Ontario Nuclear Update - June 24th, 2023

OVERKILL

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it's been approximately one month since my last one of these so I figured it was time to post again.

- Darlington Unit 3 finished refurbishment 6 months early. The unit has been undergoing low power (1%) testing and on the 19th of June, the regulatory hold point 3 was removed, allowing the unit to ramp up to 35% power:

- Bruce Unit 2, after returning from an outage, hit 836MWe on the 21st, which is the highest any Bruce A unit (originally 750MWe) has ever gone. This is still at 92.5% full power, as the units are thermally constrained due to regulation:
Screen Shot 2022-03-24 at 11.56.53 PM.jpg


Via some crude calculation, this means the unit is capable of ~904MWe, a 150MW increase in capacity.
Screen Shot 2023-06-22 at 9.55.17 AM.jpg


- There have been multiple calls for the Ford government to start construction on new CANDU units in the province. We have a 4,800MW site license at Darlington which we'll barely touch with the 4x BWRX-300 units planned to be constructed there. Calls for 4x new CANDU 9 (EC9?) units have been made. There is also talk of development of the Wesleyville site, which I've mentioned in previous updates.


And the last couple of days has really highlighted the critical role Ontario's nuclear fleet provides.

This morning, wind output had been in the double digits for more than 24hrs, producing 35MW of 5,000. On top of that, hydro output is low this year, it has been dry, and this appears to be impacting Quebec as well. What this means is that Ontario is running gas capacity to not only cover for its lack of wind, but also for export, feeding Quebec and the northern US. Quebec was also importing from New York. Since it was overcast, solar output was at about 50%, which of course also had to be covered for by gas.

This is what this looked like, and this is a low demand Saturday:
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Despite Pickering being down Unit 4 (it's back now), which had not returned from its spring maintenance break yet, it managed to out-produce our 5GW wind fleet by almost 3x:
Screen Shot 2023-06-21 at 8.45.34 PM.jpg

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As we enter the summer, the difference will be even more stark, as wind output continues to decline. We've hit a two-week low of 6.87% before, in 2019.

The case for no further investment in wind in the province is clear, while the investment in more publicly owned nuclear being a necessity is obvious if we intend to reduce gas usage.
 
With the extreme heat we're having I am hoping a reconsideration of bringing the Palo nuclear reactor back on line will cause a "rethinking" of the ridiculous decisions that have been made.

Illinois, as poor of it's reputation, luckily embraces nuclear power, 11 reactors at 6 sites for ~50% of the energy generated in IL. We sure do love our cheap energy here!
 
If we actually intend to reduce hydrocarbon fuel use, nuclear is the only answer.
Everyone who thinks about it for more than a soundbite minute knows that wind and solar come with their own sets of environmental problems and can't make up much of the needed capacity even if fully implemented.
Hydro is also not free of environmental consequences and is only renewable as long as the rains come upstream of the obligatory dam to keep the reservoirs full.
 
@OVERKILL
I suspect you may have watched it by now but being your interested in this stuff I think you will like it because the 8 series movie was made to be as accurate as possible and at the same time entertaining. (keep in mind produced in Japan/dubbed)
If you ever do watch it and make it to #8 in the series watch it through to the end where they show the real people involved.

Im sure you know by now Im not posting this as a knock on the industry, but saying that here because others may not know how strongly I feel nuclear is the answer. We all learn from mistakes and everything worked as it should have, the 9.0 earth quake was so strong it knocked Planet Earth off her axis.
The 6 nuclear plants (not sure if all were running at the time) safety systems all worked as intended because of the earth quake. They detected the quake and automatically shut down. But no one calculated that a wave 46 (FORTY SIX) FEET high would strike the plants sea walls and 46 foot wall of water would flood the back up generators leaving the six reactor plants with ZERO power, no cooling, no instruments, no lights.


 
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Hindsight being 20/20, would have been a smart choice to be "all in" like France, including having a nuclear fuel reprocessing plant.
Problem with fuel reprocessing with CANDU fuel is that there's less fissile material in a spent CANDU fuel bundle than in the tailings from the enrichment process for LWR fuel. So, you can't use something like PUREX to extract useful fissile material from it.

I believe it was at McMaster, but there was a study done on using Fluorine to reprocess CANDU SNF, but it was significantly more expensive than just mining more uranium. Canada has the richest uranium deposits in the world, which makes any sort of conventional reprocessing a hard sell.
 
Hey OK… is there a rule of thumb they use to estimate how many houses/dwellings they can support with a single CANDU? These are obviously more convenient and reliable than the “green” alternatives- how big is a single unit as well? Trying to compare power density.

My county (which is like 80% farmland) has given up land for about 220+ wind turbines, and also ruined the view, and I think each one is given a footprint of an acre. In addition, they’re installing 4,000 acres of solar panels, also of prime farmland. After this uglifying of our surroundings, they then ship the electricity off to the Northeast, so we don’t get the benefit of this energy, but we get the “privilege” of paying the PJM rider for it! 🤬

My point is, we’ve ceded ~4,500 acres for intermittent energy which raises costs, when we could have replaced it with (probably) a single CANDU that may have taken up what, maybe 15-20 acres, tops??
 
Hey OK… is there a rule of thumb they use to estimate how many houses/dwellings they can support with a single CANDU? These are obviously more convenient and reliable than the “green” alternatives- how big is a single unit as well? Trying to compare power density.

