Energy Ink

Bruce Power nuclear proposal dies a merciful death

There will be no nukes in Peace Country after all

December 12, 2011

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Sometimes things are so obvious they don’t warrant an announcement. So you have to wonder why Bruce Power’s felt it needed to issue a press release today stating that it is no longer going ahead with plans to build a 4,000 megawatt nuclear power plant in northern Alberta. Everybody in Alberta assumed the project was dead. Was the company looking for closure?

Despite the fact Ontario-based nuclear power company had been pursuing the idea since 2007 and the Alberta government maintained it was open to the proposal, this has always seemed like something Saturday Night Live writers would have used as fodder for a “Bad Ideas Jeans” skit.

As Alberta Oil senior editor Jeff Lewis reported nearly two years ago, Bruce Power’s Peace Country nukes proposal was dogged from the start by fierce local opposition, industrial indifference and the staggering price tag nuclear power carries.

Its potential viability was not helped by low natural gas prices brought on by the rising shale tide in the United States. Oil sands producers in northern Alberta were the big ticket customers Bruce Power needed to make this thing a reality. But with natural gas so cheap (and expected to stay that way for the foreseeable future) there was little incentive for producers to switch from the cleanest burning fossil fuel to nuclear to power oil sands extraction.

But the coup de grace was likely the fallout from the Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan that’s caused nations like Germany to get out of nuclear power generation altogether.

The fuel is on the outs once again with a skittish public. Imagine the public relations nightmare the oil sands sector would have on its hands if it was using nuclear power to produce synthetic crude?

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Comments

  • http://www.ciactivist.org/kiosk.html Richard D. Brinkman

    Many Albertans will welcome this news – Citizen News Report on social media’s YouTube 27 Oct 2009 – “Albertan’s say NO to nuclear development, Bill 50 , Alberta legislature protest” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8AkgSS21Tfk

    • Darren Campbell

      Richard:

      Thanks for the comment. I do wonder if the nuclear option may be looked at many, many years down the road in Alberta. We’re not exactly blessed with hydro power potential. Coal is abundant, but dirty and the oil and gas isn’t going to last forever. But we are a ways from that day yet.

      Darren