Alberta Politics
Russia’s Akademik Lomonosov, probably the world’s only working “small modular reactor” (Photo: Rosatom).

The economics of small nuclear reactors, touted by Jason Kenney as a ‘game changer,’ just don’t add up

Posted on August 12, 2020, 12:42 am
14 mins

When Alberta Premier Jason Kenney says small nuclear reactors “could be a game changer in providing safe, zero-emitting, baseload power in many areas of the province,” as he did Sunday in a tweet, he’s pulling your leg.

For a variety of economic and technical reasons, the scenario Mr. Kenney described while re-tweeting a CBC story about his announcement that Alberta intends to sign onto the three-province effort to develop small nukes is unlikely ever to occur.

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney (Photo: David J. Climenhaga).

Mr. Kenney and his government’s officials certainly know this.

This is not a judgment call on whether “small modular reactors” — as the companies proposing manufacturing these things prefer to call them to sooth a public skittish about the word “nuclear” — will perform as advertised. Small nuclear reactors can be built and should be able to be operated reasonably safely.

Nor is it a call on whether nuclear power is the solution to a warming planet or a dystopian nightmare with the potential to make things even worse. There are reasonable voices on both sides of that debate.

The problem is that the economics of the scheme described by Mr. Kenney just don’t add up.

Consider these facts:

As long as natural gas is cheap and plentiful, small nuclear reactors will not make economic sense.

Except in a few locations like very remote mines, small nuclear reactors will never make sense from an economic standpoint as long as natural gas is readily available and inexpensive, as it is now in Canada and will likely remain.

Even a modular reactor built by a mature industry selling lots of units would cost more to build and run than a natural-gas powered plant. And right now, there is no approved small reactor design anywhere in the West, and no mature industry to make them.

Alberta Energy Minister Sonya Savage: Photo: David J. Climenhaga).

Even if this idea is not just a pipedream, no electrical utility is ever going to buy one unless they are forced to by government policy or regulation — the kind Alberta’s United Conservative Party purports to be opposed to. Nor will any bitumen mining company.

Probably the only way to make these things competitive would be to impose a stiff carbon tax that vastly increases the price of natural gas.

Small nuclear reactors are not necessarily as cheap to build as nuclear fairy tales like the premier’s suggest.

Creating an acceptable small nuclear reactor design all the way from the drawing board to approval by a national nuclear regulatory authority will cost hundreds of millions of dollars.

While dozens of speculative companies are printing colourful brochures with pretty pictures of little nukes being trucked to their destinations, very few are serious ventures with any possibility of building an actual reactor. The UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency says diplomatically there are about 50 concepts “at different stages of development.” Those that are serious, like NuScale Power in the United States, have huge amounts of government money behind them.

The only small nuclear reactor plant known to be operating in the world now is the Akademik Lomonosov, Russia’s floating power barge with two 35-megawatt reactors aboard. From an original estimate of $140 million US in 2006, its cost had ballooned to $740 million when the vessel was launched last year.

Operational costs are bound to be higher because it floats, but the kind of small reactors Mr. Kenney is talking about won’t be cheap by any yardstick.

Small reactors are less economical to run than big reactors.

If a reactor is only producing 300 MW of electricity compared to 800 MW or more, it’s not going to generate as much profit for its private sector owners. This is why all reactors getting built nowadays in the world are large — 1,000 to 1,600 MW.

Ontario Power Generation Inc.’s eight operational reactors at the Bruce Nuclear Generating Station on Lake Huron can produce a combined 6,200 MW. The eight reactors at the Pickering NGS near Toronto have combined output of 3,100 MW.

This is why nobody wanted to buy the scaled-down CANDU-3 reactor, development of which was paid for by Canadian taxpayers in the 1980s. At 300 MW, CANDU-3s were just too small for commercial viability. A working CANDU-3 has never been built.

The cost of small reactors would have to come down significantly to change this. And remember, the research and development requirements of small reactors are just as high as for big ones. With nobody manufacturing modules, there are no existing economies of scale. In other words, dreamy brochures about the future of small reactors are just that — dreams.

By the way, in 2011 the Harper Government privatized the best commercial assets of Crown-owned Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd., to … wait for it … SNC-Lavalin Group Ltd. Think about that every time you hear Conservatives in Ottawa screeching about the goings on at SNC-Lavalin!

