Canada: What Kept The Holiday Lights Twinkling? Ontario’s Long-Term Energy Plan’s Impact On The Nuclear Industry

Last Updated: January 13 2014
Article by Heenan Blaikie’s Energy Group

In December, Heenan Blaikie published " Achieving Balance, Ontario's New Long-Term Energy Plan: A Plan with Potential Sparks for the Future", an overview of the Long-Term Energy Plan ("LTEP") for Ontario's energy generation and distribution over the next 20 years, released on December 2, 2013, by the Ontario Ministry of Energy. This article is the first in a series of follow-up articles discussing the LTEP from the perspective of Heenan Blaikie's energy, infrastructure and procurement practices.

LTEP's Key Points on Nuclear

Despite its recognition of nuclear energy as the backbone of Ontario's electricity system, the LTEP reduces the role of nuclear energy in Ontario. At present, nuclear energy comprises 56% of Ontario's energy production. By 2032, the government expects to decrease this amount to 39% and replace it with energy conservation and a renewable power.

Further, the government has cancelled its plans for nuclear new build projects, shifting its focus to the refurbishment of existing nuclear capacity. In 2016, Darlington and Bruce Generating Stations will each begin refurbishing one unit, with subsequent refurbishments dependent on the performance of that initial refurbishment. The Pickering nuclear station will be shut down by 2020 or earlier, depending on energy demand moving forward.

The LTEP advises that new nuclear capacity is not required due to the lack of growth in the demand for energy resulting from economic change and improvements in energy efficiency and conservation. While the LTEP claims that Ontario will continue to have the option to proceed with new build in the future if demand should grow, the government's position does not appear to reflect the long lead-time required to license and build a new reactor.

Finally, the LTEP emphasizes the government's commitment to the export of Canada's nuclear industry expertise, services and products, but provides no indication of how such support will be realized.

Key issues with LTEP's Nuclear Strategy

Ontario's LTEP in effect delivers a long-term energy plan which is driven by the short-term forecast of a lower demand growth for energy. Despite its assertions of the criticality of nuclear energy, the plan does little to support Ontario's nuclear sector, evidenced by the clear shift in focus from nuclear to other forms of renewable energy. There is concern that LTEP's reduction in the nuclear share of generation would compromise Ontario's future supply of energy, significantly affect the economics of Ontario's energy market and erode the competitive advantage of the nuclear energy sector in Ontario.

Securing a Future Supply of Electricity

Nuclear energy comprises the main source of Ontario's electricity. The long-term impact of transitioning from nuclear energy to other energy sources poses significant consequences to Ontario's maintenance of a reliable future supply of electricity. Despite their positive qualities, other renewable energies, such as solar and wind, face reliability concerns stemming from the lack of storage capability. Thus, currently, they can only supplement more stable energy sources, such as nuclear energy or fossil fuels.

In the event that solar and wind suppliers cannot meet the targets set by the LTEP, or in the event that demand increases beyond that forecasted, another source will need to backstop the ensuing energy gap. Given that nuclear power cannot be built overnight, the likely source will be fossil fuels, increasing Ontario's greenhouse emissions and thus reversing the current goals of the LTEP. The end result will be that the LTEP's dismissal of future nuclear new builds will have an adverse effect on the Ontario government's attempts to move away from fossil fuels towards renewable energy.

Prospects for the Ontario Economy

The LTEP does not address the significant economic impact that cancelling the planned new builds will have on Ontario's economy. While the refurbishment phase will create 9,000 new jobs at the Darlington and Bruce Stations, according to the Conference Board of Canada's 2005 Report, a Canadian nuclear new build project for two units would create more than 64,000 person-years of employment and contribute approximately C$9.8 billion to nominal GDP, while increasing the Federal government balances by approximately C$1.67 billion over the project's implementation. These numbers would appear to offset the LTEP's approximation that deferring the new builds will save the Ontario government about C$15 billion in capital investments. Further, nuclear energy, whether through refurbishment or new build, can be the most cost-effective energy generation strategy available relative to other sources discussed in LTEP, outside of efficiency measures which can only go so far.

Ontario has a vibrant and thriving nuclear energy sector, with approximately 45,000 people employed in various areas of nuclear operation, manufacturing, engineering and construction, as well as research and development. As government support for new build projects decreases, Ontario risks the loss of highly skilled jobs across the nuclear industry.

