What does a commercial for nuclear energy look like? Nobody knew till now.
It’s amazing what happens when a nuclear plant operator (Ontario Power Generation, in this case) really cares about its product.
The CANDU reactor units at the Darlington Nuclear Generating Station in Durham Region, Ontario, will be refurbished over the coming decade so they can provide another 30 years of climate-friendly electricity to the Canadian province and beyond.
This is important, because nuclear energy was irreplaceable in Ontario’s successful effort to give up coal. Now, on an ordinary afternoon this prosperous and industrialised region can boast world-leading low emissions.
When nuclear energy is excluded from climate efforts, renewables like solar and wind supported by storage technologies are invariably proposed instead. But if the true lifecycle emissions intensity of these combined options is actually pushed up to or above 200 gCO₂-e/kWh by the materials intensity of the added batteries… that could be over 20 times more carbon dioxide than Ontario. Focusing just on newer renewable sources may not be the wisest way forward at all.
Some regions are blessed with abundant geothermal or hydro resources, but those that aren’t have only ever achieved ultra-low electricity emissions with a commitment to nuclear energy. This has already quietly benefited the global climate for decades, and it’s wonderful to see the stewards of this technology starting to celebrate it too.