Pickering a key low-cost source of electricity in Ontario's Long-Term Energy Plan
PICKERING, ON, Jan. 11, 2017 /CNW/ - To mark the one-year anniversary of the Ontario Government's decision to operate Pickering to 2024, the Canadian Nuclear Workers Council (CNWC) has launched an online effort to provide the facts about this important component of the province's energy future, while giving Ontarians an opportunity to voice their support.
On Jan. 11, 2016, the Ontario Government announced Ontario Power Generation's Pickering facility would operate until 2024 as a critical element of Ontario's energy supply mix, generating low-cost, reliable electricity while supporting jobs, economic growth, clean air and a reliable supply of Cobalt-60. This announcement was reiterated in the Speech from the Throne and it is important the facts about the incredibly positive role this facility plays in the province are well understood, said David Shier, National Director of the CNWC.
"The Wynne Government made this decision after conducting an in-depth cost-benefit analysis of all electricity options in the province," Shier said. "Pickering Nuclear supports the continued reliability of Ontario's electricity system, the life-extension programs at Bruce Power and Darlington, the delivery of the province's near-term climate change commitments, and the assurance that electricity customers receive the full benefit of this provincially owned asset."
Shier said the operation of Pickering to 2024 will save Ontario electricity consumers $600 million and will generate low-cost electricity while reliably providing 3,100 megawatts of carbon-free power 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
"There are opposition groups spreading misinformation about this important part of our energy plan. It's important we remind people about the facts and to allow the facility's broad base of supporters in the Pickering/Durham areas, and across Ontario, to have their voices heard," he said. "Pickering plays a key role in Ontario's electricity supply mix, stimulates the economy and provides good jobs to 4,500 people in the Durham Region and surrounding areas."
In 2016, Pickering Nuclear saved Ontario consumers $600 million as it receives only seven cents per megawatt/hour for its power, significantly less than the average residential price of 11 cents.
"Pickering does this while operating its units with the utmost safety. In fact, in 2016, Pickering was awarded a top safety rating by the independent regulator, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission. When you consider it has a lower cost to consumers than most other supply options, produces no carbon emissions, and is a reliable and safe source of power, it's necessary to keep the Pickering facility open until 2024 as planned."
Sign the petition and learn more at www.pickering2024.com.
SAFETY AND OPERATIONAL PERFORMANCE
Myth: Pickering Nuclear performs poorly and should be replaced.
Fact: In 2015, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission. (CNSC) Regulatory Oversight Report confirmed the highest safety performance rating ever received by Pickering Nuclear to date; achieved best performance ever in reliability and human performance with a forced loss rate of 2.89 per cent.
PICKERING NUCLEAR LICENCE RENEWAL
Myth: OPG is planning to operate the Pickering station to 2028, not 2024, and that’s why it is applying for a 10-year licence.
Fact: OPG only plans to operate the Pickering station to 2024, as directed by the provincial Government. The station needs a nuclear licence for the period between 2024 and 2028 in order to shut down the reactors and place them into safe storage. This is a requirement of the CNSC.
Myth: The Pickering Nuclear Generating Station is located in a very populated area, making it impossible to evacuate safely in the unlikely event of an accident.
Fact: No member of the public has ever been harmed as a result of nuclear operations in Canada. In the very unlikely event of a nuclear accident, it would take approximately 72 hours before a release. Independent studies estimate it would take approximately eight hours to evacuate the primary zone around the Pickering.
COST AND THE ENVIRONMENT
Myth: Nuclear power is too expensive.
Fact: Running Pickering to 2024 will save $600 million compared with other forms of generation. The average cost of power from natural gas and other renewable energy sources is approximately 11 cents per kWh. The price of power from OPG’s nuclear plants is currently capped at 7 cents per kWh.
Myth: It would be cheaper to import power from Quebec.
Fact: In 2014, the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) Interties Report estimated the cost of large scale power purchased from Québec to replace nuclear generation, including transmission, would be 9 to 15 cents per kWh – a significant increase when compared to 7 cent per kWh from OPG nuclear. Additionally, the power from Quebec does not currently exist and would have to be licenced and constructed; a 20-year process.
Myth: We are exporting power now so the electricity from Pickering Nuclear is no longer needed.
Fact: Between 2020 and 2024, nearly 15 per cent of Ontario’s power will be offline as the Bruce and Darlington stations undergo refurbishment. Operating Pickering during this period will backfill the supply gap with affordable, reliable, greenhouse gas-free power.
Myth: Decommissioning Pickering Nuclear in 2018 would create more jobs.
Fact: Extending commercial operations at Pickering Nuclear is associated with 4,500 direct and indirect jobs across the Durham Region. The cost of decommissioning the Pickering station and other nuclear plants in Ontario is fully funded by amounts already set aside.