Tag Archives: Ontario

Nuclear Energy

Ontario’s Long-Term Energy Plan

The Ontario government’s Long-­Term Energy Plan, updated yesterday, continues to place a strong, justified reliance on nuclear power to meet Ontario’s electricity requirements.

Nuclear power is a safe, affordable and reliable way to generate the province’s “base load” power. Base load refers to the power supply that operates continuously through the day and night, and is always available.

Read more about nuclear and Ontario’s long-term energy plan on our website:
* Economic impacts
Affordability
Reliability
Environmental performance

Base load electricity in Ontario is produced by nuclear generating stations and large hydroelectric generating stations. It differs from “peaking” generation provided by smaller hydro stations, gas plants and renewable power sources (mostly wind and solar), from which Ontario draws electricity as demand rises during the day.

Winter-day-demand-basic

The main differences between base load and peaking generation arise from the cost per unit of electricity and the certainty of delivery.

Base load power produces the majority of electricity in the province. It provides all, or almost all, of the electricity when daily demand is at its lowest point, near 4 am (See graph).

Demand rises through the day as people wake up and begin to draw more electricity for their needs – at home, the office, at school, in industry, and so on. As demand rises, other generation sources begin producing power to meet the rising demand. The Independent Electrical System Operator balances demand and supply to ensure the province has sufficient power at the lowest price.

With coal disappearing from Ontario’s energy mix in 2014, the province’s most-affordable energy sources are hydro ($0.035/kWh) and nuclear ($0.056/kWh). Both energy sources require very large up-front investments in generating equipment, but these are paid off over periods ranging from 20 to 60 years.

It’s the same idea that drives consumers to buy houses rather than stay in hotels – the house needs financing, but the benefits are worth the investment.

Recently, declines in the price of natural gas have made it seem an attractive alternative to coal, hydro and nuclear energy. Some advocates contend that natural gas could displace all three – and especially nuclear, given the significantly lower investment needed to build gas plants.

This perspective omits two important facts. First, gas prices are volatile; they have risen before and will eventually rise again whenever supplies tighten up. Uranium prices have also proved volatile, but they make up a very small part of the total cost of nuclear energy. Nuclear generators don’t have the same need to pass price spikes along to the consumer.

Second, burning natural gas emits carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases, compounding the challenge of climate change.  According to the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, gas emits 29 times more greenhouse gas than nuclear energy (and coal 62 times more than nuclear).

A decision to use gas for base load generation would create carbon emissions around the clock. It would also reverse the progress Ontario has made in reducing carbon emissions by substituting nuclear energy for coal.

These are the reasons to favour nuclear energy as a source of base load power, and to add a diverse mix of other sources—gas, hydro, wind, solar and others—to ensure Ontario can meet peak demand.

Read more about nuclear and Ontario’s long-term energy plan on our website:
* Economic impacts
Affordability
Reliability
Environmental performance

CNA Responds

Wind Attacks Nuclear, Gets Blown Away

By John Stewart
Director, Policy and Research
Canadian Nuclear Association

Chris Forrest is the vice-president of communications and public affairs at the Canadian Wind Energy Association. He wrote an op-ed that appeared in the Hamilton Spectator attacking nuclear on a variety of fronts. Here’s our response to the unnecessary and non-factual assault.

Chris Forrest’s attack on nuclear (“Wind Energy is a Better Deal for Ontario than New Nuclear,” Jan 4) is unnecessary and non-factual.

It’s unnecessary because Ontarians aren’t called upon to choose one energy source over another.   We use many diverse energy sources that support and complement each other.

It’s non-factual because Forrest says that “pricing on nuclear is very hard to find” but in the same breath that “it is broadly understood that electricity from new nuclear generation will be significantly more expensive” than the rate he claims for new wind.

If the data is so hard to find that he doesn’t cite any, what’s the basis for this alleged “broad understanding?”  Nuclear helped to build the affordable business environment that made Ontario so prosperous over the past half-century.

