Tuesday, 22 September 2009


Event Review:

Review by Tara Kimberley, guest of PEO member Brent Kimberley.

On September 22, 2009, at Ontario Power Generation’s Pickering Nuclear Information Centre, PEO member Raju Chander provided an overview of two forms of generation in Ontario that produce virtually none of the emissions that cause smog, acid rain and global warming – wind power and nuclear power.

Raju also described how OPG operates three nuclear powered stations, five fossil-fuelled stations, one wind turbine and more than 60 other hydroelectric plants throughout the province, generating enough electricity to power 72 per cent of the province of Ontario.

Wind Power

Raju illustrated how wind power is one of the fastest growing sources of renewable electricity generation worldwide. He informed attendees that Ontario currently has more than 300 MW of wind power in service with an additional 1,000 MW on the way. This represents only a fraction of the 30,000 MW of electricity generation capacity in Ontario. Raju discussed the history of wind power, basic wind turbine design types, possible locations/configurations, capacity factors, efficiency, wind velocity needs and power transmission requirements. He also discussed the Ontario Power Authority’s Clean Energy Standard Offer of 11.08 cents per KWh for wind generation projects – compared to 42 cents per KWh for solar power and an average weighted market price for September of 2.24 cents per KWH (IESO).

Details about the Pickering Wind Generating Station were provided, including:

·In August 2001, OPG installed a Vestas 1.8 MW wind turbine just west of the Pickering Nuclear site.

·OPG’s objectives were to assess how a large wind turbine performs in Ontario’s weather and wind conditions and to help increase public awareness of the potential of wind energy.

·The Pickering Wind Generating Station typically produces enough electricity to supply the annual electricity needs of about 330 average homes. In comparison, one of Pickering’s nuclear reactors can supply enough electricity for over 500,000 homes.

To top off the evening, Raju took the group on a beautiful moonlit walk along the waterfront trail to the Pickering Nuclear Wind Turbine. The group was able to see some of the 31,000 trees and shrubs that have been planted by OPG around the Darlington and Pickering nuclear stations.

Nuclear Power

Raju provided a “CANDU 101” presentation to the group. Some of the highlights of his presentation included:

Ontario Power Generation

·OPG’s nuclear stations, located in Durham Region, meet nearly 30 per cent of Ontario’s electricity needs and are among the cleanest and safest in the world.

·Pickering Nuclear started generating power in 1971 and Darlington Nuclear in 1991. Together, they are capable of generating almost 7000MW, which is enough electricity to power a city of 3.6 million people. And yet they produce virtually none of the emissions that cause smog, acid rain and global warming.

How Does a Nuclear Reactor Work?

·Nuclear reactors produce electricity using the same principle found at fossil-fueled plants. But instead of burning coal or natural gas to produce steam, water is heated by the energy released from splitting natural uranium atoms, turning ordinary water into steam. The steam spins a turbine. The turbine then drives the generator, which produces electricity.

·CANDU reactors like Pickering Nuclear use natural, non-enriched uranium fuel. After being mined, the uranium fuel is formed into pellets and placed inside sealed metal tubes. These tubes are welded together to form a fuel bundle which is placed inside a large tank called nuclear reactor, also known as a calandria. Just one of these bundles contains the same amount of energy as 400 tons of coal or two thousand barrels of oil.

·In CANDU nuclear reactors, to release the power of the uranium requires a moderator. In OPG’s reactors, a special kind of water called heavy water is used as the moderator. It surrounds the fuel bundle and slows down tiny particles called neutrons so they are more likely to hit and split the uranium atoms – and when these atoms split, they give off heat. A chain-reaction of atom-splitting ensures a constant source of heat to heat the heavy water surrounding the uranium atoms. A by-product of the reaction is the release of energy in the form of radiation, which occurs naturally as the atoms undergo changes in their structure.

·The heavy water also has another job. As it is pumped through the reactor in a separate system, it heats up. It’s then piped through a boiler where it turns ordinary water into high-pressure steam. That steam spins the turbine that drives the generator.

Used Nuclear Fuel

·OPG has safely and securely stored every used fuel bundle right where they were produced – on the station property.

·First, the used fuel bundles are placed in special concrete pools where they cool off. After about 10 years, they are transferred to a dry storage container where they can be stored for decades. It’s made of steel – reinforced concrete that’s welded shut for an airtight seal. Through OPG’s waste management processes, not a single gram of radioactive material has ever been released.

·To put things into perspective, current Canadian Nuclear Association statistics suggest the total amount of used fuel produced from all of Canada’s nuclear power plants over the past 50 years could be stored in six hockey rinks up to the height of the boards.

