Advocate Group Pushes Ottawa to Increase Nuclear Energy

nuclear plant

According to one advocacy group, if Canada is serious about becoming net-zero, it must prioritize nuclear energy.

That means supporting small modular reactors (SMRs), building new CANDU reactors, and refurbishing old ones.

Canadians for Nuclear Energy president Chris Keefer is concerned that the new cabinet will be less pro-nuclear than previous ministers.

During his career as an environmental activist, Guilbeault was adamantly opposed to nuclear power. But since taking over the Environment portfolio, he’s changed tune.

Rather than dismissing nuclear as a legitimate clean energy source, he says it must compete with other renewables like wind and solar.

As for “which forms of energy will be part of tomorrow’s energy mix, it’s not up to government to decide which of these technologies will drive” the transition, he said at a news conference in Scotland on Nov. 5. “It’s going to be up to the market.”

Keefer said the technologies in “the net-zero mix of solutions will be environmentally friendly, will help us (reach) our net-zero target, and will compete on the market,”

According to Oxford University, the cost of wind and solar power has fallen dramatically while the cost of nuclear power has risen.

On-grid solar electricity cost $359 per megawatt-hour in 2009. It was $40 in 2019. In 2019, the cost of onshore wind fell from $135/MWh to $41.

Nuclear power has risen from $123 in 2009 to $155 now.

“I think we’re going to need every different alternative … pursued and explored fully as we try to get off fossil fuels, … and that means investing more in wind, investing more in solar, and yes, exploring nuclear,” Tuesday said on Nov. 2.

Jonathan Wilkinson Natural Resources Minister said nuclear power is part of Canada’s future.

“We’re quite agnostic (about) the technologies used for energy generation, but we’re in the midst of a climate crisis,” said he said on Nov. 5. “We have to be thoughtful and looking at all non-emitting sources of energy. The government (will) obviously (continue) to look at nuclear as part of Canada’s energy mix.”

Ontario’s greenhouse gas emissions will rise if the Pickering nuclear plant closes, says Keefer By the mid-2020s, natural gas should have replaced the plant.

Nuclear power generates nearly 60% of Ontario’s electricity and helped wean Ontario out of coal.

By 2035, the Liberal government hopes to have 100% renewable energy on the grid. But Keefer believes that it  needs more nuclear plants to do that. 

Wind and solar power only generate electricity when it’s windy or sunny, whereas nuclear power provides continuous power all day. Wind and solar don’t provide the same benefits without a robust network of energy storage, he says.

“they need to be complemented with an electricity source that’s available 24/7,” said James E. Hansen, director of climate science at Columbia University’s Earth Institute.

With existing CANDU expertise and a nascent SMR market, Canada is well positioned to profit from nuclear energy, he said.

“The only candidate we have is nuclear power.”

Original source of material for this articles taken from here

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Written by Olivia Woods

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