Nuclear power units to be restarted
Date: Tuesday, October 18 2005
This is good new from my point of view, this company has shown that it can refurbish and run nuclear plants without major screw ups as seen in OPG operations. I will have more to say later!
Monday, October 17, 2005
TORONTO -- A plan to restore two idled nuclear units may help ensure Ontario's long-term energy supply, but a deal between the province and Bruce Power could force taxpayers to help cover hundreds of millions of dollars in potential cost overruns, critics say.
Bruce, Ontario's largest independent electricity generator, confirmed Monday it plans to spend $4.25 billion to refurbish four units at its nuclear generating station off the shores of Lake Huron. That includes $2.75 billion to restore Units 1 and 2, which have been down since the mid-1990s. One of those two units is expected to return to service in 2009.
About $1.5 billion will be spent on a refurbishment of Unit 3, and $350 million to replace a steam generator on Unit 4.
The capital cost for the refurbishments will be covered by Bruce, not taxpayers, said Energy Minister Donna Cansfield.
However, according to TransCanada Corp., a major Bruce investor, a "risk and reward sharing schedule" puts Ontario on the hook for 50 per cent of cost overruns of up to $618 million on the project and a 25 per cent share beyond that.
"If this nuclear deal at the Bruce goes over budget -- and nuclear projects always go over budget -- than hydro consumers will have to pick up half the cost overrun," said New Democrat Leader Howard Hampton.
The cost to build the province's controversial Darlington nuclear station nearly tripled during the 1980s to $14 billion, and Ontario Power Generation's efforts to restore Unit 4 at the Pickering A facility cost $1.25 billion, almost three times the original projected cost.
The Ontario government will also cut leasing costs for Bruce by $60 million a year -- worth $1.2 billion over 20 years.
Premier Dalton McGuinty noted that Ontario taxpayers were stuck with all the extra costs at Pickering and Darlington, but their risk is narrowed in half under its deal with Bruce.
"In an ideal world, we would have loved to have been able to shift 100 per cent of the cost overruns," McGuinty said.
The private sector is taking on the bulk of the investment risk, Cansfield noted. "They've taken the risk of putting $4.25 billion of their money into Bruce."
The refurbishments will boost Bruce's total nuclear contribution in Ontario to 6,200 megawatts -- enough to power about 25 per cent of the province on a typical day.