Charbonneau: ‘I think it’s time to build a Bruce C’
BRUCE COUNTY – “I think it’s time to build a Bruce C,” said County Coun. Luke Charbonneau, Saugeen Shores, at the April 20 planning meeting.
He was responding to the recommendation that comments stemming from his notice of motion at the April 6 meeting be circulated to Bruce County municipalities and other nuclear host communities, and that Bruce County submit a reply to the province through the Independent Electricity System Operator’s (IESO) Pathways to Decarbonization Study.
Charbonneau commended Jeff Loney, economic development manager, for the work done on the response to the province.
“We have this tremendous opportunity now, with the renaissance of nuclear in Ontario, and I think… it’s time to build a Bruce C. I think it can be done now… the opportunity exists,” he said.
Charbonneau noted it’s a “multi-billion-dollar” opportunity for Bruce County and it would be the largest investment in the county since the original project.
He added, “The window of opportunity (for more reactors at the Bruce site) has never been more open… has never been brighter than today.
“We (and other host communities) are best suited to host more nuclear,” he said.
Charbonneau said he welcomes the opportunity to work with other host communities to advocate for new nuclear projects in our communities, and for the province to “speed up the regulatory process – there’s no reason why it should take seven years and hundreds of millions of dollars to get a new licence for a new nuclear reactor.” He noted climate change is happening and we need to go to Net Zero – nuclear is the way to do that.
County Coun. Kenneth Craig commented that with he and County Coun. Mark Goetz of South Bruce being members of the Canadian Association of Nuclear Host Communities, a national organization, “my interest in this was the process… how do we proceed to engage the rest of this organization in building support?”
Claire Dodds, director of planning and development, replied that there’s an opportunity here to strengthen relationships with other nuclear host communities. She said the letter being sent from the county is “perhaps the start of a conversation with those other communities.”
The county’s letter to Todd Smith, minister of energy, states in part that “Bruce County supports the government of Ontario’s goal to ensure that the building blocks are in place for an integrated energy plan that meets Ontario’s energy needs… Bruce County is host to Bruce Power, the world’s largest operating nuclear power generating station, so we believe that we are well suited to provide comment.”
The letter further stated that “the province should first consider existing nuclear sites as the primary location to invest in new power generation in order to meet the goals and scenarios outlined in the Pathways to Decarbonization report. Existing nuclear sites have the environmental data and strong safety record to demonstrate they can be tasked with siting new clean generation and storage infrastructure.”
The county proposes beginning planning, siting and environmental studies now, in preparation for “large infrastructure projects” that can take 10 to 15 years to build.
Using existing sites provides “an opportunity to streamline not only the processes but the consultation that needs to occur. Areas like Bruce County have a high level of citizen engagement, knowledge of the industry and acceptance of large-scale energy projects due to the existing infrastructure that is in place.”
In conclusion, the letter stated that “building on existing relationships between local governments, Indigenous communities and the public in nuclear host communities, such as Bruce County, will assist the provincial government expedite the planning and siting of new nuclear generating facilities in Ontario.”
Pauline Kerr, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Walkerton Herald Times