Up to 20 percent lower electricity prices, 100,000 more jobs and $60 billion in economic benefit, and the environment (100,000 MT fewer GHG emissions).

Ontario’s 20 CANDU nuclear power plants have provided cost-effective, reliable electricity to the Ontario grid for more than 40 years. Nuclear’s share of electrical energy supply has increased to over 50 percent for the last 20 years. The reliable, clean and low-cost electricity generated by these units has helped to make Ontario the industrial heartland of Canada.

The Canadian nuclear industry directly employs almost 30,000 people in Canada, with more than 22,000 of these quality and sustainable jobs in Ontario — where nuclear companies, utilities and large manufacturers, often form the economic and social backbone of their host communities.

An eye on emissions

OCI, in collaboration with the Power Workers Union, commissioned detailed analysis in 2013 by Strategic Policy Economics (Strapolec Inc.), a respected energy and economic consulting firm, that clearly demonstrated that investment in Ontario’s nuclear generation capacity will deliver the greatest benefit to Ontario ratepayers and the economy, while dramatically reducing future greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

“Investment in Ontario’s nuclear generation capacity will deliver the greatest benefit to Ontario ratepayers and the economy, while dramatically reducing future greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.”

The study confirmed that focusing Ontario power system investments into nuclear power generation assets will lead to lower electricity costs and greater investment in Ontario — delivering some $60 billion in greater direct benefit to Ontario’s economy through lower-cost electricity and greater spend in Ontario.

It will also provide a stronger Ontario economy that can afford better health and social benefits for all Ontarians. This fact-based comparative analysis showed that continued reliance on nuclear generation as a key part of Ontario’s electricity supply mix (versus a larger wind/gas program) will generate 100,000 more quality jobs (many in Ontario’s declining but vital manufacturing sector), with almost 110,000,000 fewer tonnes of GHG emissions over 20 years.

Imposing a carbon tax to electricity produced by gas plants will widen the benefits gap in favour of the nuclear option.

Innovation through competition

In addition to the Ontario economic benefits outlined above, Ontario’s continued investment in nuclear generation will enable Canadian nuclear equipment manufacturing and engineering companies to more effectively compete in the robust nuclear export market.

Ontario has a well-established and vibrant nuclear supply industry with a track record spanning four decades — dating back to the innovative design, construction, and commissioning of the Pickering nuclear power plant. Ontario’s nuclear industry is now poised for export growth — stimulated and encouraged by domestic projects.

The World Nuclear Association states that there are 435 nuclear reactors operating or operable worldwide, with 72 reactors under construction, and a further 174 reactors in various planning stages. Ontario’s nuclear supply chain is already actively engaged in supplying to this dynamic export market. In fact, OCI, with support of Ontario and Federal governments, has led successful nuclear trade missions to the United Kingdom, United States, India, and China over the last 18 months.

OCI is planning future nuclear trade missions to Argentina, Romania and Korea over the next eight months.

Investments in reactor refurbishments as well as in design and construction of new reactors (with a strong reliance on Ontario content) will allow our home-based nuclear suppliers to attract and develop skilled resources, acquire advanced manufacturing equipment, and to exploit these capabilities in these targeted export markets.

Ontario electricity supply decisions need to be taken in the context of an overall industrial strategy for the province.

Proven track record

This is a strategy that can be underpinned by the proven track record of our nuclear industry and validated by a well-documented, almost worldwide acceptance that nuclear energy has a key role to play in our global fight against the real risks of climate change.

Ontario’s energy supply decisions impact the health of Ontario’s beleaguered manufacturing sector. Firstly, lower cost electricity will retain and attract industry and manufacturing jobs to Ontario. It will also increase household disposable income and spending in our economy.

Secondly, investment in our nuclear reactor fleet creates high value jobs in Ontario by exploiting unique and well established capabilities in our existing nuclear industry — alternative supply options depend on imported fuel (gas from Alberta and the United States) and imported equipment (wind turbine components and solar panels from Europe and China), creating jobs in other provinces and counties.