As we work to build a net-zero economy by 2050, energy infrastructure will play an increasingly important role. One of the most efficient ways to rapidly scale clean energy solutions is through nuclear power – but it can take more than a decade to open new plants, so decisions must be made soon. Watch our expert panel explore what role nuclear power can play in enabling Canada’s prosperity in a net-zero future.
Jennifer Frees: (music)
[00:01:30] Hello everyone. Thank you all for joining. My name is, Jennifer Frees, and I'm the Senior Vice President of Business Development here at the Toronto Region Board of Trade. Welcome to today's webcast, all about our Net-Zero Future and how we'll reach that future with the help of nuclear power. I'd like to begin today by acknowledging that Toronto is home to diverse First Nations, Inuit and Métis people. And that the board's offices are located on the traditional territory of many indigenous [00:02:00] nations. Reconciliation plays an important role in conversations about climate action and our energy sector.
A few other opening notes. Today's broadcast is presented in partnership with SNC-Lavalin who provide unparalleled support to their clients in nuclear and help ensure we get to safely experience the benefits of clean power for generations. We are also grateful to Ontario's Nuclear Advantage for serving as today's programming partner. [00:02:30] All board webcasts are also supported by our principal sponsors, the Globe and Mail and Scotiabank. Our recording of today's event will be available at supportbusiness.bot.com under webinars and videos. Select, "Click Here, to switch stream if your video is lagging or request help for any other technical issues. And of course, you can submit questions for our panel today at any point through the Q&A feature to the right. With that, I'm glad to kick [00:03:00] this discussion off.
Last month, the Prime Minister raised Canada's emissions reduction target to as much as 45% within the next decade, front-loading the work towards our goal of a Net-Zero emissions by 2050. And last week, the board hosted leaders from the TTC, Toronto Hydro and OPG to talk about the public transit electrification project, the largest in the province's history. These are historic announcements and ones that will help manage the effects of climate change. [00:03:30] But they also present a challenge. How can we meet ambitious emission reduction targets while also increasing demand for electricity all while keeping cost down for businesses? Right now, the best position answer to that question is nuclear power.
Nuclear power plants have operated for more than 60 years providing dependable 24/7 and cost effective energy output. In fact, it was nuclear power that drove Ontario's elimination of coal power generation over the past 20 years, helping make smog [00:04:00] days a thing of the past. There is a catch, however, nuclear power plants can take a decade or more to get approved and built, meaning that if we want to reap the benefits of nuclear to meet our 2050 goal, we have to act now, which brings us to today's event. What steps should be taken to clear the path for more nuclear capacity? And how can a growing nuclear sector benefit our regional economy and country as more than a source of power? To help answer those questions [00:04:30] and more SNC-Lavalin and the board have brought together an expert panel. Before we kick that panel off, I'd like to invite, Kathy Cottrell, senior director of product development from presenting partner SNC-Lavalin to make a few short comments. Welcome, Kathy, and over to you.
Dr. Catherine C...: Thank you, Jennifer. Hello everyone. And welcome to the Toronto Board of Trade conversation about how Canada's nuclear sector can help deliver on our Net-Zero aspirations. The more than 60,000 [00:05:00] direct and indirect, highly skilled Canadian jobs that are supported by the sector speaks to its economic significance here in Ontario and across the country. And beyond keeping the lights on for the millions of households and businesses in our community, it has also been a catalyst for realizing critically important health and environment objectives, such as the shutting down of coal fire plants and the development of isotopes to support improved cancer [00:05:30] care. Now it's time for the folks driving this sector to step up again, to help Canada reach its Net-Zero aspirations. Now, I welcome you to take a look of at a video of SNC-Lavalin of Net-Zero.
Jennifer Frees: [00:06:30] Thanks so much, Kathy. And I have to say, every time I see that video, I'm so moved. It's always a sign of a great video. This certainly isn't the first time the board has collaborated with SNC, and we are so glad to work with your team on so many projects. And now we're going to transition to our a panel discussion. [00:07:00] Today we'll be moderated by Scotiabank, Vice President of social impact and sustainability, Sandra Odenhahl. Sandra, has 25 years of experience in environmental science, corporate sustainability, and responsible finance. She also serves on the Board of the Canadian Institute for Climate Choices. She's really the perfect person for guiding today's discussion. Welcome, Sandra.
