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[cdn-nucl-l] CNA Winter Meeting, nuclear power comeback?
Nothing works without electricity.
Nuclear power could be making a comeback
CanWest News Service, Thu 19 Feb 2004, Byline: Tom Spears, Ottawa Citizen
OTTAWA - Nuclear power could be making a comeback in North America,
according to those attending the Canadian Nuclear Association's seminar in
Ottawa this week.
``For the first time in a long time, nuclear is not looking like a pariah,
and not looking like a panacea,'' said Jeremy Whitlock, president of the
Canadian Nuclear Society. ``Lo and behold, it's looking like what it is -- a
strategic base-load supply for the future.''
The industry has seen bad times, with reactors closing and
multibillion-dollar cost overruns. But in Ontario, for example, where there
is concern about an approaching power shortage, where coal-fired power
plants are closing, and where it's prohibitive to buy billions of watts at a
time from the United States, nuclear energy could be a viable alternative.
Five of Ontario's 20 reactors are closed pending renovations that run $1
billion or more per reactor. Expansion could mean bringing those back to
service, or even building more.
The United States is looking toward nuclear power as well. While a new plant
hasn't been built since 1973, the U.S. nuclear industry expects to grow by
50 per cent in the next 20 years, said John Ritch, a former U.S. ambassador
to the United Nations, now director general of the World Nuclear
As for Canada, power shortages are what's fuelling another look at nuclear
resources. ``This winter, many provinces experienced record high peak
demands, up from any previous winters,'' said Rod White, vice-president of
New Brunswick Power and one of 440 delegates, including everyone from X-ray
technicians to representatives from Ontario Hydro, who are attending the
annual seminar. ``Supply deficiencies are expected in all Atlantic provinces
in the 2006 to 2010 period.''
Meanwhile, in Ontario, one large coal plant in Mississauga, near Toronto, is
expected to close next year. Premier Dalton McGuinty has said he intends to
shut down all the province's coal-burning power plants because they pollute.
``That gives you a 10,000-megawatt hole'' in our supply, or more than
one-third of what we use today, said Duncan Hawthorne, president of Bruce
The Bruce nuclear plant on Lake Huron is North America's largest. For years,
he said, speakers at every nuclear industry event have been predicting that
expansion is just around the corner.
``This time it really is the case,'' he said. ``But I'm not naive enough to
think we can just walk up and they (governments) will say, `Here's a
Hawthorne instructed industry reps to go out and earn public trust. They
can't do this by explaining nuclear technology ``because (most people) don't
want to hear it. They just want the light to go on.''
``You have to have a plan to ensure that (electricity) supply is available
to meet demand,'' said Murray Elston, the new president of the Canadian
Nuclear Association. This need for a steady supply plays to the nuclear
industry's strength, he said. ``Ultimately, we're good base-load generators.
We are very good from a safety standpoint. So I think there's an optimism
that we can come into the public view and be found a reasonable provider of
the security of energy that they're looking for.''
Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd. has recently built nuclear plants in China that
were on time and under budget, he added.