Bruce Power mulls new Ontario nuclear plant

Reuters:October 31, 2008

TORONTO Bruce Power LP said Friday it was considering building a new nuclear station in Nanticoke, Ont., to meet a looming power shortage in the province drawing swift environmental pushback and a lukewarm reaction from government.

The nuclear power operator said the plan for two reactors in the industrial town on the north shore of Lake Erie would help Ontario offset the effects of a government effort to phase-out coal-fired power plants, which supply close to a fifth of the province's power, by 2014.

"Ontario needs affordable, reliable and clean energy as we move forward to address one of the greatest challenges of our time - climate change," said Duncan Hawthorne, Bruce Power's president and chief executive officer.

The company said it would conduct an environmental assessment over the next three years to detail the potential impact of the 2,000 to 3,000 megawatt project, with construction taking another five or six years.

The plan, which would offset between a third and a half of Ontario's coal-fired power production, quickly raised the hackles of environmentalists concerned about nuclear waste.

"We have 30,000 tons of high level radioactive waste in Ontario that no one knows what to do with. This plan would mean making a new radioactive waste dump," said Shawn-Patrick Stensil, an energy campaigner for Greenpeace.

Mr. Stensil added that Bruce's timeline would bring the reactors into service years after the government's planned phase-out of the province's coal plants - meaning Ontario would likely need to delay its deadline.

"We have better options," Mr. Stensil said.

Ontario Energy Minister George Smitherman said on Friday the plan did not have the provincial government's support.

"The initiative at Bruce is the initiative of a private company seeking to influence downstream government policy that does not bear the approval, support, encouragement of the government of Ontario in any form," he said.

Canada has some 18 nuclear reactors in operation, providing nearly 15 per cent of the nation's electricity. The last new reactor brought into service was in 1993, though power producers have several other proposals on the books.

Bruce Power is also studying the possible construction of new reactors at its Bruce nuclear station on Lake Huron, about 270 kilometres northwest of Nanticoke, that would add 4,000 MW of electricity by about 2016.

That would account for more than 60 per cent of Ontario's 6,400 MW of coal-fired generation.

Bruce Power is a partnership among Cameco Corp., TransCanada Corp. and BPC Generation Infrastructure Trust.

Government-owned Ontario Power Generation owns and operates the existing 3,920 MW Nanticoke generating station, the largest coal-fired plant in the country, and is looking into converting the station into a biomass plant.

OPG is also developing plans to build new nuclear reactors at its Darlington nuclear station, on the shore of Lake Ontario, east of Toronto.



Fractional Reserve Banking from Toronto, Canada writes: Good, let's get it going, we need to start building assets pronto, especially assets that lead to future growth, cheap electricity is the fuel.

And before anyone craps on the waste side of things, they should be aware that if we're truly concerned with waste, we would build a vitrification facility, which in essence reduces the size of nuclear waste to around 1%.

This has been used in France for a LONG time, they even take in waste from other countries, reduce it, and send it back to the host country.

They make money off of it.

We have loads of choices, we just refuse to accept them.

Get building.


Douglas Ives from Canada writes: Like it or not, nuclear is the way of the future. It's clean and abundant. Do the research - we have very few options.


Fractional Reserve Banking from Toronto, Canada writes: and btw, if AECL, for all it's problems, is sold to foreign interests, then we're done, put a fork in us.

Candu is a Canadian technology (and the safest)

We currently have the ability to almost build, and almost design & almost engineer our own Nuclear Power Plants and provide our citizens with as much stable, reliable energy we will ever need. The "almost" comes in becasue we are so very quickly loosing our manufaturing, engineering & designing expertise, we need to keep it here & encourage it.

Only through design & engineering can we move forward and make technology better.

We haven't built anything in 30 years, it's Bruce doing the building, not OPG (government)

If AECL is sold, our future power needs will be in the hands of foreigners.

It would be worse than the Avro.

I can't think of a more important thing to a country than food, shelter & power and water, look at Argentina for that one, sell's it's countries water works to private interests, shortly afterwards the price increases so much that the people couldn't afford it, that was the tipping point to the revolution.


peter jones from Canada writes: why are we scrapping coal?

just because a bunch of school kids living at home and driving the family car think its a good idea coz its by some unimaginable calculation the 'green'est option.

Maybe its time to increase the voting age at least 21.


Fractional Reserve Banking from Toronto, Canada writes: "peter jones from Canada writes: why are we scrapping coal?

I really have no idea, a modern "clean" coal plant is very efficient & environmentally friendly.

Whatever it is, lets build it, but I still say that Nuclear technology is more important to a country than coal technology.

Why not build both? Let's go, build, build, build.

peter jones from Canada writes: one thing is cetain Mr Fractional,, we have to stop burning Natural gas to make electricity. But coal and nukes yup great,, we can put the nuke waste at the bottom of the old coal mines... why not? This 'either /or' type thinking that is going on at the moment has to stop.


Tony . from Waterloo, Canada writes: peter jones from Canada writes: "why are we scrapping coal?"

