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Nuclear power surge

SIMCOE REFORMER: Ashley House - November 3, 2008

http://www.simcoereformer.ca/ArticleDisplay.aspx?e=1278179

Local officials are giving their stamp of approval on the first step to a nuclear power plant in Nanticoke -- despite the lack of provincial support.

Bruce Power announced plans Friday to build two nuclear reactors on an 800-hectare site within the Lake Erie Industrial Park in Haldimand.

After site preparation approval from the Canadian Nuclear Safety commission, the first step is a federal environmental assessment of the proposed project.

But the Ontario government is clear it is not on board.

A statement from the Ontario Government said they have "not encouraged or solicited a proposal to build a nuclear generating station in the Haldimand Norfolk Region."

Instead, they are looking at energy conservation measures and investments in renewable energies like solar, wind, hydrogen and biomass to replace coal-fired energy.

"Adding more nuclear beyond the existing supply of 50 per cent (14,000 megawatts) is not in Ontario's plans or in Ontario's interest," said Minister of Energy and Infrastructure George Smitherman.

Still, Haldimand Mayor Marie Trainer and Norfolk Mayor Dennis Travale, along with Haldimand Norfolk MP Diane Finley, accompanied Bruce Power at the proposed site Friday touting the possibilities a nuclear plant could have for the surrounding communities, especially given that Ontario Power Generation's Nanticoke coal-fired generating station is slated to be closed by the province in 2014. The station employs 600 people.

"We need that power and it might as well be here," Finley said. "The real key here, apart from reliable, safe and affordable energy is the potential to create 1,000 jobs for 60 years."

Research out of Trent University projected the Nanticoke plant could also inject $550 million annually into the regional economy during construction and $152 million while in operation.

"There are a million spin offs like shopping in our stores, eating our food, moving into our area, more tourists," Trainer said.

Last year, both counties passed resolutions supporting an environmental assessment and asked the McGuinty government to consider Nanticoke as a potential new nuclear site. "If you look around you might not find a better site in Canada," said Duncan Hawthorne, Bruce Power's chief executive officer and president.

The isolated area within an already existing industrial area and close proximity to both Lake Erie and the existing 500 kV transmission grid that distributes to the rest of Ontario are all appealing factors for Bruce Power.

However, the government's energy plan only includes renewing its nuclear facilities at existing sites -- not building new ones.

The plant would provide the base load to the grid and look into other clean energy sources like hydrogen, solar and wind power as a complement to the facility.

Travale agreed with everyone that an environmental assessment is only the first step and the community's input is wanted.

"This is not an open and closed case," Travale said. "We've been presented an opportunity. Without getting too far ahead, the public will have an opportunity to have their say."

NUCLEAR PROPOSAL

Bruce Power announced Friday they are taking the first step, an environmental assessment, in their Nanticoke Nuclear Power Plant Project. Below is an outline of the plan.

- Two nuclear reactors generating 2,000 to 3,000 megawatts of low-emissions electricity to Ontario's energy grid.

- To be built on 800 hectares of land within the Lake Erie Industrial Park in Haldimand County, just 4 km west of the north-south provincial 500 kV transmission network.

- The environmental assessment will look at environmental and social impacts of a nuclear plant in Haldimand Norfolk and is slated to take three years.

- The plant, if it moves forward, could be producing energy in 2018, employing 1,000 people for 60 years.

- The environmental assessment is estimated to cost $30 million with the construction to cost an estimated $8 billion.

- The nuclear plant would provide the base load of energy demand and is looking to other clean energy sources like solar, wind and hydrogen to complement the facility.

- Research out of Trent University projected the Nanticoke plant could inject $550 million annually into the regional economy during construction and $152 million while in operation.

Article ID# 1278179

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