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Canada vows to triple nuclear power production by 2050

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The nuclear renaissance is in full effect as Canada joins an international movement to dramatically increase the amount of nuclear energy produced across the country.

“This is very significant. Canada is joining 22 countries in signing a pledge to triple its nuclear capacity by 2050,” said Chris Keefer, co-founder of Canadians for Nuclear Energy.

The announcement made at COP28, the United Nations Climate Change Conference in the United Arab Emirates, is an about face for Canada, which initially left nuclear energy out of it’s 2022 Green Bond program to support clean energy projects.

Now, it’s banking on nuclear to be the driving force behind reaching Net Zero emission targets by 2050.

“This represents, I’ll call it a U-turn, in Canadian policy. We’ve gone in the last two years from a very lukewarm approach to nuclear to a very warm embrace,” said Keefer, who also founded Doctors for Nuclear Energy.

The change in philosophy and energy policy comes down to reliability, said Keefer. As clean and green as wind and solar energy is, it’s simply not as reliable on its own as nuclear energy is.

“I work in a hospital. My son was on an incubator for five weeks. I take the stability of our electricity grid very seriously,” said Keefer, who is in the United Arab Emirates to participate in his third United Nations Climate Change Conference.

Others suggest a combination of wind, solar, battery storage, and Quebec’s hydroelectric production would be a much better option for Ontario and large parts of Canada, than more nuclear reactors, which currently meets 15 per cent of the country’s electricity needs.

“It doesn’t make any sense to build more nuclear reactors when there are much cleaner, safer, and lower cost options to keep our lights on,” said Jack Gibbons of Ontario’s Clean Air Alliance.

If Canada’s nuclear pledge to triple production is to come true, Ontario will lead the way, with 18 of Canada’s 19 nuclear reactors currently in operation, and plans for more.

“We are looking towards an announcement, I think later this month, that the government will proceed with refurbishing most of the reactors at Pickering. There is 4800 megawatts of new nuclear capacity being planned at Bruce Power. We’ve got the Small Modular Reactors going in at Darlington, but there is a role right across the country,” said Keefer.

You can learn more about the COP 28 Nuclear pledge online.

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