Sandra Odenhahl: Thank you very much, Jennifer. And thank you to the Board of Trade for inviting me to participate in today's event. I think it's going [00:07:30] to be really interesting. I'm looking forward to hearing from the panelists. Just a reflection before we get started. At Scotiabank, we're actually in the middle of a project to look at the bank's role in a Net-Zero future. And in doing some of the background research, I'm sure a lot of folks on this webcast have been seeing the IEA's recent report on a Net-Zero future by 2050. One of the things that I find really interesting about the IEA report, and of course, they're [00:08:00] looking at, what is it going to take if we are serious about Net-Zero by 2050? And I quote, "The path to Net-Zero emissions is narrow. Staying on it requires immediate and massive deployment of all available, clean and efficient energy technologies, hydropower and nuclear, the two largest sources of low carbon electricity today, provide essential foundation for transitions."
Being in Ontario, having the IEA validate the nuclear [00:08:30] and hydro are massively important foundational sources, a little carbon energy is something really important to keep in mind as we listen to the panel. And similar findings are also through the Canadian Institute for Climate Choices, who recently did a report on Canada's Net-Zero future. And I encourage you to take a look at that because you'll also see mention of some of the things that we need to count on, including hydroelectric and nuclear power generation. With that, I do [00:09:00] want to introduce our great panel. I'm going to start by introducing, Julianne den Decker. Julianne, is senior Vice President of project delivery at SNC-Lavalin. Julianne, is responsible for SNC's role in Ontario's refurbishment projects at Bruce Power and OPG as well as all new reactor design and delivery. With 20 years of experience in heavy industrial engineering and construction, she's led [00:09:30] as many as 350 engineers in the design of multi-billion dollar facilities. Welcome to, Julianne.
Julianne den De...: [inaudible 00:09:37] Sandra.
Sandra Odenhahl: Yeah. Thanks. Next, we also have, James Scongack, did I say that correctly?
James Scongack: You got it.
Sandra Odenhahl: Okay, great. As someone who always gets her name butchered, although not today, I'm conscious of that. Thank you. The executive Vice President of Corporate Affairs and operational services at Bruce Power. Leading a team [00:10:00] of approximately 900 people to provide services for both operations and construction activities, James, has also got responsibility for the company's medical isotopes business, and he serves as the chair of the Canadian Nuclear Isotope Council. Welcome, James.
James Scongack: Thanks for having me.
Sandra Odenhahl: And finally, we're pleased to have OPG's Senior Vice President of Corporate Affairs, Heather Ferguson. Heather, has more than 20 years of experience in the resource development, energy and electricity sectors. [00:10:30] And she was instrumental in creating OPG's Electrification Development Group. She also helped assemble the company's new nuclear team, working to advance small nuclear reactors and successfully built Northern Ontario power projects in partnership with indigenous communities. I want to thank you all for being here. And for everyone who's joined, as a reminder, if you have questions for this group, you can ask them now through the Q&A feature to the right. As those come [00:11:00] in. I'm also going to be asking a few of my own.
I'm going to start though with, Julianne, a question for you. Julianne, as we know, the Canadian government has set a pretty ambitious goal of reaching Net-Zero GHG emissions by 2050, and also the recently increased 2030 targets. And this comes after even more ambitious targets were set by the Biden Administration in the US. I wanted [00:11:30] to ask you, what do you think is the biggest impact of this policy move on our electricity system?
Julianne den De...: Well, I think the biggest impact is just the volume of electricity generation that is going to be required. Jennifer mentioned in her opening remarks that electrifying things like transit systems, our transportation, and even the generation of a hydrogen economy requires the [00:12:00] electricity generation to power that. And really what a lot of various studies all basically conclude the same levels of electrification, which represent about three times the level of electricity generation that we have in Canada today.
And we've looked at what that would mean in terms of how much electricity generation and the associated transmission that would be required [00:12:30] to be built over the next 30 years. And in the past, over the past 50 years, we've averaged about two gigawatts of installed capacity per year. We would have to triple that every year for the next 30 years. Triple the build rate to reach triple the amount of electricity that we have today. It's an incredible ask. And to your point, it is really [00:13:00] going to require all types of clean electricity generation because you just can't reach that volume without considering all the options.
Sandra Odenhahl: Yeah. You touched on a really important point. Big projects like nuclear power plants or new hydroelectric facilities, they take a long time to get approved and build. Given the scale of the challenge, when do these decisions need to start being made? And I think [00:13:30] we know the answer [crosstalk 00:13:34].
