High quality job creation in Ontario: here’s how they’re solving the problem in the U.S.

Yesterday the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission announced it will approve a construction and operating license for two Westinghouse AP1000 reactors at The Southern Company’s Vogtle generating plant. This will be the first new U.S. nuclear project in more than three decades. It will create around 25,000 direct and indirect jobs.

A couple years ago, Ontario was on track to have the first-new-nuclear honour. The province was poised to select reactors for a Darlington B station. The choices were Areva’s EPR, Westinghouse’s AP1000, and AECL’s ACR 1000. The bid reviewers decided that AECL had submitted the only “compliant” bid. But then the bottom fell out of the process when the province and federal government could not agree on the terms of a purchase/sale of an ACR.

Darlington B has languished ever since. Meanwhile, the employment picture in Ontario has remained grim and is now getting worse, and gas-fired electric power generators in Ontario continue to dump ever-greater amounts of CO2 into the atmosphere.

Maybe the thousands of high quality jobs that will come with building the new Vogtle reactors in Georgia will attract new interest in government circles in Canada. Canada’s overall jobs picture just turned seriously sour, while America’s suddenly improved. Vogtle will only accelerate the American recovery.

Interestingly, Westinghouse recently opened a Canadian office, thereby formally returning to a country in which it has deep roots.

Here is how The Southern Company’s Tom Fanning described the significance of the now-approved Vogtle project in an interview with the Nuclear Energy Institute:

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11 years ago

I’m a big fan of nuclear power since there is only one electric power source that is cheaper, just as clean, just as reliable, and more dispatchable. Hydroelectricity. And it JUST SO HAPPENS that Ontario has plenty of untapped hydroelectric potential.

Nuclear power is a fantastic one-size-fits-all solution since nearly every country has maxed out their hydroelectric potential … EXCEPT Canada. So it’s laughable that you should promote nuclear precisely for Ontario. Get your head out of your ass.

The only possible thing that could make nuclear better than hydroelectricity for Ontario is if you buried some nuclear reactors underneath downtown Toronto and hooked them up to the deep lake water district cooling loop. In winter, you’d provide heating, and in summer you’d reverse the loop to cool downtown.

I’m all for nuclear powered district heating but good luck convincing the crazy insane anti-industrial [expletive deleted]s that make up half the general population. They’ve got this crazy idea that radiation is unnatural death magic.

And yes, I am more pro-nuke than thou. For instance, I don’t consider Deregulate The Atom to be at all provocative. Cautious and conservative is more like it. If they were provocative they WOULD say that regulators are unnecessary and evil.

Steve Aplin
11 years ago
Reply to  Richard Kulisz

Moderator’s note: I usually let comments stand without editing but in cases where the comment is approved but contains inappropriate language I reserve the right to “bleep out” the offending words or phrases.

Please try to keep it clean and civil.

11 years ago

Not to get into a silly flame war, but perhaps you should pull your head out of your own behind. Ontario has already maxed out its hydroelectric potential, unless you advocate flooding every potential reservoir to the detriment of that particular source of water and adjacent environments.

11 years ago
Reply to  Legal Illegal

> Ontario has already maxed out its hydroelectric potential

Not even remotely close.

The OPG has identified around 7.5 GW of untapped hydro in the province. This includes conventional sources only, not microhyrdro or flow-of-river systems. Of that, about 300 MW are accounted for simply in equipment upgrades, and another 500 in plant upgrades (like Niagara).

That means there’s at least 50% untapped potential. That is true across the country; if we wanted to, we could power every Joule of our homes, business, factors and even our cars solely from hydro.

What *is* tapped out is political capital. That’s because 4.6 GW of that 7.5 is located on treaty land. We can’t provide housing and a six-pack of OJ is over $15, and no ones going to build anything before that’s fixed. And that’s federal. So I’m not holding my breath.

11 years ago

Also, unlike hydro, nuclear power has never harmed a child in Canada.

Steve Aplin
11 years ago
Reply to  G.R.L. Cowan

Far from harming children, nuclear has saved children’s lives. The fission product cesium 137 is used to sterilize blood prior to transfusion in infants, so as to prevent Transfusion-Associated Graft-versus-Host Disease (TA-GVHD). TA-GVHD is fatal in almost every case.

11 years ago
Reply to  Steve Aplin

Sterilize blood? With gamma rays? I doubt that. I could believe gamma rays are used to sterilize blood-transferring equipment, but blood in which pathogenic organisms have been gamma-killed is blood in which the cells you want are also dead.

Steve Aplin
11 years ago
Reply to  G.R.L. Cowan

Yes, in the case of babies and people with immune-deficiencies, blood and blood products are zapped with a 25-gray dose of gamma. According to the blood authorities in Canada and the U.S., that is the only way to eliminate, with reasonable certainty, the possibility of GVHD.

See http://www.blood.ca/CentreApps/Internet/UW_V502_MainEngine.nsf/resources/COI/$file/SAGM-Red-Blood-Cells-LR.pdf

Two isotopes capable of cranking out gamma rays with sufficient energy are cobalt-60 and cesium-137. Co-60 is used in large central irradiators, and Cs-137 for more compact units in hospitals with limited space.

11 years ago
Reply to  Steve Aplin

Oh. Well, you learn something every day.

11 years ago

“Interestingly, Westinghouse recently opened a Canadian office, thereby formally returning to a country in which it has deep roots”

Well, maybe if you’re loose with your definitions.

The company that would be opening an office here shares little except the name with the company that used to have an office here. They are, in fact, Japanese. The only reason they share that name because they bought it on the open market. Just like these guys did…


Westinghouse, Sunbeam, all the old industrial names are up for sale. Get yours today!