Canada is planning to expand what is already the world’s largest nuclear generator.
Ontario, which has the second-largest energy demand of provinces and territories in Canada, aims to add a third generating station to the Bruce Power facility on Lake Huron. This would be the first new large-scale nuclear power plant construction in Canada in 30 years, according to CBC News.
According to Ontario Energy Minister Todd Smith, the additional construction will produce a maximum of 4,800 megawatts, enough to supply electricity to approximately 4.8 million homes, effectively doubling the power plant’s current output.
Although nuclear energy is considered a controversial form of energy production — due in large part to past accidents across the globe — there are numerous benefits when the process is handled safely.
Nuclear is a much cleaner alternative to dirty energy sources like oil and gas (although not as clean when compared to solar, wind, and hydropower), and it is currently the second-largest source when considered part of clean power sources in the U.S.
The usage of nuclear energy prevents more than 500 million tons of planet-warming carbon pollution from going into the atmosphere each year — the same as taking 100 million cars off the road.
Dr. Chris Keefer, a Toronto emergency physician and the president of Canadians for Nuclear Energy, told CBC that because of the nuclear isotopes generated as a byproduct of the energy production process, he started endorsing nuclear power.
“Any investment in this technology leads to not only clean air, not only medical isotopes, not only climate action, but also really good things for Ontario working people,” he told CBC News.
Critics such as Jack Gibbons, who serves as the chair of the Ontario Clean Air Alliance, argue that cost is another significant factor to add to safety concerns, as Gibbons told CBC News. He does not consider nuclear power a feasible solution to keep global temperatures down.
“The Bruce nuclear station is already the largest nuclear station in the world, and it doesn’t make any economic sense to make it bigger, since we’ve got much lower-cost and cleaner and safer options to keep our lights on,” Gibbons said.
Dr. Keefer seemed to disagree and added that he thinks “we have … the world’s safest nuclear reactor.”
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