Julianne den De...: At last count, we have 28 years, six months and 22 days left to reach our Net-Zero goals. That on one hand seems like a long time. But when you think about these big projects that take us, perhaps a decade from inception to when they come online, or as I mentioned, that the transmission corridors, [00:14:00] it's really not a lot of time. And if you just look at, we're talking about nuclear, we've done the math on just the nuclear sector alone, we have to consider all the sites, the supply chain, can we actually scale this up to meet this need? We figure that even with dramatic growth in all those areas, we could potentially bring online as many [00:14:30] as 65 new reactors by 2050.
But even that would only give us 24% of power generation would come from nuclear up from about 15% today. As we look at the fastest possible build rate that we can achieve in all the various sectors, we've heard people like Minister O'Regan compare this to a moonshot. And I think that's really [00:15:00] the sense of urgency and the clarity that we need to achieve that goal is that we really all have to have all hands on deck in order to actually reach Net-Zero by 2050.
Sandra Odenhahl: Wow! Okay. That is a massive challenge. And that actually brings to mind a question about, comparing large scale nuclear builds, which require a decade of permitting perhaps, and site selection, challenges, et cetera. [00:15:30] The flip side of that, and one of the things we're hearing about a lot more is small modular reactors. I want to direct this question to, Heather. On the topic of new nuclear and particularly the s, or SMRs, what role do they have the potential to play and how likely are we to see them being built around the country?
Heather Ferguso...: Yeah. I think, to Julianne's point and to your point, there's a huge role [00:16:00] for nuclear in general, and SMR specifically. And I'll get into that a little bit. And the growing consensus that I think everyone around here, and probably most people these days is that you're not going to get to Net-Zero without nuclear. But I do wholeheartedly want to also agree with the point that it's going to take all clean technologies and not just nuclear. And I would give a shout out similarly to the hydro side of the coin that equally requires as much time to develop in advance, but recognizing we're here to talk about nuclear right now. [00:16:30] On SMRs, Ontario is really well positioned to lead the development and the deployment of SMRs in Canada.
One huge piece of that is our expertise and our experience with our existing fleet of assets and including Bruce Power, Darlington, Pickering, years of operating those and then going through the refurbishments the way we have, and successfully thus far, going through the refurbishments really paves the way for the next round of nuclear generation. [00:17:00] OPG is looking at a couple SMR deployments. It sounds quite simple when I put it that way, but these are pretty extensive projects. We are looking to deploy an SMR at our Darlington facility. We have an existing site prep license and EA completed and approved there. We see that in the late 2020s, and that would be an on grid SMR, in the 300, 400 megawatt ballpark. But similarly, we're also looking at what's called a VSMR, Very Small [00:17:30] Modular Reactor technology, and are working to deploy that similarly at Chalk Riverside or working through the process there.
And so that one would be an off grid commercial deployment to see how we can work our way through that. And that would be applicable to off grid communities, resource sector, and so on. I mean, that that can show that Ontario can help lead this. But I think the bigger question and the bigger issue is, how can these deployments then be used to decarbonize other sectors and other jurisdictions [00:18:00] that, for example, don't have as clean as [inaudible 00:18:02] you do as an Ontario? And I think some of that is wrapped up in the intent of the interprovincial MOU that was signed by the provinces of Ontario, Saskatchewan, New Brunswick and Alberta. And so really understanding, how can the jurisdictions like Ontario, where we have extensive expertise in nuclear, how can we bring those technologies to other jurisdictions and further the decarbonization of those sectors?
Sandra Odenhahl: Wow! [00:18:30] Pulling on a thread that you put forward, which is this idea of putting very small SMRs or even SMRs into different communities, possibly off grid, are there challenges with communities being comfortable with SMRs in their midst? And are the concerns any different than they would be for concerns that might be flagged with large nuclear?
Heather Ferguso...: Well, I think SMR bring certain benefits. By virtue of their name, they're [00:19:00] smaller, they're modular. You have an ability to deploy them in small pieces. Add 300 megawatts, as your needs grow, you can add another 300 and so on. They're not many 1000s of megawatts. They're typically in the 300, 400 megawatt maximum. They're a little easier to build and operate and they have certain beneficial safety features. I mean, I would never want to take away from the safety and the great reputation and support that our existing Candy Fleet has in all [00:19:30] of our communities. And James, could certainly attest to that. But I think these SMRs have certain benefits that communities could find a way behind and find a way to support. And in part, I would say, because people are finding your ability to who to convince people who may not understand fully about nuclear power.
