In March 2004, John Manley, the Chair of the Ontario Power Generation (OPG) Review Committee, recommended that OPG should return its shutdown Pickering A Unit 1 nuclear reactor to service.
Mr. Manley’s recommendation was based on the following two key assumptions: a) the incremental cost of re-starting the reactor would be $500 million (OPG had already spent $325 million on the re-start); and b) the re-built reactor would be able to operate at an 85% capacity utilization rate for 12 years.
Unfortunately, neither of these targets has been met. First, the incremental cost of re-starting the reactor was $691 million or 38% higher than Manley’s forecast, which means that the total cost of the Pickering A restart topped $1 billion.
Second, as of November 30, 2007 the average capacity utilization rate of the reactor since its November 2005 re-start has been only 62%. As a consequence of the poor operating performance of this reactor, OPG has had to increase the output of its dirty coal plants to keep the lights on. The resulting increase in air pollution has been equivalent to putting 385,000 more cars on the road for one year.
Please tell Energy Minister Gerry Phillips that it’s time to choose what works for a change — energy conservation, renewable energy and high-efficiency combined heat and power plants. Minister Phillips can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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