Small reactor designs mostly require enriched uranium, and Canada doesn’t produce any.

In the Alberta government’s news release, Energy Minister Sonya Savage was quoted saying “Alberta’s rich uranium deposits … could make us an attractive destination to develop and deploy SMRs.”

Not really.

With one exception, all current small reactor designs use enriched uranium, and Canada doesn’t produce any. So if we adopted a lot of the small reactors being touted by Premier Kenney right now, we’d be putting our energy supply in the hands of foreigners.

The 6,200 MW Bruce Nuclear Generating Station on Lake Huron (Photo: Chuck Szmurlo, Creative Commons).

Would putting a large percentage of our national power needs directly in the hands of other countries be sound policy from the standpoint of security or sovereignty? Not if you’ve been paying attention!

The only exception is the CANDU-3, which SNC-Lavalin recently rebranded as the CANDU-SMR, which can run on naturally occurring uranium like that found in Alberta.

Global uranium markets are already saturated, so there’s no way this will become a new resource industry for Alberta.

Don’t expect a boom in uranium mining in Alberta, either. There’s a worldwide glut of the stuff. Prices are low. (Sound familiar?) Existing suppliers have invested billions to mine high-grade deposits, and even that production is fetching only depressed prices.

So nobody’s interested in creating new uranium mines in Alberta, probably ever.

Small reactors might be safer than big reactors, but we don’t really know that.

Mr. Kenney and Ms. Savage talk about small reactors as if it were a fact they’re safer than big reactors. Maybe they are. But we don’t really know that because nobody but the Russians actually seems to have built one, and in most cases they haven’t even been designed.

Remember, the Russians’ small reactors are both on a barge. For what it’s worth, critics have called it “Floating Chernobyl.”

However safe they are designed to be, small reactors won’t be safe without public regulation.

This is an important consideration. The safety of electricity generation projects regardless of what kind of fuel they use needs to be watched over by accountable, responsible, and, yes, properly paid public employees.

A typical advertising brochure picture of a small reactor being trucked somewhere with fantastic ease (Image: Tecnatom SA).

This runs counter to the philosophy of all four provincial governments involved in the interprovincial effort to encourage the development of small nukes.

With the potential effects of a nuclear disaster so long lasting, can we trust industry to regulate itself? More importantly, can we trust a UCP government not to hand regulation of these plants to the for-profit companies that would operate them?

Then there’s still the matter of waste disposal.

Nuclear plants don’t produce a lot of waste by volume, but what there is sure has the potential to cause problems for a very long time. Thousands of years and more. So safe storage is an issue with small nukes, just like it is with big ones.

Where are we going to store the waste from all these wonderful small nuclear reactors Mr. Kenney is talking about?

Canada created the Nuclear Waste Management Organization to find a “willing host community” for a deep geological repository capable of storing nuclear waste for thousands of years. Almost nobody wants the stuff, for obvious reasons. Does any Alberta community want to put up its hand?

More research and development work is required on the fuel cycle for some SMR technologies,” the UN’s IAEA notes cautiously.

Alternatively, spent fuel could be reprocessed in fast reactors. But why do that when natural uranium prices, just like oil prices, are in the bargain basement, making fast reactors uneconomical? What are we going to do to raise prices? Build a uranium pipeline?

So what gives?

None of this sounds like the basis of an exciting new industry for Alberta. On the contrary, there’s a whiff of scam about the whole effort to proselytize the idea of a small reactor manufacturing industry, which wouldn’t be located in Alberta anyway, and more uranium mining, which isn’t going to happen.

The timing of last Friday’s announcement was certainly intended as a distraction from a political embarrassment the day before.

But arguably the whole memorandum of understanding is a distraction too, a way to tell citizens and foreign investors fretting about global climate change, “Don’t worry about it, we’re working on it.” That’s less embarrassing than admitting that we’re doing very little to reduce CO2 emissions.

Ontario has a big nuclear industry with lots of private employers and a large workforce, so for a modest investment it looks good for Premier Doug Ford to sign on.

How many jobs is it likely to create here in Western Canada? Well, Saskatchewan’s Ministry of the Environment recently posted a job for a “Director of SMRs.” That person will supervise four people. That’s probably about it for the foreseeable future.

