Pickering Nuclear

OVERKILL

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Originally Posted by 4WD
Also no comparison to the speed to build or even expand double in size. GTG plants don't need anywhere near the water. I saw an 8 turbine plant go up 20 miles from a nuke plant … but they will feed local grids whereas the nuke is sending power a great distance since it can absorb the line loss whereas a GTG plant would take a bigger hit by the wire.
Yep, a gas plant goes up much quicker. We have no shortage of water, so cooling isn't even a consideration really.
 
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Originally Posted by OVERKILL
Originally Posted by BMWTurboDzl
Originally Posted by OVERKILL
Originally Posted by BMWTurboDzl
Are the NatGas plants that much cheaper to buy and opoerate? Will Canada have to import NatGas?
Oh yes, significantly cheaper to purchase. Operate? No, they have ongoing fuelling costs that are significantly higher than the price of uranium. The purchase of 3x gas plants cost $2.87 billion, according to this article: https://www.opg.com/media_release/o...-tc-energy-to-acquire-natual-gas-assets/ The refurbishment of Pickering would cost at least $8 billion is my guess, even capitalizing on the momentum from the Darlington refurbishment and Bruce MCR. $5 billion buys a lot of gas. We produce tons of natgas domestically, so no, none of it would be imported to my knowledge. The big issue here is replacing an asset with an emissions footprint of <12gCO2/kWh with one that is at minimum, 380gCO2/kWh. It's a HUGE step backwards on environmental stewardship, something Ontario's massive nuclear fleet has been a critical component of and has resulted in us having the lowest power generation emissions in the world at numerous times throughout the year.
Are they peaker plants or expected to generate the majority of the base load?
Base load, they'll be replacing Pickering in that capacity. We have tons of peaking capacity already.
Odd...I would think that nuclear is what one would call a stranded asset and best to keep running it for as long as possible. The plants seem to be in an ideal location.
 

OVERKILL

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Originally Posted by BMWTurboDzl
Odd...I would think that nuclear is what one would call a stranded asset and best to keep running it for as long as possible. The plants seem to be in an ideal location.
Yes, the issue, as I mentioned earlier, is that the pressure tubes for all four B units are original (pushing 40 years), so to continue to operate the plant much past 2024, it will need to have them replaced, this is a multi-billion dollar project; probably >$8 billion, and to do it, they'd basically have to start within the next two years, as each unit takes roughly 2 years to do. Consumer tolerance for increases in electricity prices hit a tipping point under the previous administration. We were saddled with a fixed-rate contract scheme that punished ratepayers by forcing them to pay for intermittent generation that was often out of phase with demand and dumped on foreign markets. Despite calls from analysts and experts to correct this path, they kept the blinders on and even doubled-down at one point. This culminated in an utter defeat of that party in the last election, they lost so many seats they lost official party status and were dubbed "the Minivan party". When you've campaigned on fixing the mess that the previous admin left behind (the current party) committing billions to a massive public construction project would be a very hard sell, which is likely why they've not broached the subject. Heck, they haven't done much on this front other than just cancel pending contracts to stop the bleeding, the mess is still in play. The problem is that currently, a large portion of our supply cost is wrapped up in paying overly-generous contract costs for privately owned wind, solar, gas and biomass projects and unless this government takes action to do something about those contracts, they are likely going to be unable to commit the CAPEX to refurbish Pickering, hence the gas plants frown
 
