By James Scongack
“We’re going to be in business for the next 50 years. The public needs to know that Bruce Power creates a multi-value product.”
This was the perspective I shared in the summer of 2019 when Bruce Power hosted a series of “Up and Atom” town halls to provide information about our role in the production of medical isotopes for the health-care system not only here in Ontario, but across Canada and globally. It’s an extremely important part of our story and of our commitment over the next half-century to providing an established baseload of clean energy, good jobs, innovation around energy and those aforementioned life-saving isotopes. When we had these sessions, no one could have predicted the global pandemic we are in today and how during this challenging time, we’ve in fact become more reliant on medical isotopes for sterilization in health care, for personal protective equipment and in areas of the vaccination supply chain.
Together, with our ongoing commitment to contribute to a net zero Canada by 2050, they motivated Bruce Power to collaborate with the Nuclear Innovation Institute this summer and produce The Next 50 Years. The report, which can be found on the NII website at www.nuclearinnovationinstitute.ca, shines a light on how the largest operating nuclear plant in North America – right here in our own backyard – can be a catalyst in creating the road to a clean energy future.
We’ve been doing this for quite some time now in Ontario, which has one of the cleanest electricity grids in the world in large part due to nuclear power. It was only 16 short years ago the electricity generated by coal plants in our province produced 53 smog days. Nuclear paved the way for the elimination of coal-generated power, which led to zero smog days in 2015 and we’ve stayed that course so that Ontarians can breathe more easily and safely.
Bruce Power also helps avoid almost 31-million tonnes of carbon dioxide every year, the equivalent of removing six million cars from the province’s roads. If you need further proof of nuclear’s role in reducing emissions and costs, look at Germany which has become more carbon-intensive, expensive and dependent on foreign fuels since shutting down its reactors. In California, ditching nuclear in favour of large-scale renewables has, like Germany, increased costs and emissions.
Our goal is to reduce on-site emissions – including from vehicles, machinery and buildings – to net zero by 2027. That’s ambitious, and unprecedented in North America, reinforces our commitment to a better, cleaner future that’s complemented by our ongoing Major Component Replacement (MCR) project. It includes working with the Canadian energy industry, supply chain partners and organizations like the NII and Canadian Nuclear Isotopes Council to use and advocate for innovation to develop new sources of energy and identifying new isotopes. And it includes working with our communities to provide a sustainable environment for families and businesses.
To quote the report “the next 50 years will test the ability of coming generations to break old habits and build a better world”.
As always, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions. You can also follow me on Twitter @jscongack.