Refurbishing Ontario’s nuclear fleet and building two new CANDU nuclear reactors at the Darlington Generating Station are investments that will provide clean, affordable power, tens of thousands of high value jobs and billions of dollars in economic benefits.
Ontario’s Long-Term Energy Plan recognizes the benefits of nuclear energy. It is time for Ontario’s elected federal and provincial representatives to collaborate to expedite these critical investments in Canada’s successful CANDU technology.
For over fifty years, the Canadian Deuterium-Uranium or CANDU reactors have been safely generating electricity for Canadian homes and businesses. Over 55 percent of Ontario’s electricity comes from nuclear generation.
Annually, Canada’s nuclear reactors help avoid about 90 million tonnes of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, about the same amount as taking 81 percent of Canada’s cars off the road. A recent study by Strategic Policy Economics (Strapolec) found that refurbishing Ontario’s nuclear reactors along with building two new reactors at the Darlington site would reduce incremental GHG emissions after 2023 by 108 million tonnes more than continuing to build additional intermittent wind generation with natural gas backup—80 percent less GHG emissions.
Canada is one of only five countries in the world to have developed its own reactor technology along with the U.S., France, the United Kingdom and Russia. Canada’s CANDU reactors meet the highest environmental standards and have an outstanding safety record spanning.
CANDU is a pressurized heavy water reactor. This technology, developed in the 1950s and 1960s uses about 15 per cent less uranium than a pressurized water reactor for each megawatt of electricity produced. CANDU reactors are recognized for their "safety-in-depth" design, the ability to refuel on-line and the capability to recycle used fuel from other reactor technologies.
Most of Canada’s $6 billion plus nuclear industry, 160 supply chain companies and the 60,000 high value jobs it supports are located in Ontario. According to analysis by Strategic Policy Economics, refurbishing these reactors along with building two new nuclear reactors at the Darlington site would provide an estimated $60 billion dollar net incremental benefit to Ontario’s economy compared to proceeding with more wind generation. The study did not consider the impact of carbon pricing which would further tip the scales in favour of nuclear generation.
This $60 billion net incremental benefit includes $27 billion in savings to ratepayers and $29 billion in direct investment in Ontario, including the creation of 100,000 more person years of employment in high-value jobs, many of which would be in the advanced manufacturing sector.
CANDU reactors are one of Canada's few high technology exports. Nuclear supplies and services and the aerospace sector are the only advanced technologies for which Canada is a net exporter. Twenty-nine commercial CANDU reactors have been built in seven countries. Building a pair of Enhanced CANDU 6 (EC6) reactors outside of Canada would create over 2,200 person-years of direct, high-wage work and generate over $2.5 billion in economic activity here in Canada.
Although nuclear generation has some ability to adjust output on demand it is ideal for 24/7 base-load electricity needs. It is also well suited to supply overnight charging for the anticipated rapid increase in numbers of emission-free electric vehicles.
For more information about Ontario’s nuclear resources and how these generating stations work please go to the following websites: