TORONTO—Investment in Ontario’s nuclear generation capacity will deliver the greatest benefit to the province’s economy while reducing emissions, according to a union-commissioned study.
Funded by the Power Workers’ Union (PWU) and the Organization of Canadian Nuclear Industries (OCI), the study argues that retaining nuclear generation capacity in Ontario could produce savings of $27-billion for taxpayers and generate $29-billion in direct investment in the province through reactor construction and retrofit.
“We commissioned this study to help ensure that Ontarians have as much information as possible to make these important decisions about our energy future,” PWU president Don MacKinnon said in a statement.
“The study confirms that focusing our investments in nuclear power generation will lead to lower electricity costs and greater investment in Ontario while delivering some $60-billion in greater direct benefit to Ontario’s economy.”
That supposed $60-billion in net incremental benefit to Ontario is compared to the Retained Wind scenario covered in the 2010 Long-Term Energy Plan (LTEP).
The PWU-OCI nuclear study was commissioned “to inform the LTEP review.”
The Retained Wind scenario being reviewed assumes that planned new wind generation goes forward while investments in nuclear power generation are curtailed.
Under this scenario, the PWU and OCI says additional gas-fired generation is needed as a backstop for wind generation.
The other scenario, Retained Nuclear, assumes that the planned refurbishment of existing nuclear reactors and the building of new reactors would proceed while the proposed development of new wind generation would not.
In addition to the $60-billion in net incremental benefit, the study claims Retained Nuclear would generate $9-billion in greater direct employment income benefits than the Retained Wind scenario, including the creation of more than 100,000 full-time jobs in Ontario, many in the advanced manufacturing sector.
The study also says the scenario would reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by more than 108 million tonnes, or 80 per cent less, compared to the Retained Wind scenario.
“This rigorous and fact-based comparative analysis shows independently that continued reliance on reliable and cost effective nuclear base load generation is a good decision for Ontario,” OCI president Dr. Ron Oberth said.
“Sticking with the planned investment in nuclear power generation will result in more than 100,000 additional quality jobs for people in Ontario while contributing substantially to our province’s commitment to reducing GHG emissions as part of Canada’s initiative to mitigate the risks of climate change.”