My county (which is like 80% farmland) has given up land for about 220+ wind turbines, and also ruined the view, and I think each one is given a footprint of an acre. In addition, they’re installing 4,000 acres of solar panels, also of prime farmland. After this uglifying of our surroundings, they then ship the electricity off to the Northeast, so we don’t get the benefit of this energy, but we get the “privilege” of paying the PJM rider for it! 🤬

My point is, we’ve ceded ~4,500 acres for intermittent energy which raises costs, when we could have replaced it with (probably) a single CANDU that may have taken up what, maybe 15-20 acres, tops??
Among other reasons for nuclear plant security ideally you use a much bigger format with multiple units near major transmission lines.

I am sure it would be less than 4500 acres though. bruce with 8 units is around 2500 acres.
Of course they have on site construction/training/security/offices etc.
 
Problem with fuel reprocessing with CANDU fuel is that there's less fissile material in a spent CANDU fuel bundle than in the tailings from the enrichment process for LWR fuel. So, you can't use something like PUREX to extract useful fissile material from it.

I believe it was at McMaster, but there was a study done on using Fluorine to reprocess CANDU SNF, but it was significantly more expensive than just mining more uranium. Canada has the richest uranium deposits in the world, which makes any sort of conventional reprocessing a hard sell.

From a financial perspective doesn't make much sense. Though usually the biggest argument against nuclear energy is what to do with the spent fuel.
 
Hey OK… is there a rule of thumb they use to estimate how many houses/dwellings they can support with a single CANDU? These are obviously more convenient and reliable than the “green” alternatives- how big is a single unit as well? Trying to compare power density.

My county (which is like 80% farmland) has given up land for about 220+ wind turbines, and also ruined the view, and I think each one is given a footprint of an acre. In addition, they’re installing 4,000 acres of solar panels, also of prime farmland. After this uglifying of our surroundings, they then ship the electricity off to the Northeast, so we don’t get the benefit of this energy, but we get the “privilege” of paying the PJM rider for it! 🤬

My point is, we’ve ceded ~4,500 acres for intermittent energy which raises costs, when we could have replaced it with (probably) a single CANDU that may have taken up what, maybe 15-20 acres, tops??
It’s a hard number to track down because it varies so highly depending on climate. Vogtle says their 1,117MW Unit 3 can power roughly 500,000 homes. Using that math of ~447 homes per MW, a single thermally constrained CANDU operating at 836MWe would power about 374,216 homes.

I know the county you’re talking about…. Starke County installed a bunch of panels recently in some great farmland as well.
 
Hey OK… is there a rule of thumb they use to estimate how many houses/dwellings they can support with a single CANDU? These are obviously more convenient and reliable than the “green” alternatives- how big is a single unit as well? Trying to compare power density.

My county (which is like 80% farmland) has given up land for about 220+ wind turbines, and also ruined the view, and I think each one is given a footprint of an acre. In addition, they’re installing 4,000 acres of solar panels, also of prime farmland. After this uglifying of our surroundings, they then ship the electricity off to the Northeast, so we don’t get the benefit of this energy, but we get the “privilege” of paying the PJM rider for it! 🤬

My point is, we’ve ceded ~4,500 acres for intermittent energy which raises costs, when we could have replaced it with (probably) a single CANDU that may have taken up what, maybe 15-20 acres, tops??
It varies based on average household consumption in a given area I believe; it depends on where you are. OPG claims Darlington can power 2 million homes. That's 3,512MWe, so 570 homes per MW.

There are a few different CANDU designs, the current export model is the EC6, which is 670MWe NET, so a single unit could power 382,000 homes. There are currently grumblings about the 900MWe class design making a comeback (resurrecting the design at Darlington) which would, based on OPG's math, power 513,000 homes.

Our most compact site is Pickering, which is ~180 acres (22 acres per unit) for 4,200MWe nameplate (currently 3,100MWe due to the A side being half shuttered). As @Rand noted, the Bruce site is much, much larger, but the vast majority of that isn't plant. The grounds were slated to house two more plants, it has the Western Waste Management Facility, offices, and a ton of open land with nothing on it as part of that 2,500 acre footprint. Plant proper is about 300 acres for the two 4-packs, which currently produce enough power to run 3.7 million households.

But yes, all 14GW of Ontario's nuclear capacity could fit on a fraction of that 4,000 acres and would more than power the entire state of Indiana.
 
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From a financial perspective doesn't make much sense. Though usually the biggest argument against nuclear energy is what to do with the spent fuel.
The Moltex SSR is supposed to reprocess and run on spent CANDU fuel. The thing with CANDU fuel is that it hits virgin ore radiation levels after about 500 years because the burnup is higher than LWR fuel and the better neutron economy. So while we are planning to construct a DGR, the spent fuel doesn't pose the same hazard that LWR fuel does. This is also a challenge for the BWRX units being built at Darlington, because our DGR isn't going to be setup to handle non-CANDU SNF. All the studies and work done on design and how the used fuel will be stored is based on CANDU fuel bundles, which are somewhat unique.
 
Among other reasons for nuclear plant security ideally you use a much bigger format with multiple units near major transmission lines.

I am sure it would be less than 4500 acres though. bruce with 8 units is around 2500 acres.
Of course they have on site construction/training/security/offices etc.
Didn't know if you saw this one in the group:

WhatsApp Image 2023-05-21 at 10.38.30 PM.jpeg
 
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