When you start to talk about climate change and the imperative we face there and how nuclear can be a solution around climate change, there's a contingent of people who may not [00:20:00] have supported nuclear actively, but they certainly do find that message resonates with them. I think your ability to do that in new jurisdictions is going to take time and energy and patience and education, and that's perfectly okay. But to your point, we need to get moving on it. And then we leverage communities, host communities that already have nuclear to help support us in that and the thinking.
Sandra Odenhahl: Great. Yeah. Thank you. Changing focus [00:20:30] a little bit for a second, James, in your introduction, we heard about medical isotopes and some of the audience might not know about the co benefits of nuclear power. And particularly, the production of medical isotopes that are used to, for example, sterilize equipment, help treat cancer, et cetera. Can you tell us a little bit about that and about some of the emerging opportunities to scale production of medical isotopes through nuclear?
James Scongack: [00:21:00] Yeah, absolutely. It's Heather and Julianne, I know it's one of my favorite topics to talk about, but maybe just before I answer your question directly, I really agree with what all the other panelists said. The only thing I would add to it from the perspective of a Net-Zero Canada is we have to acknowledge, we are losing the fight against climate change right now. Julianne said it best. She's probably got it down to the seconds to 2050, because she's a project manager, she's tracking the critical path by the minute. But we are losing the fight against climate change. We are losing [00:21:30] the path to Net-Zero. It doesn't mean we can't get there, but policy does not fight emissions, projects do, engineering does, power plants, whether they're nuclear, hydroelectric, solar, wind, that's how you fight climate change. And so I think we need to turn from talk to action.
And I think that really goes into the medical question you asked me, if you think about where we are today, many people are getting their first or second shot of a COVID 19 vaccine. Look at how we came together a year [00:22:00] ago to say, we need to develop a vaccine manufactured for hundreds of millions of people and look at what we did. And I would argue climate change and what we have in front of us needs a similar response and we can do it. With respect to medical isotopes, and I'm going to give a shout out to the Canadian nuclear industry and our CANDU reactors. Our CANDU reactors design here in Canada, many people view it as the best in the world.
We certainly do here in Canada. It has many unique features associated with that. Like the midlife refurbishment [00:22:30] we're doing at Bruce Power, and currently Darlington. But one of the other unique attributes of the CANDU reactor is it's a very unique reactor design that has the capability to be retrofitted to make medical isotopes. And so for many years, both Heather's organization at OPG at Pickering, Bruce Power, we've been making Cobalt-60, which has been in high demand for PPE sterilization throughout the pandemic. We're now making what they call HSA Cobalt [00:23:00] for breast cancer and brain tumors. And now what we're looking at is to build on that and start the production of short-lived medical isotopes at Bruce Power. In 2022, we will start production of an isotope called Lutetium. I know Heather's organization at Darlington has a similarly ambitious project to produce Molybdenum-99.
And that really takes advantage of that Canadian design that we have, but we're so proud of in the CANDU reactor. I think coming out of this pandemic, I think there's going to be three challenges we have to confront together. [00:23:30] I think it's obviously Net-Zero, which this panel is about. I think it's global health, but I also think we got to keep people working. We have to have jobs. We have to have economic growth. And a lot of people talk about green collar jobs. Well, there's no industry that is more green collar jobs than in nuclear. And I think the CANDU design, the SMRs, the refurbishments, all of those together really hit all three of those pillar, Sandra.
Sandra Odenhahl: Wow! Great. Thank you. I didn't realize there were so many different types of medical isotopes, actually. This was super educational just in [00:24:00] a couple of minutes, and I'm sure a lot of others like me will want to learn more going forward. Okay. Again, I want to go pull another thread that was flagged in the introductions and I'm going to direct this question toward, Heather. Heather, more than ever, Canadians are becoming aware of the importance of indigenous reconciliation. And in your introduction, [00:24:30] we talked a little bit about that. But I am very interested in the question of social license to operate and the need for social license on major infrastructure projects. Of course, as we are all in agreement on to reach a Net-Zero, we are going to need a lot more mega projects. What does that mean for what needs to happen to gain supportive indigenous communities where they're impacted by these projects?