If Alberta ends up with the same number of people working on this, we’ll be lucky.

38 Comments to: The economics of small nuclear reactors, touted by Jason Kenney as a ‘game changer,’ just don’t add up

  1. Dave

    August 12th, 2020

    If our premier keeps on going nuclear, people are going to start calling him Little Kenney and the Dear Leader. Wait – what, they already do?

    I suppose this nuclear thing is a real long stretch especially for Alberta and probably a sign of desperation for Kenney or the UCP great thinkers who have already run out of good ideas At least Ontario already has a nuclear industry and Saskatchewan has uranium mines, so this makes slightly more sense for them.

    Perhaps, this is also some clever way to try green the oilsands industry and try to reduce carbon emissions in its production. Whatever the case is, it sure seems like the UCP is going off madly in all directions these days, without anything to really show for it.

    In less than a month we seem to have gone from coal to nuclear as economic development plans non stop without taking a moment at reality. Gee, I wonder where the Kenney UCP crazy train will go next?

    Reply
    • Bob Raynard

      August 12th, 2020

      “have already run out of good ideas”

      I love your including the word ‘good’. I am imagining it in a government press release – we are out of good ideas, so we are working on the mediocre ones now.

      Reply
  2. Just Me

    August 12th, 2020

    A couple of decades ago, when Pakistan detonated a nuclear weapon in an underground test, they proudly declared to the world that they were a nuclear power equal to their belligerent rival, India. The then Pakistani PM alluded to the nuclear weapon being his nation’s “Viagra”.

    It appears that Kenney, no doubt feeling inadequate, being a single, childless, chaste, middle-aged man and all, is taking a page from the despot’s handbook: when you’re feeling limp, go nuclear.

    Small reactors are useful for research purposes, experiments that advance scientific progress. Since Kenney has no interest in the sciences in any respect, it’s clear that this will not be a small reactor. To generate electricity of any significance requires a substantial and expensive facility; a small reactor is not going to cut it and will be a complete waste of money.

    So, public money will be used to build a huge nuclear reactor, which will cost billions upon billions to not only build, but also to operate throughout its life. Nuclear energy requires enormous subsidies of public money to exist. Since other nations use their respective nuclear industries to serve their national defence interests, Kenney intends to use this giant chunk of crazy to serve Alberta’s defence interest against whatever imagined enemies he thinks are a threat.

    Spending billions just so Kenney can get it up? The crazy is just ramping up.

    Reply
  3. ronmac

    August 12th, 2020

    Let’s face it. Ever since the dawn of the nuclear age, the nuclear industry has been selling a utopian vision of cheap, limitless energy. Except it has never worked out that way. Nuclear energy has turned out to be bulky and expensive. Now they are jumping on the green bandwagon.

    Reply
  4. Anonymous

    August 12th, 2020

    It’s no surprise that the UCP is constantly going in a backwards direction. First it’s a return to polluting coal, and now it’s with nuclear power. Albertans were already down this road before, when the Alberta PCs tried to pursue nuclear power. Albertans were smart enough to reject the idea. There is no guarantees that there won’t be any risks from nuclear power plants, no matter how large or how small that facilities are. Remember Chernobyl? The contamination from that nuclear disaster is still present. Fukushima is another one that should come to people’s minds. The Pacific Ocean has had radiation in it from the Fukushima nuclear power plant disaster. It did affect marine life. The UCP also has a shabby environmental regulations policy. It’s a chip of the old Alberta PC block, who also never gave a darn about the environment since King Ralph was the boss of Alberta. If something goes awry, who will be held accountable? Who? Knowing the UCP, like King Ralph did, they will put this in place, without even giving Albertans any say about the matter. This is something that isn’t well thought out, and I’d be very leery about it. The question was raised before. Where would this nuclear waste be stored? This isn’t a good idea at all, and it’s hard to convince anyone with even the faintest bit of common sense, otherwise.

    Reply
  5. Bob Raynard

    August 12th, 2020

    I suspect David is correct about Kenney’s announcement being a distraction. Nothing gets people’s concern up like mentioning nuclear.

    In addition to David’s criticism of the possibilities of electricity from SMRs, I would add to the debate the fact that Brookfield Renewable Partners has announced they are directing their future growth plans toward solar generation, citing ongoing steep cost declines for the technology, efficiency gains, and longer asset lifespans.

