Geoffrey Scotton, with files from Jason Fekete
March 14, 2008
The only private operator of nuclear plants in Canada, Bruce Power LP, plans to bring nuclear power to Alberta, saying Thursday it hopes to build a $10-billion-plus generating complex near Peace River.
But experts on nuclear power were quick to note that even though nuclear generation has massive capital costs, it has a dismal track record at meeting cost estimates and construction schedules and that, once operational, the reliability of nuclear stations has been spotty, at best.
No facility in Canada has come in on time and on budget and most have required massive, costly refurbishment years ahead of original expectations.
“The history in this field has been that even Bruce Power has experienced significant overruns on projects that were probably more predictable than this one,” said Norman Rubin, director of nuclear research for Energy Probe, a Toronto-based energy advocacy group.
“This is not without its risks,” he added, noting new technology will make it even more financially risky.
“You wonder whether the lessons have been learned,” said Rubin.
“Don’t get into a situation where the lights will only stay on if these things happen as promised and they run as promised, because our history is that that never happens – they never run as promised.”