Thursday, 22 August 2013

Nuclear, not wind, the way to go

Nuclear, not wind, the way to go: "Ten years ago, as the province emerged, blinking, from a dark tunnel of a massive blackout that left 50 million people without power, we asked why?
And we wanted to know what we could do to avoid having it happen again. We looked at what worked -- and what didn't.
One of the key ...elements to this province's survival was the Bruce plant on Lake Huron.
It -- and the Beck hydro-powered plant at Niagara Falls -- were the power sources that survived the power outage and got back up and running quickly.
Bruce Power CEO Duncan Hawthorne spoke to me Tuesday, recalling the dark days of August 2003.
"One of the good features of the CANDU is that when the turbine comes off-line and you are disconnected from the rest of the world, the operators have the ability to hold the reactors at power," he said.
While unexpected multi-unit failures such as the blackout are rare, Bruce workers had trained for a similar event before the turn of the millennium, when there'd been dire predictions of a so-called Y2K meltdown.
While that didn't happen, it left Bruce well prepared for the blackout of 2003.
They were able to keep their reactors "at power" and waited for instructions from the electricity market operator looking for generation to re-establish the grid.
"We returned our units to power very slowly so the market operator could match available supply," Hawthorne recalled. "We resynchronized within 18 minutes and then started loading up the units to the instructions of the market operator."
Coal-fired plants that have been shut down were also flexible, and helped restore power.
Hawthorne says if the Darlington nuclear plant had come back as quickly as Bruce did, it wouldn't have taken as long as it did to restore power province-wide.
"If Darlington had been able to do with their units what Bruce did, which they are designed to do, then that would have made a big difference to our ability to come back from that event," he said.
While the government would have you believe they're replacing coal with wind, the numbers just don't add up.
"Mathematically, we would say nuclear up, coal down," Hawthorne told me."

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