The 2011 Ontario Auditor General’s Report remarked that “Billions of dollars were committed to renewable energy without fully evaluating the impact, the trade-offs, and the alternatives through a compre¬hensive business-case analysis” (page 97). The report also cited Ministry of Energy and Ontario Energy Board projections that residential electricity bills will increase by 7.9% annually over the next five years primarily due to investments in renewable energy (page 89), resulting in a $570 increase in annual household electricity bills between 2009 and 2014 (page 95).

Nuclear power generation currently sells on average at around $.06 per kWh.  By providing this stable, affordable base, nuclear enables the grid to diversify into new sources like wind.

Advocates for wind energy are welcome to make their case without attacking other, good and proven options.

CNA Responds Nuclear Energy Nuclear Pride Nuclear Safety

CNA Endorses OPG’s Applications for Renewal of Darlington Facilities

December 5, 2012, OTTAWA – The Canadian Nuclear Association (CNA) welcomes and endorses Ontario Power Generation’s (OPG) applications to renew its Darlington facilities. These applications cover refurbishment and ongoing operation of the Darlington nuclear generating facility, and renewal of the Darlington Waste Management Facility’s licence for a 10-year period.

“I’m delivering this message not just on behalf of at least 60,000 Canadians whose livelihoods are supported by our industry, but also for the 13.5 million Ontarians who deserve to enjoy the same affordable clean air energy in the future that they have in the past,” said Heather Kleb, CNA President and CEO.

“Darlington supplies electricity that is extremely reliable, reasonably priced, emits virtually no greenhouse gas from operations, and delivers high-wage, highly skilled jobs. The Darlington Nuclear Generating Station has been one of the largest contributors of electricity to Ontario’s power grid since 1990. We at CNA feel very strongly that the continued service of these facilities is vital for an ongoing stable supply of base load electricity to Ontario homes, workplaces and businesses.

“The Darlington station is an extremely valuable economic resource that has not yet reached the mid-way point of its functional service life. By renewing it, Ontario has a great opportunity to realize more value from this asset. The front-end cost of nuclear plants is spread over several decades of operating life, allowing them to produce electricity at low and predictable unit costs.

“Nuclear is one of the assets that has made Ontario so attractive in the past for investors and knowledge industries. Darlington is helping that to continue.”

A recently released study by Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters determined that nuclear is an integral part of Canada’s innovation, manufacturing and export capacity. Refurbishing ten nuclear reactors will support at least 10,000 jobs for the coming eleven years, plus ongoing long-term jobs in plant operations.

Ms. Kleb added that the safety of operations at Darlington has been demonstrated through 20 years of commercial power generation at this site, and over 40 years in the province.

Ms. Kleb spoke on December 5 at a Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) Public Hearing in Courtice, Ontario.

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For more information:
John Stewart
Director of Policy
Canadian Nuclear Association
stewartj@cna.ca

Background information:

 

Guest Blog Nuclear Energy

Bringing Bruce A Back to Life has Transformed Ontario’s Energy Sector

This morning, the following article appeared in the Windsor Star, which contained a series of factual inaccuracies. http://www.windsorstar.com/technology/Nuclear+cheaper/7550998/story.html

Our friends at Bruce Power wrote this letter to the editor to clear things up.

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To the Editor:

I would like to set the record straight on an article that was published in the Windsor Star this morning that contained a series of factual inaccuracies on the role nuclear power generation plays in Ontario.

Nuclear power provides half of Ontario’s electricity every day – that’s one out of two homes, car plants, businesses and schools. At Bruce Power, we provide a reliable source of low-cost electricity that is a major contributor to not only keeping the lights on, but getting the province off coal by the end of 2014.

The article states, “It took 15 years to complete the refurbishment,” of Bruce A’s Units 1 and 2. This is not correct. When these units were taken out of service in the 1990s there were no plans to bring them back to service until Bruce Power assumed control of the site in 2001. We immediately returned Units 3 and 4 to service by 2004 and then, in late-2005, launched something that had never been done before – the full refurbishment of two nuclear units. All of this was done by private investment in these publically owned assets.

Bringing Bruce A back to life has transformed Ontario’s energy sector with a large supply of low-cost, clean electricity.