Because coal is an extrodinarily DIRTY fuel and even the best attempts to clean it up still result in an ENOURMOUS amount of pollution being generated.

This pollution is killing people in shocking numbers.

In Canada we're not in such bad shape, "only" about about 500 per year die from air pollution caused by burning coal. That's still 500 too many in my books, FAR more than all of the alternatives put together. In the U.S. it's most like 25,000 per year dying from air pollution from coal, and China's numbers are into the hundreds of thousands.

More people die from air pollution from coal EVERY WEEK than in 50 years of nuclear power.

All the improvements in coal burning have only served to lessen the impact, but not by that much. "Clean coal" (gasification) simply results in most of the pollution from coal being transferred from the air into the waste water stream of the coal plant. Slightly easier to contain, but still it's going to result in a LOT of pollutants, most worryingly heavy metals, being dumped into our rivers and getting into our water and food supplies. This might reduce cut the health effects of coal power by an order of magnitude, but it will still be at least one order of magnitude worse than any other method of generating electricity.


ALASTAIR JAMES BERRY from Nanaimo BC, Canada writes: Absolute folly!................We are 60 years into the ATOMIC AGE, and not 1% of the things I was promised, have materialized!!! ..............................LIMITLESS CLEAN POWER....SO CHEAP HOMES WOULDN'T NEED METERS....IT WOULD BE DELIVERED AS A UTILITY...LIKE WATER WAS BACK THEN!!................ HIGH RISE FACTORY FARMS WOULD ENSURE AMPLE CHEAP FOOD and WATER!................COMMERCIALLY , POWER AT THE END OF THE CENTURY WOULD BE 1/12 CENT/KWH........Look at the Churchill Falls contract........or the "ARROW LAKES" free power for BC contract .....if you think I lie!!!.................................................. DO NOT BELIEVE THE SIREN SONGS OF THE TOUTS WHO WOULD HAVE YOU BELIEVE THAT ATOMIC ENERGY IS CHEAP CLEAN POWER!! ..................................Now 60 years after I first lifted a block of Uranium....YES the public was invited to touch the stuff as it was considered virtually harmless(it's damn heavy and looks like bronze)..... .................................WHAT DO I SEE? DEAD REACTORS EVERYWHERE, COCOONED and surrounded by security zones and chain link fences!.............NOT ONE SITE ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD HAS BEEN RETURNED TO GREEN FIELD STATUS!!!......... (Sure now, somebody will tell me that one site, along side a NUCLEAR POWER Stn. in GERMANY, has been cleaned up but it still appears to have a fence round it!) RADIOACTIVE POLLUTION IS 10,000 X as dangerous as house hold garbage or CO2! and it is virtually permanent from the aspects of life, human or otherwise as we know it!... If the world wants to reduce the HUMAN CARBON FOOT PRINT painlessly and EFFICIENTLY...............BIRTH CONTROL IS THE WAY TO GO!!!.................................The world boomed in the year 1800 and did not have insurmountable POLLUTION PROBLEMS........................BRING THE WORLD POPULATION DOWN TO THE LEVEL OF THE YEAR 1800(and keep it there), AND TODAYS PROBLEMS WILL VANISH!!


Helping Save Canada from Hamiltonia, Canada writes: Nuclear is clean, safe and affordable? The facts speak a different story. Before we expand nuclear, I think we should seriously look at the alternatives. We don't built our own wind turbines - why not? We don't manufacture compact fluoresent or LED lighting - why not? We don't demand new homes be net zero energy - why not? We haven't developed a conservation mentality - why not?


Vincent Clement from Windsor, Canada writes: Tony: The only thing SHOCKING about your post is the need to EMPHASIZE points that have no basis in FACT.


Sweeney Todd from Oilberta, Canada writes: There are a lot of people who insist on getting their technical information on power generating, lighting, and heating from the "Lifestyle" sections of weekend newspapers and/or "The Granola Times". Put them down, and read some real technical information. You CANNOT run hospitals, water treatment plants, factories, schools, etc with wind turbines. Or solar. Residential power requirements - even for whole subdivisions are relatively tiny. Stop imagining that wind, solar, tidal power, etc is going to do anything, in real terms, except cost a lot of money for very little - and typically unreliable - power. Sorry, tree-huggers, that's just the hard technical/engineering/economic truth.

Since there are no more large rivers to dam, ON has two choices for any kind of large-scale, reliable, reasonably priced electric power - coal or nuke. Most of your existing fossil and nuclear generating capacity is WAY past it's design life. It takes several years to build a generating station. You're running out of time to keep the lights on, Ontario. Get on with it - or "fade to black".

Mary Walsh from Canada writes: To Tony from Waterloo, what a bunch of c**p you espouse. You should vacate your egghead world and get out into a mine and see what is really happening these days with better closed systems and such. I won't waste any more words on you.


been there from Toronto, Canada writes: The next decade will be a real test of Canada's vision and leadership.

The world is on the verge of a nuclear renaissance because of continuing growth in energy demand and increasing recognition of the true cost of coal.

This should a great opportunity for Canada. First, it produces 1/3 of the world's uranium, so it has a secure energy supply. Second, it has an established nuclear industry infrastructure and know-how.

