OPG announcement a step in the right direction but it will take more than SMRs to deal with Ontario’s power needs
MISSISSAUGA, Ontario, Dec. 03, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The Society of Professional Engineers and Associates (SPEA) welcomed yesterday’s announcement that Ontario Power Generation has chosen a Small Modular Reactor (SMR) design to build on the Darlington site. “It’s great to see OPG embrace nuclear again after many years,” said Mark Chudak, President of SPEA. “However, they chose an American design while remaining silent on the need to install large capacity, locally developed CANDU reactors to replace the aging Pickering plant and if a suitable site were to be located for a new SMR design, priority should have been given to Canadian design.”
According to Chudak, “Nuclear is the lowest emission producing source of baseload power available. As former Natural Resources Minister Seamus O’Regan stated, ‘There is no path of net-zero without nuclear power.’” He went on to say, “CANDU technology was developed and improved over 60 years in Canada, by Canadians, largely funded by Canadian taxpayers. It has the best safety record in the industry and has been chosen by countries all over the world.”
SMR vary in size up to 300 MWe, while a nuclear plant the size of Pickering is currently operating at 3,100 MWe, down from its full capacity of 4,144KW. That would mean it would take at least 10-14 SMRs to replace the power produces from Pickering. Ontario currently relies on nuclear for 60% (or 87.8 TWh in 2020) of the electricity consumed. Nuclear power was one of the main reasons the province was able to close all coal generating plants. Nuclear power plants produce what is known as baseload power generation unlike renewables such as wind and solar is always available. Nuclear is carbon-free power unlike the alternative gas fired generating plants and are cheaper to operate on a per KWh basis.
“Ontario has a proven, reliable and safe nuclear solution in CANDU. It is time that both the provincial and federal governments recognize this and made the necessary investments to deliver the energy that Ontarians both now and the future,” said Chudak. “In order to meet our climate targets, we will need large capacity plants such as Darlington, Bruce and Pickering.”
According to a recent report from Clean Energy Canada, it would take more than a dozen power plants the size of Bruce to provide the clean energy necessary to meet climate targets. Global demand for nuclear is on the rise with countries such as China poised to build 130 nuclear power plant over the next two decades. Other countries such as Great Britain, France and the United States have indicated that they are prepared to make significant investments in nuclear to fight climate change.
Chudak closed by saying, “Canada has a homegrown solution to our need for clean, safe, reliable energy with CANDU technology. Our members are ready to provide the next generation of nuclear power all we need is the political leadership from the federal and provincial governments.”
The Society of Professional Engineers and Associates is an independent union representing engineers, scientists, technical and administrative staff, who work for Candu Energy Inc- Nuclear division of SNC-Lavalin (formerly Atomic Energy of Canada Limited (AECL) Candu division) in Mississauga, Ontario and abroad (excluding AECL Chalk River Laboratories). Formed in 1974, SPEA is one of the oldest professional unions in Canada.
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Michelle Duncan, Staff Representative