Two new nuclear plants proposed for Nanticoke: Plan explained at Langton meeting Jeff Helsdon - March 3, 2009

Is a Nanticoke nuclear plant part of the ticket for revitalization of the area?

About 30 people came to the Langton Community Centre Monday night for a meeting with Duncan Hawthorne, president and CEO of Bruce Power. Langton Lions hosted the meeting. The company is looking at the possibility of building two nuclear units at Nanticoke that would generate 2,200 to 3,200 megawatts of electricity.

Bruce Power currently has an option on 900 acres in the Lake Erie Industrial Park, close to the existing coal-fired Nanticoke Generating Station.

Bruce Power is Canada’s first private nuclear generating company and the current owner of the Bruce Nuclear Power Development, north of Kincardine. That plan is the source of more than 20 per cent of Ontario’s electricity.

Hawthorne explained the reason the company is looking into building a facility is that there is a gap between the amount of power planned for the future and what is needed. He hopes a nuclear plan at Nanticoke would help fill the gap.

It is proposed the facility would be more than a nuclear plant - a clean energy hub with hydrogen, wind and solar.

An environmental assessment, which is expected to take three years to complete, is underway.

The construction of the plant would see an investment of $12 billion. It would create $8 million in local taxes, 1,400 jobs, boost property prices and bolster the local economy.

Those against the plant were plainly obvious in the audience. A representative of the Clean Air Alliance was handing out information about nuclear and the cost overruns associated with past projects.

Citing those nuclear cost overruns, Langton-area resident Dolf Wynia asked how competitive nuclear would be and if cheaper power was available from the United States.

Hawthorne answered Ontario’s electricity prices are the lowest in North America. As an example, Hawthorne said his company is paid $110/MW for wind power generated at the Bruce facility and $50/MW for nuclear.

“The one thing that is guaranteed to boost your power prices is to invest in wind farms,” he said. “It’s not investing in nuclear.”

Saying he is an advocate of a mixed power supply, Hawthorne said power from water (like Niagara Falls) is the cheapest, followed by coal and then nuclear.

Another member of the audience wanted to know where the spent nuclear waste would be stored and if taxpayers would be on the hook for a storage facility.

Hawthrone said the spent waste is stored on-site for the first 150 years and then moved. The generators, not the taxpayers, carry the cost of disposal. He also pointed out all countries in the world, with the exception of Canada and the United States, reprocess the spent fuel to derive more energy from it.

Another question was what the emissions would be from the plant. Hawthorne said there would be no carbon dioxide emissions and a cooling tower would be built so the lake water wouldn’t be warmed.

By the end of the year, the company will have an answer on whether or not the site is suitable for a nuclear facility.

They will also have made a decision on which of three possible models of reactors they would use.

“My message to people has been anything you think is an issue, bring it up and someone will come up with an answer,” Hawthorne said.

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