We need to treat nuclear as a vital strategic national industry.

The industry has atrophied because of under-investment and lack of political priority over the past 20 years. While this was not entirely the Canadian government's fault because much of the needed infrastructure was built, and nuclear power was in a deep freeze globally because of relative low price of coal (ignoring pollution), end of the cold war impact on nuclear diplomacy and high profile accidents, that was all in the past. We need to move forward.

Moving forward means treating this as a national strategic asset, not selling it off to foreign conglomerates as is the typical Canadian mentality. This does not mean that we can do it in isolation -- the capital costs are too high and we need to respect global trade rules (especially if we want to export).

But it does mean that we need to be in full control of cleverly-structured partnerships that benefit the Canadian economy -- specifically high value added jobs and decision-making in Canada. We will never benefit fully if we are relegated to being uranium miners, local construction labourers and operators. All Canadians must recognize and support this.

As to this ploy by Bruce Power (who is 80% owned by British Energy, 12% by uranium miner Cominco), it smacks of a land grab through public pressure on the Ontario government.

We should defer judgement until we see the merits of building a new reactor site in Nanticoke versus building Bruce C or Darlington B.


peter jones from Canada writes: I guarantee that continued immigration at a rate of 250 thousand a year into this country makes coal and nuke power inevitable..and I guarantee that the level of immigration causes more pollution and environmental degradation that anything other development happening in Canada at the moment.

Coal and Nukes or freeze to death..thats the choice...sorry

John Hertz from Ottawa, Canada writes: Power demand in Ontario has been falling since 2006. I would think that if Ontarioans paid more for electricity, demand would drop even more.

Once the Time of Use metering kicks in I do believe you will see a big drop in demand. People react to hits on their pocket book.

As for myself I have been proactive in this area and get my electricity from Bullfrog Power.

Sweeney Todd from Oilberta, Canada writes: John Hertz from Ottawa, Canada writes: Power demand in Ontario has been falling since 2006. I would think that if Ontarioans paid more for electricity, demand would drop even more.

Power demand has been falling because so many plants have been closing. And it is true, that if electricity cost more, demand would drop again - because a lot of plants that are just hanging-on, would also close. If this keeps-up, Ontario will be green, alright. Just not in the way that many people imagine. A population of almost 14 million people, and an economy about the size of PEI's.

"Good plan."


Tories Lie Again and Again from Canada writes: The economics of Nuclear make this thing a white elephant from day one.

Moody's, Standard and Poor's Lazard et Freres, Florida Light and Power, Tennese Valley Authority all acknowledge that the cost of building Nuclear plants has doubled or trippled since the Ontario Power Authority proposed new Nuclear plants.

The reality is Renewable Energy is cheaper than Nuclear without the uncertainty of construction cost or liability of radioactive waste disposal.


John Cameron from Red Deer, Canada writes: According to some people at least vitrification is only a first step. You still need a place to hide it or impossibly inaccessible which might be a borehole to below 4000 meters. The location and distribution of these holes would be where??

another method being discussed is subduction but I don't think there is anywhere anywhere near Canada with active subduction plates.

Over 50 years of nuclear reactors and still no storage that doesn't involve high risk and the plutonium has a half life of 25000 years.

The continuously compounding costs into the future at a rate of 3% means that a dollar spent today grows to 2 to the thousandth power just to get the stuff to it's first half life.

I think the waste disposal costs are being glossed over-25000 years is VERY LONG TIME!!


Richard Hawrelak from Sarnia, Canada writes: In yesterdays GlobeInvestor, Sean Silcoff wrote a piece about Geothermal Energy stocks should recover steam if government support lasts. Therein, Sean writes that geotherm plants are typically 50 MW and that they can produce power through steam turbines at 4 cents per kwh as compared to coal at 6 cents per kwh. He also states that the capital to produce 50 MW would be about $200 million. Well, I have a student project on my backboard that shows it takes 534,465 lb/hr of 650 psig steam at 750F to produce 50MW in a condensing turbine. My finacial model for this data shows that they would have to charge 21.5 cents per kwh to earn a DCFRRAT of 20%. If they received only 10.75 cents/kwh, the company would only return a DCFAT of 7.37%. Drawing 534,465 lb/hr off a thermal bed will deplete the pressure pretty quickly. I doubt any spot geothermal field could live for 40 years at this rate. So, something sure is fishy with Sean's numbers. Hence, the possibility of a student project. I trust my financial model because it was developed while I was at Dow and it tracked our co-generation plant economics (steam and power) pretty well. Cost of nuclear plants have the advantage of economy of scale at 3,000 MW. However, to earn a DCFAT of 20%, they have to receive 16.5 cents per kwh ... or be heavily subsidized to operate ... or accept a much lower rate of return.


f c from Canada writes: The initiative at Bruce is the initiative of a private company seeking to influence downstream government policy that does not bear the approval, support, encouragement of the government of Ontario in any form, he said.(GREENPEACE)

Now isn't this the pot calling the kettle black! Give me a break. There business is trying to tell the world what to do!

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