November 7, 2013 – Toronto, ON Last month, on the day after the Future of Nuclear 2013 Conference in Toronto, Ontario Energy Minister Bob Chiarelli made an announcement, “New nuclear will not be part of Ontario’s new Long Term Energy Plan.” He continued, “Sometime in the future, we might look at building new nuclear, but it will not be included in this review,”.
This begs the question. How long is the “long” in the Long Term Energy Plan. At our conference we’ve seen that realistically energy mix changes play out over decades and the most interesting perspectives and lessons are learned when taking an even longer time frame of a century or more. Certainly the people in Durham and the more than 20,000 employed by nuclear industry in Ontario are interested to know when new build might be appropriate.
Answers to these questions were provided by Amir Shalaby, VP of Power System Planning, Ontario Power Authority, at a breakfast in Durham yesterday. A full story may be viewed by clicking this link to the Oshawa Express.
Summarizing, at the DSEA breakfast, Shalaby laid out three criteria that must be satisfied for the new build to reappear on the province’s radar.
“If the situation three years from now or five years from now demonstrates high need for electricity in Ontario, more than the capability we have in the province, then that’s one factor,” explains Shalaby. “The other one is confidence in the project management and execution capability of the industry to bring in projects on budget and on cost. Complex projects have commercial risks and commercial consequences that are of concern to the province and others if they’re not done right.”
When asked how much demand would be required to justify a new build at Clarington, Shalaby called an increase of 20 terawatt hours to be a good start. By the Ministry of Energy’s estimate, Ontario uses 140 terawatt hours of power annually. In other words, the province’s energy needs would have to jump by nearly 15 per cent.
The new build is/was only one element of Ontario’s nuclear strategy though, notes Shalaby. In Durham, there is still the refurbishment of Darlington’s existing reactors and the continued operation of Pickering’s nuclear generating station. The continued safe operation of existing plants should be another priority for the nuclear industry, says Shalaby.
The third issue would be the effectiveness and efficiency of nuclear power compared to what else is available.
“The one good thing in Ontario is we have a lot of options,” says Shalaby. “Natural gas is a good option, imports from Quebec are a good option, efficiency is a good option, renewables are coming down in cost. So there’s a lot to choose from.”
Thank you to the Oshawa Express for reporting this story and providing the quotes.