Ontario Plans First Large-Scale Nuclear Plant in Over 30 Years

Ontario’s growing electricity demands have prompted the government to consider the construction of a new, large-scale nuclear plant, marking the province’s first such project in over three decades. 

Energy Minister Todd Smith announced the government’s intentions to build a plant capable of generating up to 4,800 megawatts on the site of Bruce Power’s existing station in Tiverton, which is currently the largest operating nuclear facility worldwide. 

“They have the world’s largest operating nuclear facility here right now, with about 6,550 megawatts, providing clean, reliable, emissions-free power to the grid, baseload power,” Smith said.

“On a daily basis about 30% of Ontario’s electricity comes from this site right now. There’s room alongside Bruce A and Bruce B, potentially, for a Bruce C and that’s what this pre-development work is intended to begin today.”

The move comes as part of Ontario’s efforts to meet the rising electricity needs, which are expected to surge further from 2035 due to the increased adoption of electric vehicles, new EV battery manufacturing plants, and electric arc furnaces for steelmaking.

The new plant is expected to be able to power 4.8 million homes. 

By initiating the planning process early, Ontario aims to have a reliable, low-cost, and clean energy option available at Bruce Power to support future international investments, new residential developments, and the electrification of industries across the province.

The Independent Electricity System Operator’s report from last year revealed that the province could eliminate natural gas from its electricity system by 2050, with an initial moratorium in 2027. However, achieving this goal would require significant capital spending of around $400 billion, including the addition of new, large-scale nuclear plants, increased conservation efforts, renewable energy sources, and energy storage.

While Ontario has pursued energy storage solutions such as grid-connected batteries, it has also increased its reliance on natural gas generation. This reliance has raised concerns among environmental advocates, who argue that new nuclear plants are an expensive approach to meeting future low-carbon energy needs. 

They suggest that wind and solar power, combined with storage technologies, offer more cost-effective alternatives with no radioactive waste or risk of catastrophic accidents.

The pre-development work for the new nuclear plant is estimated to cost around $80 million, depending on the duration of federal approvals. The Ministry of Energy is collaborating with the Independent Electricity System Operator and Bruce Power on a contract for the project. 

Smith said part of it could be funded in part by revenue from the voluntary clean energy “credit” registry, which allows companies to demonstrate their commitment to clean energy by paying a fee. 

The government is also exploring options to extend the operating life of the Pickering Nuclear Generating Station, potentially adding another 2,200 megawatts of clean power to support the Greater Toronto Area by the early 2030s.

Information for this story was found via The Canadian Press, and the sources and companies mentioned. The author has no securities or affiliations related to the organizations discussed. Not a recommendation to buy or sell. Always do additional research and consult a professional before purchasing a security. The author holds no licenses.

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