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Costs of Ontario’s nuclear program will be the burden of the great-grandchildren of babies born in 2021.

“Someday this will all be yours!”


Ontario’s Unfunded Nuclear Decommissioning Liability Is In The $18–$27 Billion CAD Range   Clean Technica, By Michael Barnard 8 Aug 21, Ontario’s nuclear program will be a fiscal burden on Ontarian’s to the tune of around $40 billion CAD which will be spent through roughly 2135, finally being paid off by the great-grandchildren of babies born in 2021.

Late last year I worked up the likely amount of public money that would have to be thrown at the nuclear industry in order to successfully and safely decommission the 100 operational reactors and the now shut down ones. Unsurprisingly, the nuclear industry had been very optimistic in its estimates of decommissioning costs and timeframes, when the global empirical averages were trending to a billion USD and 100 years per reactor.

Recently I was asked by an Ontario journalist what I thought the likely situation in Ontario would be, and whether the decommissioning trusts were equally underfunded. I was unsurprised to find that Canada is in the same boat as the US, with highly optimistic schedule and cost projections which belie Canadian empirical experience with the CANDU reactor, and that the fund had nowhere near the money necessary for the job. Let’s run the numbers.

Ontario Power Generation (OPG) is the chunk of the provincial utility that was carved apart in the late 1990s by the Mike Harris Conservatives to handle generation alone. It operates 18 aging CANDU reactors across three sites: Bruce, Pickering, and Darlington.

OPG has a nuclear decommissioning fund of about $5 billion CAD or US$4 billion right now. If the experience of other countries on the actual cost of a billion USD per reactor and an actual timeline of decommissioning of a century holds true, and I see no reason why it doesn’t, that means that there is currently a $17.5 billion CAD gap in Ontario, in addition to the existing $19.3 billion CAD in debt still being serviced from their construction. When the government of the era split up the utility, it moved all of the debt off of the components and into general debt. One of the many appropriate and sensible things that the McGuinty Administration did in the 2000s, in addition to shutting down coal generation entirely, was to move the debt back into the utility and set about servicing it from utility bills.

Most of the reactors at Bruce Nuclear are aging out, with several over 40 years old and the remainder approaching 40. Darlington’s are around 30, so they have a bit of runway. Pickering’s reactors are going to be shut down in 2024 and 2025 and start decommissioning in 2028. While refurbishment could bridge Ontario’s for another 20 years in many cases, that’s expensive and typically won’t pass any economic viability assessment compared to alternatives.

The likelihood is that all reactors in Ontario will reach end of life by 2035, and be replaced by some combination of renewable energy and HVDC transmission from neighboring jurisdictions, with both Manitoba and Quebec having excellent, low-carbon hydroelectric to spare…………

So yes, Ontario’s nuclear program will be a fiscal burden on Ontarians to the tune of around $40 billion CAD which will be spent through roughly 2135, finally being paid off by the great-grandchildren of babies born in 2021.

Nuclear, the gift that keeps on giving. https://cleantechnica.com/2021/08/06/ontarios-unfunded-nuclear-decommissioning-liability-is-in-the-18-27-billion-cad-range/

August 9, 2021 - Posted by | business and costs, Canada, wastes

1 Comment »

  1. This does not take into consideration the cost of managing the nuclear waste which is also under funded by the Nuclear Industry
    And what about the current rebates ( lost money ) by the Ontario Government for which we are paying thru our taxes .
    Also our Governments are providing gifts of money to the development of She’s that will most likely never see the light of day

    Comment by Bill Noll | August 10, 2021 | Reply


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