Cablegate: Ontario Looks to Renew Nuclear Power Infrastructure

DE RUEHON #0194/01 1701535
P 181535Z JUN 08




E.O.12958: N/A
SUBJECT: Ontario Looks to Renew Nuclear Power Infrastructure

Ref: 06 Toronto 1703

Sensitive but Unclassified - Please protect accordingly.

1. (SBU) SUMMARY: In preparation for increased electricity demand
and the planned closure of all coal-fired generating plants by 2014,
the government of Ontario is refurbishing existing nuclear plants
and planning for new reactors. Both are necessary to meet the
province's nuclear capacity goal of roughly 14,000 megawatts (MW).
Nuclear plants currently generate 52% of Ontario's electricity
supply mix (reftel), while coal-fired plants generate approximately
20%. Ontario's long-term Integrated Power System Plan (IPSP) calls
for the province to acquire 1,400 MW of new nuclear capacity by 2019
with a possible additional 1,400 MW in new nuclear by 2027.
Further details regarding the addition of new nuclear reactors in
Ontario are expected at the conclusion of the final phase of the
competitive Request for Proposal process to select a nuclear reactor
vendor. END SUMMARY.

Ontario's Nuclear Sites

2. (U) Ontario has three nuclear power plant sites, with 16 reactor
units currently operating. The sites are: Pickering Generation
Station A and B (6 operating units); Darlington Generating Station
(4 operating units); and Bruce Power A and B (6 operating units).
Two other units at Pickering are out of service indefinitely, as
Ontario Power Generation (OPG) determined in 2005 that refurbishment
was not economically feasible. Ontario's total installed nuclear
generation capacity is 14,000 MW.

Bruce Power Refurbishment

3. (U) On October 17, 2005, the Ontario government announced that it
had reached an agreement for the refurbishment of Bruce A Units 1
and 2 at the Bruce Power Nuclear facility near Kincardine on Lake
Huron, approximately 140 miles from Toronto. The move will produce
an additional 1,500 MW of new base-load capacity through 2036.

4. (U) On April 17, 2008, Bruce Power announced that it had
completed final cost and schedule estimates for the ongoing Bruce A
Units 1 and 2 Restart Project. The project to restart the two units,
which have been idle since the mid-1990s, is approximately 60%
complete and will cost C$3.1-C$3.4 billion upon completion in
2009-2010. Refurbishment work on Bruce A units 3 and 4 is scheduled
to commence in late 2009 with an estimated completion date of 2013.

5. (U) Originally, only a limited steam generator replacement of
Bruce A Unit 4 was planned, but in August 2007, the Ontario Power
Authority (OPA) announced it would fully refurbish it. The
refurbishment will lengthen the operational life of Unit 4 to 2036.
The refurbishment will also add 750MW of refurbished nuclear power,
increasing the total refurbished nuclear capacity to 3,000 MW.
Under the revised plan, Bruce Power expects to invest an additional
C$1 billion. The OPA has assumed the management of all contracts
associated with the refurbishment project.

6. (U) Separately, the future of the four Bruce B reactor units is
uncertain. Under present planning assumptions, those four reactors
would need to be refurbished between 2015 and 2020. At this point,
Bruce is unwilling to commit to financing the refurbishment. An
Infrastructure Ontario-led joint assessment on the refurbishment of
Bruce B reactors is ongoing.

Darlington Refurbishment

7. (U) In 2008, OPG will also begin work on assessing the potential
refurbishment of the Darlington nuclear station, a 4-unit station
with a total output of 3,524 MW. Darlington has also been selected
by the province as a site for new reactor construction. NOTE:
Darlington was selected over a proposed new site at the Bruce
complex, "Bruce C". END NOTE.

OPG's Pickering Nuclear Facilities

8. (U) Pickering plants A and B have a total of 6

TORONTO 00000194 002 OF 002

reactors. Together these stations have a total output of 3,100 MW,
enough to serve a city of one and a half million people. Pickering
A began operating in 1971 and continued to operate until 1997, when
its operations were voluntarily suspended. In September 2003, one
unit was returned to commercial operation and another unit followed
in 2005. The remaining 2 units remain out of use. Pickering B's
reactors have remained in operation continuously since 1983.

9. (U) In June of 2006, OPG detailed its plans for an Environmental
Assessment on the potential refurbishment and continued operation of
Pickering B to the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC). In
2007, OPG began preliminary studies to determine the viability of
extending Pickering B's operating life to 2050-2060. OPG has
finished assessing the plant's current condition and is completing
the EA and Integrated Safety Reviews (ISR) required for regulatory
approval of refurbishment.

10. (U) The results of OPG's assessment indicated that no
significant negative environmental effects were likely to occur due
to the refurbishment and continued operation of Pickering B's
facilities. CNSC is now moving to compile its EA Screening Report
and hold public consultations and CNSC hearings. The labor
intensive EA, ISR, and public consultations have pushed back the
decision date on Pickering B's refurbishment until late 2008 or
early 2009.
11. (SBU) COMMENT: The Ontario government continues to explore
alternative power generation options in order to ensure the
reliability of the Ontario electric supply. Despite the Ontario
government's emphasis on conservation, projections of future
electricity demand continue to rise. The political decision to close
all coal-fired plants could carry risks for the reliability of
Ontario's electricity supply if suitable replacement sources are not
found or are delayed. The interconnected nature of the U.S. and
Canadian electric grids highlights the importance to the United
States of electricity reliability in Ontario. END COMMENT.

© Scoop Media

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