    Contrary to what you may hear from the right wing media, the sun does in fact shine everyday. Sometimes clouds are in the way, but solar energy does still get through.

    Reply
    • Murphy

      August 12th, 2020

      No big deal for output to drop 75% or more in cloudy conditions, solar it shall be! All the media is right-wing, including the “progressive” media. Green New Deal is just “sacred science”, to use Robert Lifton’s term, to support another totalitarian hierarchical economic system.

      Reply
      • Kang

        August 15th, 2020

        Murphy: You are wrong on the solar photovoltaic output. During the day, the solar PV systems now operating in Alberta seldom run at less than 60% of their capacity, even in cloudy weather. However, they only account around one-percent of grid scale generation. In California solar PV accounts for an even smaller part of their grid supply. So when you read in the California papers the rolling blackouts are the result of cloudy weather, this is just the lazy media at work. Some 36% of California’s electricity is imported and some of that comes from BC Hydro. Their ISO simply could not purchase enough electricity to maintain their operating buffer.
        http://www.caiso.com/TodaysOutlook/Pages/default.aspx

        Reply
      • Kang

        August 15th, 2020

        Apologies, I should have pointed out the link I supplied to the California ISO is “live” and changes with the time of day. So if you check in the afternoon, you will see solar PV is supplying 7,000 MW of 44,000 MW demand. Coal is at zero. Much like Alberta, about half the electricity is being produced with natural gas. Renewables are at 23%, nuclear down from 8% this AM to 5%. Imports down from about 35% this AM to just 8.3% this afternoon at 16:20.

        Reply
  6. Patricia Hughes-Fuller

    August 12th, 2020

    It never stops…. His next scheme will be using abandoned wells to store nuclear waste. Just watch….

    Reply
    • David Climenhaga

      August 12th, 2020

      Well, in fact, there’s a patent for that! DJC

      Reply
  7. Abs

    August 12th, 2020

    Just think of all the abandoned mines in Alberta that could be used to stash a few barrels of nuclear waste here, a few barrels there, preferably next to a national park. I hear there are some provincial parks and crown land laying idle that could be upcycled into something useful
    and profitable by UCP donors, friends and family. Come on down to Special JK’s NukesRUs. Ask for the “Golden Fleece” special.

    Any opportunity to squander huge amounts of money from the Treasury helps move the great UCP-Alberta enema in the right direction.

    But there’s no money to reduce school class sizes for safety during a pandemic, because times are tough (and kids don’t vote or donate to political campaigns). Meanwhile, the list of public schools across the province hosting bottle drives for PPE grows embarrassingly long. School councils used to raise money for things like playground equipment and water bottle refilling stations. Now it’s hand sanitizer. My, how times change. Crochety Grandpa Simpson should probably yell at a cloud over this.

    If only schools could be upcycled to generate a profit for UCP donors, friends and families…where there’s a will, there’s a UCP way!

    Reply
  8. Bret Larson

    August 12th, 2020

    So what you’re saying is that green energy is not economical? I’d call that ironic but it’s probably just partisan.

    Reply
    • Abs

      August 12th, 2020

      So what you’re saying is that a straw man is made out of straw? It’s ironic, but straw and manure make garden compost.

      Reply
      • Bret Larson

        August 12th, 2020

        His whole post is literally based on the poor economics of it.

        Reply
    • Murphy

      August 12th, 2020

      The term “economical” is a thought-terminating cliché. The trade in hydrocarbons over the last hundred years was entirely dependent upon the trillions spent on the Anglo-US military apparatus required to manage supply and demand. If the system is to be re-jigged to fight “climate change”, then so it shall be, just as it was re-jigged to fight “communism”, although the current global “War on Covid” seems to have eclipsed the “War to End All Carbon Emissions”. The Covid thing may produce better mileage for the time being while the sorting out of China is managed.

      Reply
      • Bret Larson

        August 12th, 2020

        I’m slowly warming to your posting style. I actually understood more than one word this time and perhaps a portion of your argument. I agree economics is mutable. And it’s mutability is based on what people value. Then you have to get into why people valve the specific commodity or service, not just acknowledge that it has been desired. In the case of hydrocarbons, it’s because they are a strategic commodity. So yes, the us war machine and congress have poured money into having this strategic commodity readily available, one reason why the us is exporting gasoline currently. Also, much like the MAD doctrine they have prepared for war and so have been able to avoid full scale wars. That is a good thing. But the above implies a segue which I’ll leave to you.

