Ontario gets two nuclear-energy options – by Shawn McCarthy (Globe and Mail – June 28, 2013)

The Globe and Mail is Canada’s national newspaper with the second largest broadsheet circulation in the country. It has enormous influence on Canada’s political and business elite.

TORONTO — Two nuclear companies are submitting competing bids to sell Ontario two reactors as the province struggles to decide how best to provide cheap, clean, reliable power over the next 20 years.

Pittsburgh’s Westinghouse Electric Co. LLC and Mississauga-based Candu Energy Inc. are to provide their proposals Friday outlining their designs, prices and the economic benefits that would flow if they won a contract that would top $10-billion. Ontario Power Generation had set a June 30 deadline for the proposals.

Plagued by concerns about high capital costs and safety issues, the nuclear industry faces a tough challenge in persuading the Ontario government to invest in new reactors.

But proponents argue they can beat renewable power on reliability and price and natural gas on economic benefits to the province. They also point out that nuclear power plants emit no greenhouse gases.

“The only base-load source of generation that does not emit greenhouse gases is a nuclear power plant,” Westinghouse CEO Danny Roderick said in an interview during a visit to Toronto on Thursday.

He noted his company has more than 40 suppliers in Ontario that would benefit directly from a new reactor project.

“Nuclear provides energy security, economic security and environmental security,” he said.

The nuclear bids come as Premier Kathleen Wynne is revisiting a controversial energy strategy embraced by her predecessor, Dalton McGuinty. The Liberal government has been battered by the cancellation of two gas-fired plants that resulted in huge penalties. Last week Ms. Wynne scaled back a wind-energy contract with Samsung and faces political opposition to the placement of wind turbines and transmission lines.

Energy Minister Bob Chiarelli – who last month appeared to question the need for new reactors – said the province is now reviewing its long-term energy plan and remains committed to a “diversified and balanced supply mix.”

“No decisions have been made,” he said in an e-mailed statement.

The government’s previous plan committed to maintaining nuclear power at 50 per cent of the province’s electricity capacity. At that rate, and with the planned closing of the Pickering nuclear station in 2020, new reactors would be required within a decade unless power demand is reduced dramatically.

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