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Companies that supply Canada’s nuclear industry still hope Ontario will build new reactors
Canada’s nuclear industry isn’t taking the province’s decision to scrap plans for two new reactors as final, says the spokesman for nuclear suppliers. “I think the province will, in a year or two years time, once again open the file and look at new construction,” said Ron Oberth of the Organization of Canadian Nuclear Industries.
Oberth expressed the hope in an interview after speaking to the Toronto Star’s editorial board. Energy minister Bob Chiarelli said earlier this month that Ontario won’t proceed with two new reactors at Ontario Power Generation’s Darlington nuclear station.
“It is not wise to spend billions and billions of dollars in new nuclear when that power is not needed,” Chiarelli said.
Over-all demand on Ontario’s power grid dropped 10 per cent from 2005 to 2012. (The figures don’t capture power supplied from some renewable energy projects).
But Oberth said he sees an increasing need for power to fuel a recovering economy in Ontario.
“Longer term the demand for power is increasing – not as quickly as we might like, but we don’t see anything in our province that’s going to lower the demand,” he said.
“And when I see the potential for the Ring of Fire, and the demand that’s going to come out of that, and with a rejuvenation of our manufacturing sector, hopefully we can start to grow that power sector again.”
(The Ring of Fire is a deposit of chromite and other minerals now being developed in northwestern Ontario.)
Oberth noted that along with higher demand, the province will see the shut-down of the Pickering nuclear station, which produces about 3,000 megawatts of power, at the end of this decade. That could sharpen the need for new supply, he argued.
The latest update of Ontario’s long term energy plan, due to be released soon, will contain the province’s demand projections, though predicting energy needs in the mid to long term has proven notoriously difficult.
Chiarelli has said that conservation and restraining demand for power will be the province’s priority, ahead of building new generators.
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