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Thread: Should the Feds give Alberta the nuclear power monopoly over Canada?

  1. #1

    Default Should the Feds give Alberta the nuclear power monopoly over Canada?

    If we have to phase out all fossil fuel extraction, should Alberta (and maybe Saskatchewan) then become the nuclear power plant monopoly for all of Canada in order to provide a replacement revenue stream for our ever growing population?

    Should the feds themselves be the ones to guarantee Alberta the monopoly power over all nuclear generation? The crisis in Alberta is coming fast. To minimize the crisis where we can’t support a couple million or more residents due to the shut down of fossil fuel production, Alberta needs another truly, TRULY massive revenue source.

    Moreover, now is the time. No one would blink at such a move. No one wants nuclear power - yet. Giving Alberta that optionality would have little political cost.
    Last edited by KC; 07-09-2019 at 08:18 AM.

  2. #2

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    Zero political costs!!!

    Note the comment that came in response to this article!

    David Staples: Want to whip climate change? Go nuclear, says Alberta advocate

    DAVID STAPLES, EDMONTON JOURNAL
    Updated: February 27, 2019

    Excerpts:

    “Sean Wagner, who runs the Alberta Nuclear Nucleus blog ...”

    Alberta uses 10 to 11 gigawatts of electrical power each day. A nuclear plant will produce 0.5 to 1.3 gigawatts per day. So with about a dozen such plants we’d meet all of Alberta’s electrical needs with essentially zero carbon emissions, Wagner said.


    Comments - 1
    MM
    Maury Markowitz
    4 months ago
    Once again we see the mythology that the reason we aren't building new nuclear is due to fear. This is simply not the case.

    There is precisely one reason we're not building new nuclear: cost. The last serious reactor pitch in Canada was Darlington B, which was bid at $10.80/Wp. In comparison, modern wind turbines cost about $1.50/Wp. As a result, Darlington B was abandoned, and soon after, Bruce Power's preliminary work in Alberta.

    One can talk about radiation all you want, but that doesn't address the actual issues surrounding capital cost and the related timeline risk. If there's a solution to those problems, the world has yet to see it.
    https://edmontonjournal.com/business...berta-activist
    Last edited by KC; 07-09-2019 at 08:23 AM.

  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by KC View Post
    If we have to phase out all fossil fuel extraction, should Alberta (and maybe Saskatchewan) then become the nuclear power plant monopoly for all of Canada in order to provide a replacement revenue stream for our ever growing population?

    Should the feds themselves be the ones to guarantee Alberta the monopoly power over all nuclear generation? The crisis in Alberta is coming fast. To minimize the crisis where we can’t support a couple million or more residents due to the shut down of fossil fuel production, Alberta needs another truly, TRULY massive revenue source.

    Moreover, now is the time. No one would blink at such a move. No one wants nuclear power - yet. Giving Alberta that optionality would have little political cost.
    "No one would blink at such a move"????


    Will never, ever happen.

    You forget, all the nuclear power generation in Canada is in Ontario and NB. Do you really think that Ontario would shut down:


    • Bruce Nuclear Generating Station, Ontario*
    • Pickering Nuclear Generating Station, Ontario*
    • Darlington Nuclear Generating Station, Ontario*
    • Gentilly-2 Nuclear Facility, Québec (recently shut down)
    • Point Lepreau Generating Station, New Brunswick


    * I have been in the top three on the operations side.

    You are incomplete LaLa Land on this subject, especially with Ontario's dependance on nuclear power and the HUGE investments it makes in building, maintaining and rebuilding them. You think that they would close these plants and spend billions on decommissioning them and buy power from Alberta? You are bonkers.

    Last edited by Edmonton PRT; 07-09-2019 at 09:33 AM.
    Advocating a better Edmonton through effective, efficient and economical transit.

  4. #4

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    It can stay in Ontario, Alberta could own it.

  5. #5

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    Do you realize the mess that Ontario hydro One is in and you want to assume that? Nuts!
    Advocating a better Edmonton through effective, efficient and economical transit.

  6. #6

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    Does Alberta even have a cooling-water source that would sustain a nuclear plant?
    I am in no way entitled to your opinion...

  7. #7

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    Ottawa has the regulating powers over nuclear.

    Not too long ago, Ottawa sold off Atomic Energy of Canada Limited, the crown corporation and vendor of the CANDU reactors (Canadian Deuterium Uranium) to a company called SNC-Lavalin.

    The reactors in the Province of Ontario are on the verge of going through a life-cycle refit. Point Lepreau in New Brunswick just went through refit and is the test case. This means there is going to be a ramp up in manufacturing of nuclear components.

