Opinion written for Canadian Community News by Mike Sterling
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The following letter was published in the Barrie Examiner and distributed world-wide by a news scan on nuclear power. It is worth reading. It's a concise summary of costs and speaks to the environmental issues. To continue the energy program that eliminated coal, we need the DGR projects that have been long studied to come to fruition over time. DGRs are part of the nuclear cycle.
Local groups who support putting a 'stopper in the bottle' by fighting deep storage of waste are in essence making us less safe and they put our productivity at risk.
The Barrie Examiner
Thank you for the opportunity to respond to Peter Bursztyn’s letter regarding the cost of electricity, specifically his false claims that Bruce Power is a leading cause of rising prices.
The fact is Bruce Power nuclear is the second-most affordable provider of electricity in Ontario, next to hydroelectric.
The private company, which leases the Bruce nuclear site near Kincardine, annually provides 30% of Ontario’s power at 30% less than the average residential price of electricity.
In 2015, the company was paid $63 per megawatt/hour (MW/h) through its contract with the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO), while the average residential price was almost $100 MW/h. In fact, in 2015, wind generation received $119 MW/h, natural gas $199 MW/h and solar $501 MW/h, considerably more than Bruce Power nuclear. In other words, if you received 100% of your electricity from Bruce Power, your bill would immediately drop by 30%.
Mr. Bursztyn also claims the agreement Bruce Power signed with the IESO last December, to refurbish six of its eight units over the next two decades, will negatively impact Ontario ratepayers. This is also incorrect.
Every dollar of the $13 billion that will be invested into the nuclear refurbishment on the Bruce site will come from the private sector, not the taxpayer.
Bruce Power has, through its long-term contract with the provincial government, assumed 100% of the financial risk, meaning if the project goes over-budget, not one dollar will be covered by the people of Ontario. There are also off-ramps built into the contract that will allow the government to end the refurbishment program should the electricity market change during the project.
The added bonus of Bruce Power’s role in the market is the people of Ontario still own the nuclear facilities, while the company pays millions annually in rent to the province, while also assuming all waste and eventual decommissioning costs.
Another benefit is the 5,000 direct and indirect jobs that will annually be created by refurbishment, as well as the $1 billion in annual economic investment in Ontario’s economy that will occur during this 20-year period.
The writer also claims nuclear units are not ‘load following,’ meaning they can’t ramp up or down depending on market demand. This is also false.
Bruce Power is the only nuclear provider in Canada that provides 2,400 megawatts of flexible generation to the grid. If demand is low, Bruce Power can reduce its output as requested by the IESO. If demand is high, it reliably generates 6,300 megawatts from its eight units, ensuring the people of Ontario always have the electricity they require.
Bruce Power does all this while also generating zero carbon emissions. When it returned four nuclear units to service from 2003-12, Bruce Power provided 70% of the electricity Ontario needed to shut down its dirty coal plants. The result has been a drastic reduction in summer smog days (zero in 2015), resulting in cleaner air, billions in savings to the province’s healthcare system and an improved quality of life for residents of Ontario.
James Scongack, Bruce Power
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Tuesday, May 24, 2016