Thursday, July 16, 2009


Following up on this morning's post, the Saskatchewan NDP is also raising questions about what the price quotes from Ontario's plan to build new reactors mean for the Sask Party's efforts to strongarm Saskatchewan into nuclear power, noting that even Bruce Power's low-balled cost estimates exceed the point where Ontario concluded that nuclear power isn't worth the price:
The Ontario Energy Board has indicated that any price higher than $3,600 per kilowatt of power capacity would be uneconomical when costed against alternatives such as natural gas and renewable energy options. Bruce Power has indicated its intention to build two 1,000 megawatt reactors in Saskatchewan at a cost of between $8 and $10 billion. Using Bruce Power’s conservative price estimate, its proposal works out to approximately $4,000 per kilowatt – a price that exceeds the Ontario Energy Board’s economical cutoff.

“When the evidence against the economics of a project of this size begins to mount so dramatically, we need to wonder whether indeed we are being told the whole story,” Higgins said. “Clearly there is an increasingly strong case to be made for research into natural gas and other alternative energy options if the cost of nuclear really is this much.”
“How is it that Bruce Power is able to build a similar reactor here that costs so much less than the proposals submitted to the Ontario government? Where exactly are the hidden costs?” Higgins asked. “Have we just been given the cost of the reactor without the plant? Like everything about this process from day one, the government has failed to answer some extremely important questions.”
Now, it still seems to me more likely that the biggest difference between the costs discussed in Bruce Power's study (which describes the cost as that of a "nuclear facility") and the prices now faced by Ontario involve the allocation of risk rather than the scope of the work included.

But either way, there's plenty of reason for concern that the numbers driving the Sask Party's support for nuclear are both high enough to make nuclear development a bad idea in the first place, and unrealistically low when compared to the actual cost of nuclear construction. And Higgins is entirely right in saying that fact should be driving the province to look toward alternatives rather than courting nuclear as its top priority.

No comments:

Post a Comment