Bruce Power and the Nuclear Innovation Institute (NII) hosted the Clean Energy Innovation and Recovery Summit on Monday, November 29th at the Institute in Port Elgin.
More than 150 participants attended the virtual event to learn about the innovative efforts of the clean energy industry and to talk about the economic impact and opportunity created in the Bruce, Grey and Huron counties region (Tri-county).
James Scongack, Chief Development officer and Executive Vice-President Operational Services for Bruce Power, said that Bruce Power, as the largest operating nuclear facility in the world, is leading in decarbonization. “This is not the case in other countries such as Germany that is turning back to coal usage. Unfortunately, at the recent COP26 climate conference there was no mention of nuclear and the phasing out of coal. In the 1990s, half the units at the Bruce shut down resulting in high coal usage in 2002. Now, thanks to nuclear, coal has been phased out in Ontario.”
Scongack, also Chair of the Isotope Council of Canada, added that Bruce Power is now the leader in Isotope production. “Working with Isogen, a joint venture between Framatome and Kinectrics, and Saugeen Ojibway Nation (SON), we are positioning this area as the leader in producing medical isotopes used in medical equipment sterilization and in the treatment of cancer.”
The nuclear industry is a very significant economic multiplier in the province of Ontario with Bruce Power and its nuclear supply chain boosting Ontario’s GDP by more than $4 billion in 2020 with 95% of the wealth created from Bruce Power’s operations staying in Ontario.
Last year alone, Nuclear industry activity boosted household spending by $1.43 billion, the vast majority of which was spent in the Tri-county region.
Bruce County Warden Janice Jackson, Co-chair for the Clean Energy Frontier Program, joined a panel hosted by Jessica Linthorne, Director of the NII Clean Energy Frontier program, to discuss the opportunities presented in the region. “As we heard today, the clean energy work happening in this region continues to deliver investment, job creation and growth to communities across the Clean Energy Frontier,” said Jackson.
Also on the panel were John D’Angelo, Senior Vice President Nuclear Products & Engineered Services of Kinectrics and Jennifer Christie, Executive Director of Catapult Grey-Bruce and owner of Bonfire on Queen restaurant in Paisley.
Kinectrics has built and operates several supply chain businesses in the region including a laundry service located in Teeswater. “Our laundry services Bruce Power and we are also looking at expanding to service the entire nuclear industry in Ontario. We also created in Teeswater manufacturing of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and have become involved in the Isotope industry, which is entirely new for us,” said D’Angelo. “Coming to the area has been a very positive experience. We have created 300 new jobs, have attracted new people to the area and overall it has been a success story for us.”
Christie explained that Catapult is a new not-for-profit organization “… created by entrepreneurs for entrepreneurs to help grow their businesses. Through mentoring, we help them access resources and funding, overcome challenges and provide support.”
The Hon. Lisa Thompson, Ontario’s Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs and MPP Bill Walker, Deputy Speaker Ontario Legislature, also joined the conversation to share perspectives and program details regarding economic recovery. Both highlighted their strong commitment to the clean energy sector and expressed gratitude to NII for its role in promoting the region as the Clean Energy Frontier. They also highlighted opportunities for the area to lead in a clean post-pandemic recovery, including carbon sequestration in agriculture, energy stability, the production of medical isotopes and more.
“Bruce Power and the NII are leading by example in clean energy,” said Thompson. “When it comes to agriculture in rural Ontario, we need people. We need to work with young people and embrace the technological advances that have been made in agriculture. There is definitely a labour shortage in rural Ontario.” She also pointed out that Ontario farmers have been proponents of nuclear power for decades and the sequestering of carbon. “Farmers want to be part of the solution,” Thompson added.
Walker, MPP Huron-Bruce Owen Sound, said that nuclear is the base load and critical to a stable supply of electricity in the province. “Ontario lost some 350,000 manufacturing jobs in the past, in part, due to the high costs of electricity and we are now working to correct that.” Also a proponent of the Isotope market, he made a private member’s motion in the Legislature calling members to … “Recognize the supply of medical isotopes used to diagnose and treat cancer and the sterilization of medical equipment as a key strategic priority for the Province in its health, economic, export, inter-provincial, energy, research and infrastructure planning and policies as Ontario recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic, and that the Province leverage its existing strong foundation in nuclear technology, isotope production and supply chain, and cancer and health research to position itself as a global leader in supply of ‘Made in Ontario’ life-saving medical isotopes to the world.” It was passed unanimously.
“The innovation and collaboration happening in the Clean Energy Frontier region are key drivers of our ‘Made in Ontario’ economic recovery strategy,” said Bruce Power President and CEO Mike Rencheck. “Bruce Power is committed to working with suppliers who are landing in Bruce, Grey and Huron counties and throughout Canada to ensure that we capitalize on the strong momentum that we have created in the region. You can’t get to where you want to go without action.”
“Over 300 small businesses have started up in the region,” he added, “and thousands have moved to the area. This is only the tip of the iceberg. There will be 22,000 jobs created and, through 2022, we will have invested three billion dollars with our Life Extension Program, Isotope development and asset optimization. Bruce Power will be the first utility to be net-zero by 2027. Since 2016, we have collaborated as a region to create economic development and the vision was to embrace innovation. Through 2035, we will have invested about $30billion and created an energy cluster for companies to be part of.”
Six new nuclear suppliers to the Bruce Power Major Component Replacement (MCR) project were also recognized at the event for having opened offices or manufacturing space in the Tri-county region, creating jobs and assessment growth for the community – Laurentis Energy Partners, Makwa-Cahill, Nucleom, Plan Group, PCL Construction, and Westinghouse.
Wrapping up the summit, Bruce Wallace, NII President and CEO said it was, “Through the thought-provoking conversations at this successful event and the insights from the economic impact study, that we have reflected back to community leaders the critical work happening here in the Clean Energy Frontier.”
Learn more about the work of the Clean Energy Frontier program at nii.ca/clean-energy-frontier.
About the Nuclear Innovation Institute
The Nuclear Innovation Institute (NII) is an independent, not-for-profit organization that provides a platform to accelerate innovation and the implementation of business relevant solutions for the nuclear industry. NII’s goal is to shape a Canadian nuclear industry that embraces new thinking, new technologies and new lines of business that can drive the global shift to a low-carbon future.