Premier Doug Ford hopes GE shines a light on good things.
GE Hitachi was chosen to build the first new nuclear reactor in Ontario in decades.
As first reported by The Globe and Mail on Wednesday evening, Ontario Power Generation (OPG) selected the company to build a small modular reactor (SMR) at Darlington Generating Station in Clarington.
“With today’s announcement, Ontario is leading the way in new nuclear technologies, like PMRs, which represent tremendous economic and environmental opportunities for our province and all of Canada,” said Thursday the Minister of Energy, Todd Smith.
“PMRs can provide reliable, emission-free energy while creating jobs, economic growth and export opportunities,” Smith said, adding that this was a chance to “showcase nuclear expertise. from Ontario to the world ”.
The project, which sources say will cost several billion dollars, would be Canada’s first commercial SMR and is expected to be operational by 2028.
Unlike the country’s existing nuclear power plants, the new reactor would not use Candu technology.
In 2020, nuclear power accounted for 56.8% of Ontario’s electricity production, compared to 24.4% for water (hydropower), 8.7% for wind, 6.4% for natural gas and 2.4% for solar energy.
While disposing of nuclear waste has always been a challenge, an PMS can prevent up to two megatonnes of greenhouse gas emissions per year.
OPG, a Crown utility, said the project will create 700 jobs during development, 1,600 during construction and fabrication, 200 during operation and 160 when it is finally decommissioned after about 60 years.
“Nuclear is a proven zero-emission base energy source that will help us achieve net zero as a business by 2040 and act as a catalyst for efficient economy-wide decarbonization. by 2050, ”said Ken Hartwick, President and CEO of OPG.
GE Hitachi President Jay Wileman said, “This is meaningful and concrete action in the fight against climate change that will also create jobs in Ontario and Canada as we leverage the global chain. strong and growing nuclear supply. “
The federal government and Ford’s Progressive Conservative administration at Queen’s Park have worked with other provinces to increase SMRs.
But environmental groups like Greenpeace are opposing their construction, warning that they will end up costing more than wind or solar power, which is cleaner and safer.
At Queen’s Park, Green Leader Mike Schreiner said that “building a large SMR in Darlington makes absolutely no sense, especially because it will be more expensive electricity.”
Schreiner noted that the small reactors were designed for “remote areas or for specialized things like steelmaking” and said the Conservatives were only building one there due to an EA. existing.
“They are taking the easy road and not the right road,” he said.
NDP Leader Andrea Horwath has expressed concern about the “cost overruns” that have plagued all Canadian nuclear projects.
“We need to do a lot better when it comes to other green energy sources,” Horwath said, urging more emphasis on renewable electricity.
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