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Originally Posted by OVERKILL
Originally Posted by BMWTurboDzl
Odd...I would think that nuclear is what one would call a stranded asset and best to keep running it for as long as possible. The plants seem to be in an ideal location.
Yes, the issue, as I mentioned earlier, is that the pressure tubes for all four B units are original (pushing 40 years), so to continue to operate the plant much past 2024, it will need to have them replaced, this is a multi-billion dollar project; probably >$8 billion, and to do it, they'd basically have to start within the next two years, as each unit takes roughly 2 years to do. Consumer tolerance for increases in electricity prices hit a tipping point under the previous administration. We were saddled with a fixed-rate contract scheme that punished ratepayers by forcing them to pay for intermittent generation that was often out of phase with demand and dumped on foreign markets. Despite calls from analysts and experts to correct this path, they kept the blinders on and even doubled-down at one point. This culminated in an utter defeat of that party in the last election, they lost so many seats they lost official party status and were dubbed "the Minivan party". When you've campaigned on fixing the mess that the previous admin left behind (the current party) committing billions to a massive public construction project would be a very hard sell, which is likely why they've not broached the subject. Heck, they haven't done much on this front other than just cancel pending contracts to stop the bleeding, the mess is still in play. The problem is that currently, a large portion of our supply cost is wrapped up in paying overly-generous contract costs for privately owned wind, solar, gas and biomass projects and unless this government takes action to do something about those contracts, they are likely going to be unable to commit the CAPEX to refurbish Pickering, hence the gas plants frown
So I guess gas plants are cheaper to operate and will allow the utility to continue to pay those renewable contracts with a commensurate reduction in the rate paid by ratepayers?
 

OVERKILL

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Originally Posted by BMWTurboDzl
So I guess gas plants are cheaper to operate and will allow the utility to continue to pay those renewable contracts with a commensurate reduction in the rate paid by ratepayers?
The gas plants will probably actually end up being more expensive to operate, given fuelling costs. But the utility can charge-back the gas to the regulator, so it gets blended into the Utility's overall compensation rather than being tied to a particular rate class, which nuclear and hydro are both silo'd into. The Utility doesn't pay the costs of the renewable contracts, that's handled by the regulator, passing those costs onto consumers. If you want me to break this down a bit so it makes more sense, just let me know, it's a reasonably complex system. Consumers are NOT going to see a reduction in rates paid, if anything, they'll probably incrementally increase, depending on where nat gas prices go. But at that point the rate can be justified as being tied to the price of a commodity rather than an infrastructure project. If that sounds stupid, that's because it is.
 
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Originally Posted by Pew
What do fueling costs consist of for both Nuclear and Gas plants?
Fuel is a very small part of the cost of operations for nuclear. MSR Thorium is 99 times more efficient than traditional nuclear and the fuel cost is an even smaller part of the pie and more importantly the spent rod storage is much lower.
 
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Originally Posted by OVERKILL
The gas plants will probably actually end up being more expensive to operate, Consumers are NOT going to see a reduction in rates paid, if anything, they'll probably incrementally increase, depending on where nat gas prices go. But at that point the rate can be justified as being tied to the price of a commodity rather than an infrastructure project. If that sounds stupid, that's because it is.
"RATES" don't worry me as much as fees and taxes. Our utility has been trying to offload costs normally charged at an industrial or municipal level into the fixed taxes and fees. I pay $49.99 in tax and fees but only use about $6 of electricity. Our utilities have been lobbying for an ever increasing fee base to consumers, which in my mind will make people move to solar and off grid Regardless of natural gas infrastructure costs vrs coal, coal fired plants if properly up fitted could (and in some cases) do a very necessary task of eliminating non-recyclable and contaminated plastics, 90% of plastic is never recycled and it makes and excellent fuel source. If we could remove our collective heads from our rear we could do what is necessary to take care of our waste instead of shipping it 3000 miles for kids in Cambodia to play with.
 
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OVERKILL

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Originally Posted by Pew
What do fueling costs consist of for both Nuclear and Gas plants?
A nuclear fuel bundle is typically in the reactor for 4-6 months (HWR fuel cycle, LWR is longer). One natural uranium pellet produces the same amount of electricity as 350 cubic meters of natural gas. For the sake of keeping this reasonably simple, we'll use the CANFLEX bundle, which is used at Bruce and I believe Darlington. There are 480 fuel channels, each consisting of 13 fuel bundles, which in turn consist of 43 fuel elements (pins), which, IIRC, contain about 25 pellets each (they are 50cm long, and each pellet is roughly 2cm). This means we are looking at 6,708,000 uranium pellets for a typical reactor load, which can produce the same amount of power as 2.35 billion cubic meters of natural gas. Enbridge, the local gas company, charges $0.08 per cubic meter, so each uranium pellet is worth roughly $28 of natural gas and a typical fuel load produces the same amount of power as $188 million worth of natural gas. If Enbridge were to charge the same as EPCOR, that cost would be $306 million, to demonstrate how that can change rapidly due to gas price fluctuation. The cost of fabricating natural uranium fuel bundles appears to be around $60/kg. Each bundle is 20kg, so a full fresh fuel load is $7.49 million, so the nuke plant is 25x cheaper to fuel than the gas plant.
 