        Reply
        • Murphy

          August 13th, 2020

          The money was not poured into the military in order to have hydrocarbons “readily available”. The money went into controlling the supply of oil and gas around the globe, from the time of the Great War, as a means of controlling a global empire. In 1914 the British deployed 2nd Batallion of the Dorset regiment to Iraq in order to gain control of the oil near Basra. They were eventually joined by dozens of British regiments. The British overthrew the government of Persia in 1921 to ensure their control of Persian oil. This was on behalf of Lord Strathcona of the Last Spike’s Anglo-Persian oil company. The US Marines were deployed at the site of Standard’s oil refinery in China in 1927. The US Marines likewise invaded Vera Cruz in 1914 to maintain US control of oil. The US overthrew the government of Iran in 1953 when the British proved incapable, again to maintain control of oil concessions. More recent examples include the 27-person genocide in Kosovo that resulted in the US Camp Bondsteel set up astride a major energy corridor into Southern Europe. The US has armed Israel and used the Jewish supremacist state as a hammer to destabilize the oil-producing countries of the Middle-east. This includes going so far as to fly US A-4 Skyhawks to Israel to be repainted with Stars of David and immediately deployed after massive Israeli losses, and flying Israeli commandos to Fort Bragg to be trained and supplied with TOW missiles, then flown right back to destroy Arab tanks in 1973. The Anglo-US intelligence apparatus operated Saddam Hussein as an asset from the 1950s, and supplied him with all manner of military technology to fight Iran and keep the region destabilized after 1979. Even the Ayatollah Khomeini was set up as a poison pill by the CIA when it became obvious that they could no longer control Iran’s oil using the Shah. The idea that the US has maintained some kind of MAD doctrine which avoided war is entirely unsupportable. Full-scale wars with the US have been an impossibility since Hiroshima in 1945, but the US is consistently attacking every single country that deviates from the US petro-dollar system, with terrorism, insurgencies, embargoes, coups, colour revolutions, etc. The trail of creepy propagandists for Harpo and Tailgunner Jay leads right back to Virginia, because we too, are a shabby Petrostan.

          Reply
          • Bret Larson

            August 13th, 2020

            Im well versed in history. However your take on real politic is misguided. I agree, peoples like to defend themselves and throughout history jurisdictions have had to defend themselves from other jurisdictions.

            One main avenue to do this is to have military commodities readily available. Your dismissive take on the behaviour that goes along with this process is juvenile in my opinion. When I was 12 I decided never to vote NDP for a similar rational. The conventional military buildup in Europe was extreme. MAD was the economical solution, I believe instituted by Roosevelt. The NDP did not want nuclear weapons in Canada. As far as Im concerned, this is the anti-vaxer argument that people like to laugh about with a tinge of moral superiority thrown in. We can choose not to participate in defending ourselves because our allies will defend us anyways.

            This is part of the “being evicted from Eden” mythology. Your specific attack on the current run of US interventions is likely from the same place as the defund the police angst, a feel good response that nobody really wants. I dont agree with them either, but Im not sure whats better.

    • Slo Poke

      August 12th, 2020

      Excellent but specious hyperbolic extrapolation there, Bret.
      Nuclear energy isn’t green.
      The only thing going for nuke is that no CO2 is produced from the generation of electricity.
      Leaving waste that is dangerous for thousands of years is not green.

      Reply
  9. Scotty on Denman

    August 12th, 2020

    I think DJC is correct: this baby-reactor ploy is just a distraction that avails the many, many questions about the nuclear option to obfuscate a number of embarrassments glowing red-hot in the UCP’s Alberta right now.

    Thank you for reminding of Harper’s shady deal with SNC-Lavalin to deprive us citizens of our publicly-owned Atomic Energy enterprise. Hypocrisy goes ‘nucular’ in that sad story.

    The Russians are way, way out ahead with Alice-Cooperesque baby-nuke technology, but not so many floating ones as there used to be: hundreds of decommissioned small reactors are quietly reacting on the bottom of the Arctic Ocean where Soviet-era naval ships and subs have been scuttled—and will be for thousands of years. On land, the Soviet-era Ukrainian town of Chernobyl still produces electricity from its remaining reactors, but also turns a tidy profit chartering guided tours of the largely devastated facility, vacant city streets, haunted schools, hospitals, markets and apartment buildings abandoned after the issue of safe disposal of radioactive waste came up—all in a day, decades ago. Always admired those glowing faces in Stalinesque propaganda art: now they’re actually real in the former Soviet republic. Legacy, baby, legacy!

    So, so, so many questions: would that pipeline actually be built from Alberta uranium or just pipe the diluted ore? Either way, I imagine it could employ a lot of people if they can pay for it.

    So here’s to the glowing green ingot down the back of Homer’s shirt: it’s time to get back to the nuclear family in the bitumen-powered pickup truck. Piece of yellow cake, anyone?

    Reply
    • David Climenhaga

      August 12th, 2020

      Piece of yellow cake! You crack me up. You really should have your own blog. DJC

      Reply
    • Bret Larson

      August 12th, 2020

      I prefer pie. You know the ones that grow, so you don’t have to fight over the crumbs.

      Reply
      • Purple Library Guy

        August 13th, 2020

        Ah, yes, or rising tides, that lift all boats. How’s that been working out for us? Oh yeah, turns out the ones at the top took all the tide and pie for themselves because they’ve never heard of the word “enough”. What “trickles down” is mostly propagandists pissing on our heads and telling us it’s raining.
        The fact is that the way investment and profit maximization work are not pie-size dependent; a bigger piece of profit by minimizing expenses (eg wages, safety regulations) is always bigger, so the crumbs of the poor will always be shrunk just as small as investors can get away with, no matter how big the whole becomes. Changing the size they can get away with, or just who gets to decide, is a matter of politics more than economics.

        Reply
        • Bret Larson

          August 13th, 2020

          So far so good in my understanding. Starvation dropping around the globe. Costs of living have never been more affordable. Availability to ideas and information never better.

          Market economies and global trade have raised billions of people out of subsistence existences.

          All because of Democracy and Capitalism.

          Reply
          • Anonymous

            August 16th, 2020

            Bret Larson: Costs of living aren’t more affordable. It’s getting worse.

    • Abs

      August 12th, 2020

      At least we know why Jason Kenney is so eager to get to Tidewater: to dump that nuclear waste in the ocean, just like Russia, but up around Haida Gwaii.

      https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ocean_disposal_of_radioactive_waste#North-West_Pacific_Ocean_dump_sites_of_the_Soviet_Union,_Japan,_Russia,_and_Korea

      And if he can’t have it that way, there’s the Conoco way.

      https://patents.justia.com/patent/5202522

      Reclamation of abandoned wells — yeehaw! Let’s start “givener”, UCP style. You don’t think the War Room was all for naught, do you?

      Reply
  10. Bruce Turton

    August 12th, 2020

    Elsewhere there was an idea about developing and deploying small scale geothermal plants in neighbourhoods, towns, and villages all over the place. These produce electricity or heating and cooling for many homes or businesses. But, but, but….. Silly me! This is renewables stuff in the great province of denial!!! Yes, there are problems about drilling in many areas of the province and within or near towns and cities. Yes, there is the problem of long term use of sites as they cool down from prolonged use. Yes, there is the problem of ownership and possibly taking revenues away from the big electricity and natural gas providers. Always problems, so let us not go anywhere near ideas that might just help reduce emissions from extraction and burning of tar and other fossil fuels. (This is NOT a dig at the ‘idea’ of small nuclear reactors! Besides, geothermal is not prone to radioactive material surpluses that need disposal somewhere “safe”, and god only knows where that is! NIMBY on that one.)

    Reply
  11. Roger

    August 13th, 2020

    Re the Sask gov’t looking for a leader of the 4 person department on small nukes. I expect to see a new panel, commission, or whatever, put together by the U Corrupt Party. Of course it will be filled with Dear Leader supporters, insiders, party hacks, and each will have an “issues manger” at a 6 figure income. Along with a generous travel allowance, expense account, personal car? personal valet?, ok maybe not the last 2, but you never know! BTW, really enjoyed you analysis of the nuke proposal.