Heather Ferguso...: Yeah, I mean, I'll tell you a handful of things that we need to keep [00:25:00] doing and do more of and a bit about OPG's experience, and then where do we go from here, I guess. But if anything has been illustrated by some of the news and events of the past couple weeks is that there is such a tremendous ongoing need for reconciliation, meaningful engagement and consultation. So that, that's unquestionably there in so many ways. And I don't see any need or any way that that is going to wan in any time near. The need for that, but also the need to recognize and appreciate the immense [00:25:30] opportunity that indigenous communities represent to the energy sector.
Whether you're thinking about the great opportunities you have to partner in the truest sense, the truest commercial sense of the word as OPG has done on a few projects, or whether you're talking about the supply chain, indigenous businesses vendors, indigenous vendors that you can engage in, the opportunities are huge and on unemployment and training. I mean, this is a part of our population that can bring so [00:26:00] much to the table. As much as there's the ongoing need for, as I said, reconciliation, consultation, engagement, really meaningful discussions, it's also the need to understand what this opportunity could represent to all energy companies, as we think about these things.
OPGs had some really positive partnerships with indigenous communities. We've partnered with indigenous communities on three of our hydro projects. I was really fortunate early in my career to get to do some of that work. And it was instrumental, [00:26:30] I think in informing my thinking around the importance of this, as well as our solar facility. Nanticoke solar facility was built in partnership with indigenous communities, but we also do a lot of work outside of that on capacity building, employment, and training, and all of those things that I talked about earlier. But we weren't always in the position we are now, and perhaps many other companies are going through. Maybe there's other companies that need to go through this reconciliation of their own. [00:27:00] And we went through a process probably for 30 odd years, began in the 90s, actually. It keeps going more than 30. Settling historical grievances with communities from our predecessor company, Ontario Hydro.
Ontario Hydro at the time of building its operations had flooded many traditional territories and reserve lands and in sacred lands of indigenous communities. We went through a process of many decades, decades of reconciling and settling past grievances. We settled over [00:27:30] 20 grievances with 20 different communities. And what that did was it laid the foundation for these partnerships and to move forward in a positive way. And so I can't help, but think that there's opportunities like that for other companies to be doing whatever form, of course, not every other company did the things that Ontario Hydro did. But there's opportunities for companies to think about it in terms of settling the past and moving forward and looking at the tremendous opportunity that there is. And I can't help but think about the huge opportunity for [00:28:00] indigenous communities around nuclear and new nuclear, and how can we maximum as their participation and support them in that participation? I think it will be really important.
Sandra Odenhahl: Yeah. Thank you very much. Okay. Julianne, I'm going to turn the next question to you. This one is around the energy transition and paying for it. Yes, the financing of it and also topic near and dear to my heart. The energy transition [00:28:30] is obviously going to require significant financial investment over the coming decades. And as a project manager, I'm sure you're always looking at budgets. And what is the economic impact of the investment that's required for the energy transition? And do you think that that investment is going to have a positive benefit to local communities as well?
Julianne den De...: I think, I've heard both, James, [00:29:00] and Heather use the term opportunity. And I think this is all in how we plan this. The road to Net-Zero, there's not just one pathway. There's not only one energy mix that can get us there. I think of this as like Google Maps root suggestions. You can go this way, you can go that way, in terms of what's your mix of renewables versus base load power? And it gives us the option to take economic [00:29:30] benefit and job creation into account as we look at the energy transition. We can make some judgements about what will create jobs and economic benefit. When you talk about these big projects like hydro and nuclear, they exercise a lot of local engineering and construction and manufacturing. And it gives us an opportunity to develop intellectual property and new innovations and [00:30:00] some extra expertise in this area because we're not the only country that's trying to achieve Net-Zero.
As we invest in our technology and our developments, we have an opportunity to even create export markets, whether that's in hydrogen production, whether that's in nuclear power, there's all kinds of options where we could really benefit as a society if we approach this in the right way and really have all of these mutual economic [00:30:30] benefits and climate benefits, as well as jobs and sustainability. And we've got some current samples with the Darlington refurb. The Conference Board of Canada has published a number of documents, both with regard to the nuclear refurbs and the SMR developments that demonstrate we would actually have an increase in overall GDP by pursuing some of these clean energy projects. Again, I think it's [00:31:00] a real opportunity and I think it's something that, as we keep saying, if we can get going on this, we can actually be early movers and allow ourselves to share Canadian innovations with the rest of the world.
Sandra Odenhahl: Great. Thanks. As we are talking about scaling up and the massive amount of deployment of nuclear and other technologies that's required, certainly, [00:31:30] one of the somewhat unique challenges with nuclear is the question that often comes up around waste management. I'm going to direct this one to, James, maybe, but ask the others if you want to weigh in afterwards. This one came up in the audience Q&A as well. I guess the future of the sector is probably somewhat dependent on having a good answer to this question. And so I'm just wondering if you can share what kind of progress has been made in finding the right solutions for waste management that are also going to be acceptable to [00:32:00] the public?
James Scongack: No, I think it's a really good question. Any of us in the nuclear industry, it's a question we get very often. And to be frank with you, I think the nuclear industry is our own worst enemy with this whole discussion because we leave people with, I think, a false impression that we don't have a plan to manage our waste. The truth is we are one of the few, if not the only industry in the world that knows where all of our waste is from start of operation. [00:32:30] We can show you where every cubic meter of waste is since we operated the Bruce site. I'm sure, Heather, can do the same at Pickering and Darlington. And I'm sure that folks in New Brunswick can do the same at point [inaudible 00:32:41].
We know where all of our waste is. We know it's safely managed. We know it's fully funded. And we do know there are multiple roots to how we want to end a permanent disposal. We don't have a safety issue. We don't have a management issue and we don't have a financial issue. We have a political issue. And often, we talk [00:33:00] about that we need to get to, we have a solution now. I think what the industry needs to do is we need to continue to challenge our policy makers, to get moving with decisions on this front. We have billions and billions of dollars that have been set aside over the last several decades. And unlike some government accounts, they're not IOUs, there's money in a bank account. Heather's organization holds it for all of the plants in Ontario, which we pay into, we need to get moving on a solution. And that policy certainly [00:33:30] is important.
I actually see this as a strength for the industry in the sense that I think we do have a strong case. But to your point, Sandra, we'd be lying to ourselves if we didn't acknowledge it was a political issue. And I think if we can be as transparent as possible on that, but also assertive and say, at some point we need the ability to go and implement a solution. We can't be caught in this constant chicken and egg, where on the one hand, government doesn't want to advance [00:34:00] with nuclear because we don't have a permanent waste disposal. But on the other hand, we're not allowed to go advance a permanent waste disposal. And TerraPower generation spent 15 years and almost a quarter billion dollars, I think, citing what was a really, really strong DGR location. And we know some of the history on that.
We got to get on the front foot on this one, but also acknowledge it is a hesitancy that people have and answer it as honestly as we can. But we [00:34:30] need to pressure all levels of government. We can't be passing the hot potato around this. We have solutions, it's time to implement them because how sad would it be if our greatest tool in the toolbox against climate change, that if we could not deploy yet, because we can't get decisions on one of a certain number of long term disposal solutions? It would be really unfortunate. And we will look back if we don't move on new nuclear, if we don't move on the things that everybody's talked about, we lose the battle of climate [00:35:00] change. People say, what was wrong with you? You had the technology right in front of you and you didn't make decisions. And I think that'd be a real tragedy.
Sandra Odenhahl: Thank you very much. Heather or J Julianne, did you want to add anything to this question of the waste disposal and how we should be addressing community, I guess, concerns about this?
Julianne den De...: Well, I think more and more, [00:35:30] people are starting to realize that we have to look at our overall environmental footprint when we look at any technology. And there's been a lot of recent studies about the amount of minerals that need to be mined to create the volume of batteries we need to power electric fleets of vehicles. Now that's not to say that electric vehicles aren't good, they're clearly part of the solution. It's [00:36:00] just that I think people are starting to be more mindful that there's a full cradle to grave from elements that make up a technology all the way to the waste and how it's disposed responsibly or recycled or put to different use. I do think it's important that we approach these things scientifically, and really, have fair comparisons about, what is our true [00:36:30] impact on the overall environment? As opposed to looking for the simple solutions of this is good, and this is bad because really it's a much more complicated picture than that.
Sandra Odenhahl: Thank you. Absolutely. You're talking about, let's make sure we're looking at these things on a life cycle basis and the pros and cons to air, land, and water of all of the options. And society. [crosstalk 00:36:56].
Heather Ferguso...: I think would be interesting.
Sandra Odenhahl: Yeah.
Heather Ferguso...: They all do. No technology [00:37:00] comes without its issues. And in many ways, nuclear is ahead of the game because it's funded and known and understood. And I think we just need to be careful in how we go about this in that we're not seen to be cutting the knees beneath other technologies. We're just pointing out that nothing comes without its need for a waste solution. And nuclear is actually farther ahead in the game, perhaps, rather than further behind.
Sandra Odenhahl: Yeah. That actually, I think [00:37:30] you're really hitting on a really important point. And as sometimes in the bank, when we're having these discussions about, what's our bank's role in all the Net-Zero and what's good and bad. And my byline is always hashtag everything pollutes because sometimes you have to remind people of that, that nothing is without its pros and cons, nothing. Everything that we do has an impact. And I think that [00:38:00] those are really important conversations to have openly and with a scientific and database to support the decision making.
But that actually leads to something, I think Julianne, you just touched on it, thinking about the life cycle. How will the increase in nuclear plants, and I understand this applies to all types of renewable power, but in nuclear plants, is that going to mean a lot of growth in the need for uranium, uranium mining, uranium exploration? [00:38:30] What does that look like in terms of impacts in the inputs, assuming that we scale up nuclear to the extent that is required? I'm not sure who to direct that to, but I'm going to say, Julianne, for now because you did touch on the life cycle issues.
Julianne den De...: My inputs, yeah.
Sandra Odenhahl: Yeah.
Julianne den De...: I think, certainly, in the world of nuclear, we're nowhere close to pushing the envelope on the limits of what the natural resources are that we have. [00:39:00] And that doesn't even get into the question of, can we recycle some of the spent fuels that are out there and put them to future use, which is again, it's scientifically possible? There's other challenges associated with that, some political. But I would say, overall, this is again where I think nuclear has a pretty good track record in terms of the [00:39:30] overall number of commodities per output, kilowatt hour that you get out of nuclear. It actually has one of the smallest footprint in terms of input materials. And again, to your point, all of which have an impact, steel has an impact, concrete has an impact. It's a very energy dense resource in terms of electricity generation, but everything [00:40:00] needs to be looked at as a holistic view. But no, I don't think we're pushing the limits of the natural resources for the fuel type.
Sandra Odenhahl: Okay. That's really interesting. I guess another question from the participants to the panelists is, is there a role for wind and solar in reaching Net-Zero and more importantly, how does this align with nuclear energy's delivery model? I'll [00:40:30] let you interpret that the way you want, but I'm thinking this is a bit about how do these fit together. I'm going to say, James, or Heather does one of you want to?
James Scongack: Yeah.
Sandra Odenhahl: [crosstalk 00:40:41] James, I'm seeing you nod.
James Scongack: Absolutely. And I think the question really builds on the last comment that, Heather, made, which I totally agree with. There's a really good report from the World Energy Council that came out about six or seven years ago. And one of the lines in the report talked about how we shouldn't idolize or demonize any [00:41:00] form of emitting free technology and sometimes in nuclear. Because, I'm very passionate about the industry. I've worked in the industry my whole life. Sometimes I can get a bit defensive, and want to say, "Well, we're better because, Heather, said it best." We [inaudible 00:41:13] all emitting sources. And so I really think in terms of developing a clean electricity supply mix, you need to look at hydro, nuclear, wind and solar. Look at all their attributes, the various attributes of hydro, is it pumped hydro? Is it run out of the river hydro? [00:41:30] Look at all these and put them together.
And at the end of the day, there is no doubt, there is a role for wind and solar. And if you look at, for example, the work we're doing at Bruce Power right now, our reactors at site on our conventional side, one third of our output is flexible. When wind generation increases in the province, we are able to move one third of our output. We provide very significant flexibility. Every electricity system is different, Sandra, it [00:42:00] really depends on the jurisdiction. But just like you'd be crazy to exclude hydro or nuclear from a Net-Zero strategy, you'd be crazy to exclude wind and solar, or hydro electric. The truth is, we need it all. And I think what we sometimes struggle as an electricity sector is we get our elbows up. We get a bit defensive when we think we're competing, as opposed to coming together and say, how do we invest in unprecedented amounts of clean energy? [00:42:30] And I agree with exactly what, Heather, said.
Heather Ferguso...: [crosstalk 00:42:34] Yeah. Just to the earlier point, we don't know the exact pathway of how we're going to get to Net-Zero. I mean, OPG's made an ambitious goal to be Net-Zero by 2040. We're all going on the 2050 trajectory. We don't know the exact pathway, but that all of these technologies are going to be part of the solution. And we will just have to integrate them in a way that makes the most sense economically in terms of having a resilient and secure grid, [00:43:00] but also factoring in things like jobs and economic development. The whole piece of the puzzle will need to fit together over time in that way. And just as, James, has indicated there.
Sandra Odenhahl: Yeah. On getting the [crosstalk 00:43:12].
James Scongack: Sandra, can I add a quick one?
Sandra Odenhahl: Yeah, of course.
James Scongack: Oftentimes, when we're talking about this, we all want to talk about building new things, and that's great. And we need to build new things. We have existing plants at Bruce, Darlington, Pickering, and these plants can be and are being life extended, [00:43:30] power operated. And so I always remind people before we start focusing on the new item, we need to do that in parallel. The quickest path to more generation in the short term is using your existing assets. At the Bruce Power site, four years ago, we started our program. We had a 6,300 megawatt site. We have a 6,500 megawatt site. That's enough power to power almost a quarter million homes in Ontario. Our existing fleet, Heather's organization at Pickering, life extending Pickering out to the mid 2020s, really important [00:44:00] because no matter what you do with new nuclear, new hydro, you can't replace that clean output quick enough. And so let's not forget about our existing assets.
Sandra Odenhahl: Right.
Julianne den De...: Yeah. And if I could just add on to that. In terms of looking at the existing assets too, it's also the trend, transmission and distribution infrastructure. And when you talked about those timelines right at the beginning, transmission corridors are incredibly difficult to permit and build huge timelines. The [00:44:30] integration, the grid stability with the renewables and base load generation is really important. And yeah, with the volume we're looking at, the more we can capitalize on the assets that we have, not that it becomes an easy problem. It will never become an easy problem, but it's slightly easier than if we just abandon what we have and try to do everything new.
Sandra Odenhahl: Yeah. Yeah. Okay. Well, we're getting the hook here. Apparently, unfortunately, that's all [00:45:00] the time we have for the discussion. But I just wanted to share some final thoughts of my takeaways before I turn it back over to, Jennifer, for wrap up. I guess if I was to take away the five things that jumped out at me, I think number one is there is a massive challenge ahead of us in Canada and in the world to get to Net-Zero and nuclear plays a massive potential role in this. The second thing I took away is that Ontario is really well positioned [00:45:30] and not only are we well positioned to do the right thing for ourselves, but we are well positioned to export our know-how and technology and help the rest of the world. Number three take away that nuclear really has an opportunity, not just for environmental reasons, but it's basically the sustainability spectrum, it's environment, it's health, which is social impacts and its jobs, which is economic impacts, including jobs in remote and indigenous communities.
[00:46:00] The fourth thing I took away is that we have to take a lifecycle view of all of this stuff, not just nuclear, but there's end to end considerations of what's the most optimal way to get to Net-Zero. We have look at it from a life cycle. And the last one, I think I'm quoting, James, on this one. I love this, "Policy does not reduce emissions, projects do." The talk is good, but 100%, everyone on this panel has indicated that they are [00:46:30] doers and we're going to get some of this stuff to done. Thank you very much. And thank you to the panel for taking all the questions and to the Board of Trade for inviting us and for inviting me to moderate. I found this very interesting. Thank you. And over to, Jennifer.
Jennifer Frees: Thanks so much, Sandra. And yes, again, thank you to all of today's panelists and a special thank you to you, Sandra, for moderating. I think you all should so many fresh insights today, and I know the audience has a lot to reflect on. Before people sign [00:47:00] off, I would like to quickly mention a related initiative at the board. As you may know, the board's World Trade Center Toronto runs programs to help businesses scale up through trade and international collaboration. This June, our Market Activation Program or MAP, we love our acronyms here, is embarking on a virtual clean tech trade mission to Mexico. If you're a business who wants briefings on or introductions to key clean tech players in the second largest economy in Latin America, [00:47:30] I encourage you to learn more about that and other virtual missions at wtctoronto.com/map, M-A-P. Thank you all again for coming. Thank you again to our panelists and to, Sandra. And have a great rest of your day.