    Nuclear in Alberta and/or Saskatchewan? Upon regulatory approval, a perpetual build out of 650 MW CANDU-6 reactors could aid in balancing Alberta's base load needs and hedging against future higher prices from Natural Gas generation (co-gen, simple cycle, combined cycle). Once one reactor is built, construction on the next one begins.

    The kicker though is finding a site where there is sufficient water and it is ok for the water body not to freeze over in winter.

    Cardinal Lake near Peace River was proposed by a company backed by Bruce Power. The locals were non-plused.
    There was another proposal by the French-state nuclear firm Areva for near Whitecourt.

    Tossing this out there, what about Wabamum? Sundance? Keephills? Genesee? Forestburg? Sheerness? Power lines are in place, as are the cooling ponds. Or just north of Fort McMurray in the mineable oil sands?
    Last edited by IrishAtomic; 07-09-2019 at 09:42 PM. Reason: added locations.

  8. #8
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    A retiring coal plant would be a good location for nuclear, and there will be several of those in the coming years. Cooling requirements would be greater due to lower thermal efficiency though, possibly requiring lower installed capacity, cooling pond expansion or de-rating during summer. If cooling is limiting, natural gas combined cycle with nearly twice the thermal efficiency starts looking more attractive. Nuclear also has continuing problems with cost control, and I'm not sure if the economies of scale needed to bring costs down will happen while a large fraction of Alberta's baseload demand is supplied by oilsands cogeneration.

    Instead of nuclear, we might want to look into energy storage solutions as a transition strategy, as utility scale batteries would enable a lot of renewable energy development and will be in high demand. Natural gas processing and bitumen refining produces mountains of sulfur, which is a major component of what may be the most scalable battery chemistry yet invented - the sodium-sulfur battery.

  9. #9

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    Most natural gas and crude processing may have to be halted. Moreover oil and gas are both plentiful in the US as well and as they stop producing fossil fuels they will have surplus to deal with and may prefer to use theirs rather than ours. What percentage goes to fuel production or other high CO2 emitting processes?

    I suspect that if we remove the income stream associated with oil and gas production used for fuels, we’ll be left with a much smaller proportion of income to sustain Alberta. So what will replace that? (Keep in mind that it may have to support a population 25-50% larger than the current oil dependent population.)
    Last edited by KC; 07-09-2019 at 12:28 PM.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by KC View Post
    It can stay in Ontario, Alberta could own it.
    So the federal government is gonna order Ontario to hand over ownership of its nuclear industry to Alberta, and Ontario will just go "Okay, sure, yeah, no problem"?

    Any government that issued such an order would be guaranteed to lose every seat in Ontario next election, and probably for the next several decades. Actually, they'd probably lose most of their seats in all of Canada outside of Alberta, because everyone else would wonder if they're next for a mass seizure of their industries.

  11. #11

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    TransMountain transaction (don’t the feds plans include privatizing it?)

    Could work a deal where Ontario doesn’t build any more nuclear and just runs its existing units. Alberta becomes the monopolist for any future production.




    Ontario urged to abandon $13-billion nuclear reactors rebuild | CTV News
    2016

    “Bruce Power announced plans last month to spend $13 billion to refurbish the nuclear reactors at the generating station it operates in Kincardine, on Lake Huron, and the private company will assume all risks of cost overruns.

    Ontario's only other nuclear station, in Pickering, is also scheduled to be decommissioned by 2020, and there are no plans to rebuild its reactors to extend their lives.”

    https://www.ctvnews.ca/canada/ontari...uild-1.2723052


    Interesting:

    Bruce Power cranking out more electricity after upgrade | Owen Sound Sun Times

    “The added efficiency improvements raised the nuclear operator’s peak generating capacity to 6,430 MW.”

    https://www.owensoundsuntimes.com/ne...-after-upgrade
    Last edited by KC; 07-09-2019 at 02:33 PM.

  12. #12

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    If Alberta wanted to buy controlling shares, Hydro One is on the Toronto Stock Market
    https://www.hydroone.com/investor-re...ck-information

    There are 596.61 million shares at about $25 a share.

    Controlling interest would cost a measly $7.5 Billion

    KC wrote "No one would blink at such a move" LOL
    Advocating a better Edmonton through effective, efficient and economical transit.

  13. #13
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    ^^^^ I would suspect that bitumen and gas will be the last bits of the petroleum industry left standing. Shale wells have a short lifespan and production slows quickly after active drilling stops, while bitumen extraction infrastructure is longer lived and already paid for. Gas is the lowest carbon fossil fuel there is, and will be the last to be replaced. There are also the non-combustion uses of petroleum that will remain after we stop using it as fuel - gas as a petrochemical feedstock, and bitumen as a source of aromatic chemicals and asphalt.

