Nuclear energy: “Clean, Reliable, Affordable”?

Ontario scraps plan for nuclear power expansion

Proponents of nuclear energy promise that it’s cheap—and just as safe as the alternatives. That’s why the Ontario government started drafting serious nuclear power plans in 2007, with the hope of adding two next-generation Candu reactors at Darlington generating station. But those plans were scrapped last month. Today, the Star reports that it was sky-high prices that put a stop to the project. The Ontario Power Authority had initially estimated the new generators would cost $2,900 per kilowatt—$7 billion in total for the expansion. But a bid from Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd.—the only “compliant” bid received—put the figure at more than three times that amount: $26 billion. “It’s shockingly high,” said Wesley Stevens, an energy analyst at Toronto’s Navigant Consulting. That amount alone would have wiped out the province’s nuclear-power expansion budget for the next 20 years. And right now, there’s no sign that Prime Minister Harper is prepared to subsidize the province’s purchase. “Paying $26 billion for prototype reactors that may not even work is a huge gamble for the province,” said Shawn-Patrick Stensil, a nuclear researcher at Greenpeace Canada. “This whole renaissance in nuclear was built on the premise of cheap reactors, and that’s what they haven’t been able to deliver.”

Toronto Star