Ontario task force positive about nuclear future

The Ontario government's Electricity Conservation & Supply Task Force has recommended a range of conservation measures and a diverse generation mix to fill the looming supply shortfall. It also recommended that the planning horizon be 25 years instead of the present 15. The government has committed to phase out 7500 MWe of coal-fired capacity by 2007. With volatile gas prices, new base-load capacity needs to be mainly nuclear, which already provides more than 40% of the province's electricity from 10 800 MWe capacity. The Task Force included industry, consumer and environmental representatives and was charged with outlining an affordable and reliable power supply to 2020.

Increasing the nuclear capacity highlights a dilemma: there are five old reactors laid up and which could be brought back into service, some at considerable expense, but more quickly (by 2007) than new plant could be commissioned - estimated at 2011. The wisdom of spending nearly as much on an old plant as it would cost to build a new one depends then on the urgency of the supply situation. The Pickering 1-3 units are oldest (1971-72, 515 MWe each) but probably least expensive to refurbish, the contaminated Bruce 1-2 units (1977, 769 MWe each) are possibly uneconomic on any basis. The Task Force recommends an early decision on these so that new investment may proceed, largely from the private sector. Predictable power prices are a key to this, including long-term contracts. Consultant's input suggested that the new ACR reactor would be competitive with gas combined cycle at present and foreseeable gas prices.

Zdroj: Nuclear Canada

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