  14. #14

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    Existing plant yes. Future plants will likely only be considered when they can displace existing higher cost production. I can’t see them building plant to meet future demand unless their costs are well below what the equivilent shale production would cost. Shale has an advantage in incrementally meeting demand. There’s also shale vast reserves available to tap.

    The push to move away from fossil fuels could come fast and hard. That hasn’t been a huge risk for decades but now it may be a far higher probability. Harder global warming data and technological alternatives are both coming down the pipe.

    Productive capacity growing ever larger up to a point where political or technological change suddenly brings about actual declines in demand at a rate faster than current depletion rates, could Create a global surplus capacity situation. Where prices can’t be dropped to take up a surplus, everything changes. Stranded investment...
    Last edited by KC; 07-09-2019 at 02:52 PM.

  15. #15
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    There will be no new oilsands mines (that's why we're talking about transition strategies), but the existing ones will carry on for some time. If demand crashes, production will drop because the shale frackers will stop drilling and the wells will dry up, not because it is no longer viable to run a mine or SAGD operation that is largely a sunk cost. It would be nice to get some added value from all of that sulfur instead of making mountains out of it or selling it for dirt cheap.

  16. #16

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    Agree. The shale would wind down first and fast, so given our population, we are lucky to have the existing plants that we do. The owners can even go bankrupt and the assets in bankruptcy protection can continue production and even undercut the nearest marginally profitable shale producers.

    However, we can’t expect production to last as long as the resource. Just like coal, a whole lot of recoverable oil and gas will probably have to be left in the ground. So what options do we have to replace the economic benefit that previous capital investment in oil sands plant construction and then the actual resource exportation brought to the province?

    Forty years of diversification efforts did little. Much of the diversification attained related to oil and gas related activities? Assuming that after forty years the private sector has shown itself incapable of diversifying we aren’t left with many options.

    Massive depopulation of the province* would be a natural but somewhat undesirable consequence. So where and how do we attain some form of export alternative? Or do we seek to build up the heritage fund as a source of investment gains (tried and failed).


    * note that a critic on this thread no longer lives in Alberta. Maybe literally a “smart move”. Take the education and run!

    Moreover, I doubt we can expect any of Alberta’s expats to come up with any ideas on export diversification - because they already gave up on Alberta.
    Last edited by KC; 07-09-2019 at 08:06 PM.

  17. #17

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    Canada also needs some massive strategic reserves. (Could ship by train out east or sell to the world in a protracted crisis. If a war destroyed a lot of production and delays went over 90-days the US would demand oil from us proportionate to what we need for ourselves - or something like that per free trade agreements )

    We have the underground storage available in the form of drained conventional oil pools. We could take our surplus / stranded oil sands oil and petrochemical feedstocks and pump them into our old conventional oil wells.

    The government of Canada could pay Alberta a storage fee.

    We could use zero emission nuclear to power the oil sands plants and distribution systems as well as power the pumps for the storage facilities.

    Saudi oil attacks: Why does the US hide oil underground? - BBC News


    The war lasted just three weeks in October that year. But the embargo - which also targeted other countries - lasted until March 1974, causing prices to quadruple worldwide...




    “Each site has several man-made salt caverns up to a kilometre (3,300ft) underground where the oil is stored. This is far cheaper than keeping it in tanks above ground, and safer - the chemical composition of the salt and the geological pressure prevents any oil from leaking out.

    The largest site at Bryan Mound near Freeport has a storage capacity equivalent to 254 million barrels of oil.

    The reserve's website says that on 13 September there were 644.8 million barrels of oil held in these caves.”

    https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-49720026
    Since we also have salt caverns (some used for natural gas I believe) and Saskatchewan has potash caverns maybe there’s opportunity to put nuclear way underground. ( I’d use these caverns for other strategic storage or server farms etc.
    Last edited by KC; 17-09-2019 at 09:18 AM.

  18. #18

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    KC wrote
    * note that a critic on this thread no longer lives in Alberta. Maybe literally a “smart move”. Take the education and run!
    Yeah, I was working for years before I left school and wore steel toed boots every day for 30 years before I left.

    Ever run in steel toed boots?

    Kc, quit attempting the character assassination tactic when you feel threatened.
    Last edited by Edmonton PRT; 17-09-2019 at 11:05 AM.
    Advocating a better Edmonton through effective, efficient and economical transit.

  19. #19

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    ^^ Interesting concept about Canada having it's own strategic petroleum reserves. Looks like we do not. Also, since people would die in the cold winters, a reserve for natural gas should exist. In the new USMCA I wonder if this was addressed, ie, during an emergency Canada can keep more of our resources. Either way, it sounds like we don't have the pipelines to move it all the way east.

    https://oilprice.com/Energy/Energy-G...m-Reserve.html

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