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With the US dollar being valued at 5% more than the Canadian dollar, those cost estimates for nuclear seem really weird. Any word on why they've gone up by so much, except the weak dollar? Manufacturing supply crunch?

Further, I've heard rumours that nuclear is being put off because of idiotic plans of privatising AECL, (which is essentially a death sentence as the CANDU tech needs a reference customer, and really insane in the middle of a recession, it's not like they're going to be payed top dollar).

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.

by Starvid on Thu Jul 30th, 2009 at 08:15:46 PM EST
Starvid,

The US and Canadian dollars have been shifting around in value a lot of late; two weeks ago it was 1 USD to 1.16 CAN, now it's 1 USD to 1.07 CAN - see http://www.x-rates.com/d/CAD/USD/graph120.html.

This will make the Feed-In Law, which is all about stable prices in CAN dollars, somewhat variable in terms of the USD. I'm sure that some speculators have noticed that one, and will play it to the hilt.

As for reactors and their costs, a number of articles have pointed out that very high discount rates are needed in the US due to the many uncertainties associated with projects that can take 10 years of more to install. Furthermore, a lot of the industrial infrastructure that was available to manufacture the many custom parts (such as those enormous steam boilers (hot water to steam) that tend to be made out of Inconel) has been toasted/gone belly up, part of the many factories that have gone kaputz in the last decade or so, along with the associated jobs (For the US, where a lot of those parts for Canadian reactors would be made, 40,000 factories and 6 million jobs in the last decade). So there are hordes of special parts that will be tough to manufacture anymore, at least in the US and Canada. And then there is the engineering and construction for these big projects...those who used to do this are out of practice, to say the least.

But more important, why would Canada, with a wind resource capable of producing several Terawatts of electricity in a country with only 30 million people ever need nukes? And as for pumped hydro capacity - Ontario has scads of it, especially on the shoreline of Lake Superior, and along the Niagara Escarpment (near Owen Sound/Lake Huron), for starts. And they could always buffer with NY and Quebec. Nukes have put the Province of Ontario deeply in debt, and as one who drinks Great Lakes water, I don't appreciate having these potential leakers (US and Canadian side) using lake water for cooling. They have a history of leaking, and they really leak money like there is no tomorrow. Ontario Power Generation could get better value for its investments if it plunked down $20 billion on wind and pumped hydro storage for the province, instead of conjuring up a need for nukes. Plus, with the neo-depression, electricity demand is down, not up, kinda trashing the argument for more power. But, there is the need to replace the coal burners for the province....and wind/pumped hydro would do a better job at that. For example, see http://wagengineering.blogspot.com/2009/07/windy-way.html. Rumor has it that OPG was paying people to take their nuke electricity this spring, due to supply-demand...imbalances....

Nb41

by nb41 on Fri Jul 31st, 2009 at 10:51:48 PM EST
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