·OPG is working with the federally mandated Nuclear Waste Management Organization on a program for the long-term management of used nuclear fuel in a repository deep underground.

Nuclear Safety

·Every OPG reactor has two fast shutdown systems which work automatically to absorb the atom-splitting neutrons and thus shutting down the reactor in approximately two seconds.

·The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission is the federal agency that regulates the use of nuclear energy and materials to safeguard health and the environment, to insure safety and security, and to respect Canada’s international commitments on the peaceful use of nuclear energy. The CNSC has its own independent inspectors on site and it constantly monitors every phase of OPG’s nuclear operations.

·Two of the most critical safety features of OPG’s nuclear stations are designed to contain radiation: a containment vessel, also known as a reactor building, and a vacuum building. In the very remote event of a malfunctioning reactor, whereby there would be an excess of steam, none would be released into the atmosphere. The steam would be sucked out of the containment vessel into the vacuum building, where water would douse the steam, condensing it into water and creating room for more steam.

·Due to the safe operation of their nuclear generating facilities, OPG’s vacuum buildings have never been required, although they are tested regularly to ensure they are operational.In over 35 years of operation, there has never been a release of radiation in Ontario that has resulted in harm to the public.

For further information:

Ontario Power Generation: www.opg.com
Canadian Wind Energy Association: www.canwea.ca
Canadian Nuclear Association: www.cna.ca
Independent Electricity System Operator: www.ieso.ca
Natural Resources Canada: canmetenergy-canmetenergie.nrcan-rncan.gc.ca
Ontario Power Authority: www.powerauthority.on.ca

Wind Turbine and Nuclear Power Seminar at Pickering Nuclear Info Center


There is renewed interest in Nuclear Power all over the world. The province has postponed the proposal for new build due to the current economic downturn, however the interest in Nuclear Power has not withered away. The aging reactors in Ontario need to be refurbished. This will create new opportunities for all engineers and skilled labour. In addition, most of the nuclear reactors in US and Canada are aging and need to be refurbished or replaced. Nuclear corporate giants are gearing themselves to capture their market share. Seminar on Nuclear Power will introduce the fundamentals of nuclear power production and will discuss about the CANDU reactors and its safety features.

The Seminar will also introduce Canadian designed CANDU reactors and, discuss the future of nuclear energy in Ontario.

Increasing restrictions on GHG (Green House Gases) due to global warming has increased the interest in renewable energy sources. Renewable sources such as bio-fuels, solar power, wind power, wave power, geothermal power and tidal power are considered as sustainable energy sources. The seminar on wind power will introduce the concept of wind power and its current share in the province of Ontario. Incentives provided by federal and provincial governments will also be discussed.

Seminar on Wind Power will discuss about wind turbines and the share of the wind power in Canada. This will be followed by a visit to the Wind Turbine at Pickering Nuclear Generating Station which produces about 1.8 MW.

Note: Due to restrictions we will only be able to see the wind turbine from a distance of about 5 meters.

Raju Chander will be speaking about these topics on September 22th, 2009 at the Nuclear Information Center in Pickering

Biography of Raju Chander

Raju Chander has been working in nuclear engineering for over four decades. He started his career in the world renowned Bhabha Atomic Research Centre at Mumbai, India. He was working for the development of Fast Breeder Reactors in India. Which is a unique concept and in the development stage all over the world. After coming to Canada he joined Ontario Power generation in the design department and later on moved to Plant life Extension Project.

Mark your calendar! Registration starts at 5:45pm

Event Logistics

When 6:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
Where Pickering Nuclear Information Centre, Pickering Generation Station, Ontario Power Generation, Pickering.
Brock Road and Montgomery Park Road, Pickering, Ontario L1W 1A1
No convenient public transit in the evenings; kindly send a request for rides.
Driving: directions from Scarborough, take Hwy 401 East, exit onto Brock Road South, 3km turn right (West) onto Montgomery Park Road, within 200 meters turn south (left turn) into the fenced area of Pickering Nuclear Generating Station and follow the posted signs to the Information Centre. Parking is available in front of the Information Centre.
Map Information Centre; Google map
Registration Please Registar with Tom Fernandes or Murad Hussain at:


Cost Sponsored by Scarborough Chapter
Scarborough Chapter members: Free
PEO members: Free
Guests and others: Free
5:45 p.m. Assemble in the Pickering Nuclear Information Centre. Light refreshments and snacks will be served.
6:00 p.m. Introduction
6:10 p.m. Wind power
6:40 p.m. Break
6:50 p.m. Nuclear power
7:20 p.m. Q & A
7:30 p.m. Walk to view the wind turbne
8:30 p.m. End