadian public has ever been harmed by a radiation release in transportation.

The Canadian nuclear industry provides a broad spectrum of products and services that benefit Canadians, including low-carbon electricity, medical isotopes, and food safety technologies. Our industry supports the employment of tens of thousands of Canadians and we are committed to ensuring safety throughout all aspects of our industry and being responsible environmental stewards across Canada and in the communities where we live and work.

For more information about the regulation of Canada’s geological repositories, visit the CNSC’s website: http://www.nuclearsafety.gc.ca/eng/about/regulated/radioactivewaste/regulating-canadas-geological-repositories-fact-sheet.cfm

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.

Nuclear News

Darlington New Build Passes JRP Environmental Assessment

Yesterday the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency (CEAA) released a report by a federally-appointed Joint Review Panel (JRP) to evaluate the proposed new nuclear power plant at Darlington. We are proud of OPG’s extensive work and thorough studies undertaken as part of this environmental assessment (EA) process. We are especially pleased that the Panel came to the same conclusions as OPG: that Darlington New Nuclear Project will not result in any significant adverse environmental effects, given mitigation, to workers, the public or on the surrounding environment.

Public input, including the public hearings, is an integral part of the EA process. OPG’s public consultation process throughout the EA was extensive and inclusive.

The CNA was an intervener during the process and our message was clear:

  • This proposed project is a very important step in fulfilling Canada’s growing energy demands.
  • New nuclear units are an integral part of the electricity supply and consistent with the direction of the Government of Ontario’s commitment to maintaining nuclear power at 50 per cent of the province’s energy supply in the Long-Term Energy Plan.

It was great to see so much participation in the hearings by the communities, individuals and groups that took part in the public review process.

OPG has what it takes to do the job!
OPG has the necessary experience to move forward and manage a project of this magnitude. The Darlington site hosts a four-unit station that has provided safe, reliable and clean energy for 20 years with minimal environmental effect. OPG has experience successfully managing complex nuclear projects (i.e. Pickering A unit 1, Pickering units 2&3 safe storage, Pickering and Darlington Vacuum Building Outages). OPG will now thoroughly review the Panel’s report and work with our partners to implement the best solutions for the mitigation requirements set by the Panel as they await the final Government response.

Here is a link to the  Joint Review Panel summary report.

For more information about the JRP hearing, see the news release sent during the hearing about CNA’s involvement as an intervener.