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Originally Posted by OVERKILL
Originally Posted by Pew
What do fueling costs consist of for both Nuclear and Gas plants?
A nuclear fuel bundle is typically in the reactor for 4-6 months (HWR fuel cycle, LWR is longer). One natural uranium pellet produces the same amount of electricity as 350 cubic meters of natural gas. For the sake of keeping this reasonably simple, we'll use the CANFLEX bundle, which is used at Bruce and I believe Darlington. There are 480 fuel channels, each consisting of 13 fuel bundles, which in turn consist of 43 fuel elements (pins), which, IIRC, contain about 25 pellets each (they are 50cm long, and each pellet is roughly 2cm). This means we are looking at 6,708,000 uranium pellets for a typical reactor load, which can produce the same amount of power as 2.35 billion cubic meters of natural gas. Enbridge, the local gas company, charges $0.08 per cubic meter, so each uranium pellet is worth roughly $28 of natural gas and a typical fuel load produces the same amount of power as $188 million worth of natural gas. If Enbridge were to charge the same as EPCOR, that cost would be $306 million, to demonstrate how that can change rapidly due to gas price fluctuation. The cost of fabricating natural uranium fuel bundles appears to be around $60/kg. Each bundle is 20kg, so a full fresh fuel load is $7.49 million, so the nuke plant is 25x cheaper to fuel than the gas plant.
Q: What's the real story behind the viability of Thorium reactors. Fact or Fantasy ?
 

OVERKILL

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Originally Posted by BMWTurboDzl
Q: What's the real story behind the viability of Thorium reactors. Fact or Fantasy ?
It's fact, but the reason it has never taken off is because a thorium fuel cycle doesn't work for conventional BWR/PWR reactors that run on enriched uranium (most reactors operating today). Thorium isn't fissile, so you need to blend it with something else that is in order to make it work. An example of this is plutonium. A plutonium/thorium blend is a viable fuel cycle for a HWR (like a CANDU) and has been demonstrated as workable, however, with the abundance of cheap uranium, there's never been a need to pursue it beyond proof of concept. If we manage to get to a point where uranium begins to become scare, or in markets that are constrained by uranium availability, we'll perhaps see it gain popularity. Heavy water reactors (HWR's) like the CANDU are inherently flexible fuel cycle capable. This means they can run on a lot of stuff that a LWR cannot. Depleted uranium, plutonium MOX, thorium, spent LWR fuel...etc. There are myriad fissile blends that can be constructed to work, but the cheapest is still currently straight natural uranium. China has a spent LWR fuel cycle at Qinshan (not sure as to how much of the fuel cycle uses this yet, but the idea was to use the CANDU's as a 2nd level of fuel utilization, increasing the economy) in an attempt to reduce demand while increasing utilization. Most of the MSR SMR's currently being pursued globally have similar, or even broader flexibility as HWR's, so they can do similar fuel cycles including the use of thorium if desired. Most of the current agenda focuses around using existing waste stores and that's one of the big things up here, is building units that will run on CANDU waste, which is less dangerous, but also less valuable than spent enriched LWR fuel, because of its lower levels of fissile materials.
 

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What kind of turbine/generator sets?

They are mostly, if not all, made by GE. They are a typical steam generator setup and output is dictated, mostly, by the thermal capacity of the units. The units at Bruce have the highest thermal capacity in the fleet (2,832MWth) and so in theory, can produce the most power. In practice, currently the most powerful units in the fleet are at Darlington at 880MW/each.
 
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