Nuclear key to Ontario prosperity

01 August 2018

The Ontario Chamber of Commerce (OCC) has called on the leaders of the Canadian province to leverage its nuclear sector as part of a blueprint to help keep Ontario "open for business". The report also aligns with government policy to support refurbishment and life extension work at Bruce and Pickering nuclear power plants.

Bruce Power's Ontario site (Image: Bruce Power)

Blueprint for making Ontario open for business is a 90-page collection of letters directly addressing each of the province's cabinet ministers, sent by the OCC on the 16 July resumption of the province's legislative session. The Ontario Progressive Conservative Party, which was elected to government in a general election held earlier this year, had centred its campaign message on a call to ensure that Ontario is "open for business", the OCC noted. The blueprint contains both immediate policy actions to support business and foundational recommendations for long-term prosperity.

Addressing Premier Doug Ford, the OCC said the nuclear fleet is one of Ontario's key advantages. "Not only does the nuclear industry contribute to the economy by providing less costly and more reliable electricity, it creates jobs across Ontario, it has a high-tech supply chain and contributes to health research and innovation through the development of critical isotopes," it said.

In its letter to Minister of Energy, Northern Development and Mines and Indigenous Affairs Greg Rickford, the OCC says this advantage could best be leveraged through the completion of the ongoing CAD12.8 billion (USD9 billion) refurbishment of Ontario Power Generation's Darlington nuclear power plant; moving forward with Bruce Power's Life-Extension Project; and the promotion of Ontario's nuclear expertise domestically and abroad.

"Strong, consistent government support for Ontario’s nuclear operations and supply chain through assured investment in our domestic technology and expertise is essential to establishing confidence in Canada’s nuclear products and services internationally. Your ministry should work with the federal government to ensure Canada remains a leader in nuclear expertise and innovation, and the nuclear sector continues to be an economic driver for Ontario," the OCC told Rickford.

Rickford on 17 July expressed his and the government's support for Bruce Power. "Bruce Power is an important producer of energy for our sector here in Ontario," Rickford said in answer to a question in the Legislature. "Our government will always support the work of private organisations … that are working to create good jobs, high techs jobs … in our province, while providing safe and secure access to energy. We are especially supportive of companies that achieve these goals without the need for public funding.

"By extending the life of these assets, they will not only generate low cost, reliable power through 2064, but will continue to supply 40% of the world's cobalt-60 … and be the largest producer of medical-grade cobalt used to treat brain tumours."

"We are providing all ministers with a blueprint for steps that can be taken to ensure we are growing Ontario’s economy and building shared prosperity for all," OCC President and CEO Rocco Rossi said. "Each ministry has a fundamental role to play in making Ontario open for business and we look forward to working with Premier Ford as well as his cabinet in achieving the policy commitments that support businesses across the province."

Researched and written by World Nuclear News