Following Units 1 and 2 being removed from service in 1995 and 1997, combined with Units 3 and 4 in 1998, fossil generation dramatically increased in Ontario – it jumped from 12 per cent of electricity in 1995 to 29 per cent in 2000. With these units now back in service, we can move forward with a clean energy future and support the phase-out of coal by the end of 2014.

The economic analysis in the article is also inaccurate. There is no doubt the economics of energy involves many elements, but there is only one thing that matters to consumers – how much they pay for electricity. The Bruce Power site supplies low-cost electricity for Ontario ratepayers and we are undisputedly lower than the other supply options raised in the article. In fact, the price consumers pay for Bruce A output is 6.8 cents per kilowatt-hour, which is significantly lower than solar at 44 and 80 cents, depending on the type of project. This information is available on the Ontario Power Authority’s website.

We appreciate the opportunity to correct the record. For more information visit www.brucepower.com.

James Scongack
Vice-President, Corporate Affairs
Bruce Power

 

Messages Nuclear Energy Nuclear Pride

Bruce Power Achieves Next Milestone in Revitalization Project

We are so pleased to share this news with TalkNUclear.ca readers. Yesterday Bruce Power’s Unit 2 sent power to Ontario’s electricity grid, for the first time in 17 years! Bruce Power CEO, Duncan Hawthorne said:

“This gets us one step closer to the finish line and for the first time in nearly two decades we’re in the midst of returning the site to its full operational capacity. With this project in the final stages we can see a period of stable, steady operations ahead where Bruce Power plays a key role in keeping electricity costs low, the lights on and the air we breathe clean.”

And of the Bruce Power revitalization project, Ontario Energy Minister, Chris Bentley, said:

“Ontario is building a modern, clean, reliable electricity system and nuclear energy is a critical part of our energy supply. Bruce Power’s revitalization program is an important step towards eliminating the use of coal fired electricity by the end of 2014.”

Coal generated power has dropped by 90 per cent in Ontario in the past decade, 40 per cent of which is attributed to the 55 per cent increased output by Bruce Power’s nuclear power generation. Bruce’s Unit 1 and 2 restart is a key factor in quitting coal and reducing Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions.

Go low-carbon, reliable, safe nuclear power! Congratulations to the entire Bruce Power restart team!

October 17, 2012, Ottawa, ON – The Canadian Nuclear Association (CNA) congratulates Bruce Power on the completion of the synchronization of Unit 2 to Ontario’s electricity grid. This follows the successful synchronization of Unit 1 in September, 2012.

“The refurbishment of Units 1 and 2 is a first for Canada’s nuclear industry as it is the first time two CANDU Units had been fully renewed after being laid-up for nearly two decades,” said Denise Carpenter, CNA President and CEO.  “Congratulations to the Bruce Power team on another major step forward in their revitalization project – a key component to Ontario’s Long Term Energy Plan.”

In the last 10 years, coal generation in Ontario has been reduced by 90 per cent, while Bruce Power has doubled the number of operating units on their site. This increased clean generation from the Bruce Power accounts for 40 per cent of the coal generation reduced to date in the province.

With the return to service of Units 1 and 2, Bruce Power will remain a key player in both reducing and staying off coal, one of the largest greenhouse gas reduction initiatives in North America.

Bruce Power operates one of the world’s largest nuclear sites and is the source of roughly 25 per cent of Ontario’s electricity.

The Canadian nuclear industry supports the employment of 30,000 Canadians who are responsible for mining uranium, generating electricity, advancing nuclear medicine, and promoting Canada’s global leadership in science and technology innovation. Through these efforts, we also support 30,000 spin-off jobs and contribute $1.5 billion in tax revenues as well as $1.2 billion in export revenues.

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Media Inquiries:
Kathleen Olson
Director of Communications
Canadian Nuclear Association
olsonk@cna.ca

Background:
Bruce Power’s Unit 2 sends electricity to Ontario grid for first time in 17 years http://www.brucepower.com/6926/news/bruce-power%E2%80%99s-unit-2-sends-electricity-to-ontario-grid-for-first-time-in-17-years/

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.