Bruce Power mulls new Ontario nuclear station

Fri Oct 31, 2008 3:19pm EDT
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By Scott Anderson and Richard Valdmanis

TORONTO (Reuters) - Bruce Power LP said Friday it was considering building a new nuclear station in Nanticoke, Ontario, to meet a looming power shortage in the province -- drawing swift environmental pushback and a lukewarm reaction from government.

The nuclear power operator said the plan for two reactors in the industrial town on the north shore of Lake Erie would help Ontario offset the effects of a government effort to phase-out coal-fired power plants, which supply close to a fifth of the province's power, by 2014.

"Ontario needs affordable, reliable and clean energy as we move forward to address one of the greatest challenges of our time -- climate change," said Duncan Hawthorne, Bruce Power's president and chief executive.

The company said it would conduct an environmental assessment over the next three years to detail the potential impact of the 2,000 to 3,000 megawatt project, with construction taking another five or six years.

The plan, which would offset between a third and a half of Ontario's coal-fired power production, quickly raised the hackles of environmentalists concerned about nuclear waste.

"We have 30,000 tons of high level radioactive waste in Ontario that no one knows what to do with. This plan would mean making a new radioactive waste dump," said Shawn-Patrick Stensil, an energy campaigner for Greenpeace.

Stensil added that Bruce's timeline would bring the reactors into service years after the government's planned phase-out of the province's coal plants -- meaning Ontario would likely need to delay its deadline.

"We have better options," Stensil said.   Continued...