    Reply
    • David Climenhaga

      August 13th, 2020

      Probably the car, but not the valet. DJC

      Reply
  12. Montgomery Burns

    August 13th, 2020

    So now you’re suddenly in favour of natural gas exploration? You can’t suck and blow at the same time.

    Reply
  13. August 15th, 2020

    I live in Ontario. We have had Nuclear forever it seems. Lots of people I know have worked in Nuclear and are still alive and really Old.
    They have many small reactors that together make a lot of power. The suggestion a small reactor is not economical is nonsense. Its the cheapest power we have other than Hydro from Niagara falls.
    High head pressure from the 300 ft fall through massive tunnels give us power. You might have some water, but nothing like Niagara falls.
    Gas can be sold and used for home heating. Nuclear is amazing for base load power. It will free up the rest of the Electrical supply for expansion. (maybe those who supply that power want to say Nuclear is bad simply to save their skin in the game.)

    Reply
  14. Evolution is a Hoax

    August 15th, 2020

    I drive by the nuclear site in Darlington Ontario every day. Funny thing, they have a quarry not to far away that is setting off charges to do their mining. And It shakes the house in Bowmanville just a little. (thats where i am working right now as I renovate a basement.) And the power and the site are all fine. The Only time power ever goes off is if a storm knocks down a line locally or a car hits a pole. Nuclear runs rain or shine and the Canadian model is the safest in the world. Even a down sized model would do the same thing and work for years supplying good jobs, clean hydro and is a type of diversification that Alberta needs.

    Reply
    • Kang

      August 16th, 2020

      Sometimes living in a place tends to make you “home blind.” Ontario does not have “many small reactors.” There are only three nuclear complexes in Ontario each with several units: Bruce, Pickering, and Darlington. Pickering will be shut down by 2024. Bruce and Darlington will be that last ones down in 2054 at the latest.

      The Ontario ISO reports that nuclear makes up 34% of generation now. Wind is 12% and solar PV one-percent. Natural gas, which is close to all Albertan’s pocket books is 29%. Hydro is 23%.
      http://www.ieso.ca/Learn/Ontario-Supply-Mix/Ontario-Energy-Capacity

      Ironically, their ISO has identified over supply of base load largely from nuclear as a problem. Since the equipment to repair the export inter-tie with New York has been unavailable for the past three years, the surplus is being used to shut down wind, gas, and hydro generation to keep their reactors stable. Who knew our global industrial system is so degraded that the phase angle regulator (PAR) needed for that inter-tie cannot be repaired and a replacement has not been available since 2018? The unavailability of the PAR or a replacement should give pause to those who are confident the specialized high tech equipment required by nuclear will always be available.

      Consistent tritium and other radioactive emissions have plagued Ontario nuclear plants for decades and were once matters of public record. The spent fuel is still sitting in swimming pools after 70 years of claims a permanent solution is just around the corner. Before its assets were privatized and the books rewritten, Ontario Hydro had amassed a deficit as large as the annual deficit Ottawa was running.

      In the end, nuclear is highly unethical because the two or three generations who benefit from it do so at the expense of thousands of years of waste management imposed on future generations at the uranium mines, processing plants, and reactors.

      Reply
  15. Evolution is a Hoax

    August 15th, 2020

    One other Idea for the Oil Sands. Nuclear can produce a lot of heat and that heat makes steam and that drives the turbine. The thing is, you have to cool that same steam to then re-use it to run those turbines. The horsepower is out of this world. The thing about the Oil sands is you need heat. They could pipe in more steam than Alberta could know what to do with essentially doing two jobs. It would save billions.
    You might not know this but Toronto uses natural gas to create steam to heat those big office buildings. Massive amounts of CO2 go up in the air. But we have all kinds of steam a few miles away. Its total nonsense because Pickering nuclear is in the heart of a city. Why on earth did they not simply send heated lake water in a pipe to Toronto. It would be no different than a Oil Pipeline.

    If you want energy. Nuclear can supply it in spades.

    Reply
    • David Climenhaga

      August 16th, 2020

      The point of raising natural gas in the post is not to argue it is superior to nuclear as an electricity generator — that is an argument for another day — but that it is cheaper. If you want nuclear to replace natural gas, and natural gas prices are low and gas plants cheaper to build, then you’ll have to do something to make gas more expensive or the market will always chose gas. Ergo, Jason Kenney is not being completely forthright about this project. DJC

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