Recent announcements about Canada and China making deals to further China’s interest in accelerating their nuclear power plant expansion have been getting little notice. And some news coverage of Ontario’s energy policy costing us $1 Billion more than necessary. The Memorandum of Understanding was recently signed Nov 8 “between Natural Resources Canada and the China National Energy Administration to advance collaboration between the two countries in the field of civilian nuclear energy including development of advanced fuel reactors and exports to third markets. The same day, Candu signed a framework joint venture (JV) agreement with China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC) to build Advanced Fuel CANDU Reactor (AFCR) projects in China and develop opportunities for it globally. This followed a positive recommendation earlier this week from a Chinese Expert Panel Review on AFCR technology which concluded the proper time should be chosen to “initiate the construction of AFCR to unlock and utilize its various advantages.”
“Taken together, the MOU, framework JV and positive recommendation by a Chinese expert panel represents a new level of cooperation between Canada and China in the next wave of nuclear energy innovation,” said Preston Swafford, President & CEO, Candu Energy. “We look forward to working closely with CNNC in the development and pursuit of nuclear power generation projects in China and abroad using the new AFCR technology.”
The framework JV was signed in Beijing at the Great Hall of the People while in the presence of The Right Honourable Stephen Harper, Prime Minister of Canada and Li Keqiang, Premier of the People’s Republic of China”
CANDUs are known for their reliability and added safety at several levels. The versatility to handle different fuels is made possible in part from the heavy water moderated natural uranium fuel. They have much lower levels of fissile fuel than light water reactors. Countries that do not have a lot of Uranium are interested in CANDUs because the reactors can also run on the Thorium cycle. India is already implementing this approach and China hopes to do the same.
These negotiations mean a lot to Canada since growth for nuclear remains uncertain in our own country. The current political climate is mixed from province to province. Ontario puts too much faith in renewables. Ontario’s energy bills have recently cost the consumer $30 more monthly. This is related to the difficulty of adapting wind and solar to the grid. Without a framework to handle unpredictable power the consumer pays for that uncertainty. Subsidies given to wind and solar effectively cost us double because when the wind stops blowing or the sun stops shing natural gas is called upon to replace it. But since the deal is that renewables get paid for down time the public is effectively paying twice for this so-called green solution. Meanwhile nuclear can handle the extra load if given the chance.
Also related story by Scott Luft: Candu Energy sees promising future (ColdairCurrents.luftonline.net) Nov. 10