Just in, from OPG. Note that Pickering 4 was hours from first reconnection to the grid. The last time it was connected was Ap 2 1996.
Notes for Remarks by
Ronald W. Osborne
President and CEO
Chief Operating Officer
Nuclear Chief Operating Officer
Ontario Power Generation
To the Technical Briefing
Toronto, Ontario August 21, 2003
Subject to change upon delivery
Speaking Notes for Technical Briefing, August 21, 2003
Thank you, John. I would like to make a few opening remarks, and then Graham Brown will provide you with a synopsis of the status of our hydroelectric and fossil-fueled generating stations. Pierre Charlebois will then speak about the status of our nuclear stations. After that, we would be pleased to answer your questions.
From an OPG perspective, August 14th was truly an extraordinary event. No one can remember an occurrence that had such a significant impact on the power supply in the Province. When the electricity grid failed right across the northeastern part of North America, our employees immediately began implementing the actions necessary for returning each generating unit to service. They have been working flat out ever since to return the units and to keep them in service once reconnected to the grid. I am very proud of how they have responded to this emergency.
Our first priority immediately following the failure of the grid was to ensure all of our generating units were in a safe state. This was done very soon after the grid failed. In parallel, we set up emergency response teams at each of our facilities, all connected to the Corporate Emergency Centre here in Toronto. At the same time, we began the task of bringing back our units as quickly as possible.
Bringing back electricity generating units, and especially nuclear units, requires methodical, calm expertise and judgement by our licensed operators, station management and all the thousands of workers at our stations. They have years of education, training and experience. They are working as quickly as possible, and they are doing a great job, but there is nothing more important than doing the job safely.
Yesterday, questions were raised as to why OPG has not been providing updates on the status of its generating stations.
As I said, our focus over the past few days has been on getting our generating units back into service and reconnected to the grid. Every member of our senior management team has been dedicated to this. They were quickly dispatched to various sites, including the Corporate Emergency Centre.
Procedures were put in place by the province and the Independent Electricity Market Operator for the electricity industry to work through the IMO. The IMO, in turn, has the responsibility to communicate with the people of Ontario and with the government on the condition of the electricity system as a whole. Since the emergency began, we have been in constant contact with the IMO, regularly advising them of the status of all of our units.
At this time, I will ask Graham Brown to talk about our generating stations.
Let me start with the status of OPG's hydroelectric stations.
As Ron said, our recovery efforts began immediately after the grid failure. The first units that we were able to bring back were the hydroelectric stations. By midnight on Thursday we had essentially all of our hydroelectric stations reconnected to the grid.
We were able to keep some of these stations operating throughout the blackout within small transmission system "islands" - small portions of the grid that the IMO was able to isolate and keep operating. The electricity produced from these stations was very important in that it was used to support other stations - such as our Lambton coal-fired station and our gas-and-oil-fired Lennox station, both of which were restored to full availability within 24 hours.
Turning to our fossil-fired stations, most of our coal, oil and gas units returned quickly, although a grid failure is much harder on these plants than it is on hydroelectric units.
Our coal-fired station at Thunder Bay was restored on Thursday evening. Nanticoke units - which run on coal - and our Lennox units started to return shortly after midnight on Thursday. Lambton started to return by breakfast time on Friday. For Friday afternoon's peak, all Lambton and Lennox units were running, and by Friday evening four Nanticoke units were running.
Other Nanticoke units returned on Saturday and, as I speak, seven of the eight Nanticoke units are running. The coal-fired Lakeview station started to return on Sunday, and has one remaining unit scheduled to reconnect this weekend. The coal-fired station at Atikokan came early out of a planned outage and is on the grid.
In your information package you have detailed information on when our generating units were reconnected to the grid, and also how much generation was available on a daily basis.
This graph gives you a good sense of the speed of our response. It shows that by Thursday midnight we had almost 7,000 megawatts available, 31% of OPG's total generating capacity. Most of this was hydroelectric capacity.
By Friday, the restoration of our fossil-fired stations had gained momentum, and we had 12,700 megawatts of capacity available, 57% of our total generation portfolio.
You can see, day by day, how availability has improved, to the point where as of this morning, we have 17,800 megawatts available, representing 80% of our capacity.
Our hydroelectric and fossil station staff exercised their experience and skills in quickly restoring these units, and they have done an excellent job in keeping them going while they are running hard to help supply the province.
I would now like to call on Pierre Charlebois to talk about our nuclear stations.
When the electricity grid failed, OPG had 7 nuclear units operating -- four at Darlington and three at Pickering B. Pickering B Unit 7 was preparing to be connected to the grid, and Pickering A Unit 4 was just hours from its first reconnection to the grid.
Each of the seven operating stations instantaneously separated from the grid as they are designed to do in the event of a grid failure. The reactors were placed in one of the following three states:
a) The first is 60% reactor power -- in this state the reactor can start making electricity for the grid within minutes of receiving instruction from the IMO and have full power within 24 hours. One Darlington unit was placed in this state.
b) The second is zero reactor power -- in this state it takes approximately 40 hours before it can start producing electricity and another 20 hours to reach full production. Three Darlington units were placed in this state.
c) The third is the guaranteed shutdown state -- in this state it will take several days before it can be connected back to the grid. All four Pickering B units were placed into this state.
The current status of our nuclear units is as follows.
Darlington is operating all 4 units at 100% capacity. On Thursday evening, within six hours of the grid failure, Unit 3 was reconnected to the grid.
Unit 2 was reconnected to the grid on Sunday, August 17; and Units 1 and 4 were reconnected on Monday, August 18. All of the reconnections to the grid were done safely and in accordance with established procedures.
Let me now turn to the Pickering B units. Pickering units were more affected by the sudden loss of the grid and do not have the fast turnaround capability of Darlington. Our operators and shift management had no option but to put these units into the guaranteed shutdown state.
Unit 8 is currently scheduled to be reconnected on Friday, August 22; Unit 5 on Saturday, August 23; and Units 6 and 7 on Tuesday, August 26.
Please bear in mind that these reconnection dates are a forecast. The dates are later than our original forecast, but the reality is that mechanical issues have been discovered, likely because of the shutdown following the grid failure.
Bringing back nuclear units in a timely and safe manner is an extremely challenging and complex task. We are hopeful that the schedule I have just outlined will be realized. We live and work in this province and in this community. We too would like these units back as quickly as possible. However, we must ensure that we do it safely.
Ron Osborne will now conclude our opening remarks.
Thank you Graham and Pierre. We have tried to keep our remarks brief, and at this time we would be pleased to take your questions.