Ontario to refurbish existing nuclear reactors, not build new

Wed Dec 4, 2013 11:46am EST
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Dec 4 (Reuters) - The province of Ontario plans to refurbish units at the Darlington and Bruce nuclear power plants but no longer wants to build new reactors, according to its 2013 long-term energy plan.

Instead the Energy Ministry said in the plan released this week it will encourage conservation and demand management programs before building new generation.

The Ministry said consumer costs will still rise under the new plan but less than in the last plan in 2010, even though Ontario will phase out its coal-fired generation by the end of 2014.

According to the new plan, residential power bills are expected to rise about 2.8 percent a year for the next 20 years, down from a forecast increase of 3.5 percent under the 2010 plan, the Ministry said.

Under the current plan, residential bills will rise to C$178 in 2018 from about C$138 a month in 2013. The 2010 plan forecast residential bills would reach C$191 a month in 2018.

The Ministry forecast Ontario's energy mix in 2025 at 42 percent nuclear, 46 percent renewable, and 12 percent natural gas. None would come from coal.

In 2013, Ontario produced 59 percent of its power from nuclear, 28 percent from renewable, 11 percent from natural gas and 2 percent from coal.

Ontario Power Generation (OPG), the province-owned power generator, has said it wants to refurbish the four reactors at its 3,512-megawatt Darlington plant, located along Lake Ontario about 70 km (43 miles) east of Toronto, to keep them running for another 25 to 30 years.

Under the latest plan, the Energy Ministry said OPG will work on Darlington 2 in 2016-2019, Unit 1 in 2019-2022, Unit 3 in 2021-2024 and Unit 4 in 2022-2025.   Continued...