Nanticoke a potential nuclear site

31 October 2008

Bruce Power is to study the environmental impact of building a two-reactor nuclear power plant at Nanticoke in southern Ontario. The area is already home to a large coal-fired power plant, due to close down for environmental reasons.


EPR 2 
Decisions... ACR-1000, EPR and AP1000
The move was announced today by Bruce Power CEO Duncan Hawthorne, who said the environmental assessment would be a planning tool "to weigh the merits of building a clean energy hub on approximately 800 hectares within the Haldimand Industrial Park." The area is about 100 km south west of Toronto.


Hawthorne added that no decision to build would be taken until the assessment had progressed and Bruce Power had consulted the local community. Diane Finley, representing Haldimand-Norfolk and Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development applauded the potential new nuclear plan.


Both the Haldimand and Norfolk councils support the idea of the environmental assessment, as well as 80% of residents according to an Ipsos-Reid poll, Bruce Power said. The study will officially begin when a project description and site preparation licence application are accepted by the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC). Documents pertaining to those were submitted today.


It is the policy of Canada's Ontario province to construct some 14,000 MWe of new electrical generating capacity over the next 20 years. Nuclear power will make up a large part of this, while coal is phased out due to its carbon dioxide emissions, renewables are boosted and people adopt a culture of conservation.


However, Ontario's energy and infrastructure minister, George Smitherman, said of Bruce Power's plans, "It does not have government support in any form." According to The Canadian Press, he said in a luncheon speech, "It's a speculative move on the part of a private company designed to put pressure on downstream government policy. It doesn't enjoy the support, encouragement (or) approval, tacit or otherwise, of the government of Ontario."


Smitherman confirmed that Ontario is committed to keeping 50% of the province's energy supply in nuclear. However, he said, "There are a variety of ways that that can be achieved as we seek to rebuild our nuclear fleet." Smitherman added, "We have not encouraged or solicited a proposal that would add a new site in the province of Ontario for the purposes of nuclear power production."


Bruce said it was considering three reactor designs: Atomic Energy of Canada's ACR-1000, Areva's EPR and Westinghouse's AP1000. It would build 2200 to 3200 MWe of capacity on an 800 hectare portion of land situated about four kilometres west of the existing 500 kV transmission line. 


Already present in the area is Ontario Power Generation's 4000 MWe Nanticoke coal-fired power station. This plant is due to be shut down permanently around 2014 as part of Ontario's bid to cut carbon dioxide emissions. Any new nuclear facility at Nanticoke would not be operational before about 2020.


Separate from this project, Bruce Power is also proposing four new reactors alongside the eight at Bruce A and Bruce B, and a further four in Alberta at a site called Peace River.