Loss of Canadian Nuclear Expertise

Ontario hosts the overwhelming majority of Canada's nuclear vendors and recognized market leaders in the global nuclear industry, with more than 250 companies in the nuclear supply chain. The LTEP recognizes that the nuclear industry generates approximately C$2.5 billion in direct and secondary economic activity in Ontario and emphasizes the criticality of retaining such nuclear expertise. Despite this, the plan deals a severe blow to the future of Ontario's nuclear energy sector. The reduction of domestic nuclear capacity will cause Ontario and Canada to lose its long established competitive advantage in the global marketplace.

Globally, despite the current decrease in demand, countries are increasing their reliance on nuclear energy and building strong nuclear programs. The most aggressive nuclear infrastructure is evident in China, Russia, India, and various emerging economies in Central and Eastern Europe.

In the Western world, developed countries such as France, with 78% of its total production of electricity coming from nuclear, and the United Kingdom, which is planning four new reactors, and the United States with five units currently under construction, are developing and expanding their nuclear capacity.

As developed and developing countries increasingly rely on nuclear energy to meet future energy demands, these countries will continue to invest in developing their nuclear expertise. Canada's decreased reliance on nuclear energy will correspondingly risk a decrease in research and the development of nuclear expertise. This shift is likely to hinder Ontario's ability to keep up with technology developments in the sector and thus remain competitive in the nuclear domestic and export markets.


Ontario is positioned to be a key competitor in the global nuclear energy sector. The government highlights Ontario's science and innovation advantages through its research centres and its universities. However, the government's decision to shift its focus to renewable energy sources will invariably dilute the investment the governments of Canada and Ontario have made in the nuclear industry.

The LTEP presents too short-term a focus in its planning horizon. While demand for energy may have been momentarily down around the world, long-term planning should not be driven by short-term demand. Furthermore, any long-term plan should increase (or at least maintain), rather than decrease, Ontario's reliance on nuclear energy, given its reliability and cost-effectiveness. The LTEP seriously risks compromising Ontario's nuclear industry at a time where the sector is struggling to regain its place as a global leader. It is important that Ontario realizes and respects the economic importance of its nuclear industry for the same reasons governments around the world support their nuclear vendors. The nuclear industry is a very large source of high tech and high paying jobs, which are not in plentiful supply.

More detailed commentary on the LTEP from the renewable energy perspective will be available from Heenan Blaikie in the coming weeks.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

In association with
Related Video
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
Email Address
Company Name
Confirm Password
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Media & IT
 Real Estate
 Wealth Mgt
Asia Pacific
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
United States
Worldwide Updates
Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including what sort of information you are interested in, for three primary purposes:
  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, newsletter alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our information providers who provide information free for your use.
  • Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) do not sell or provide your details to third parties other than information providers. The reason we provide our information providers with this information is so that they can measure the response their articles are receiving and provide you with information about their products and services.
    If you do not want us to provide your name and email address you may opt out by clicking here
    If you do not wish to receive any future announcements of products and services offered by Mondaq you may opt out by clicking here

    Terms & Conditions and Privacy Statement (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd and as a user you are granted a non-exclusive, revocable license to access the Website under its terms and conditions of use. Your use of the Website constitutes your agreement to the following terms and conditions of use. Mondaq Ltd may terminate your use of the Website if you are in breach of these terms and conditions or if Mondaq Ltd decides to terminate your license of use for whatever reason.

    Use of

    You may use the Website but are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the content and articles available (the Content). You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these terms & conditions or with the prior written consent of Mondaq Ltd. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information about’s content, users or contributors in order to offer them any services or products which compete directly or indirectly with Mondaq Ltd’s services and products.


    Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the documents and related graphics published on this server for any purpose. All such documents and related graphics are provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers hereby disclaim all warranties and conditions with regard to this information, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. In no event shall Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use or performance of information available from this server.

    The documents and related graphics published on this server could include technical inaccuracies or typographical errors. Changes are periodically added to the information herein. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers may make improvements and/or changes in the product(s) and/or the program(s) described herein at any time.


    Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including what sort of information you are interested in, for three primary purposes:

    • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting.
    • To enable features such as password reminder, newsletter alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
    • To produce demographic feedback for our information providers who provide information free for your use.

    Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) do not sell or provide your details to third parties other than information providers. The reason we provide our information providers with this information is so that they can measure the response their articles are receiving and provide you with information about their products and services.

    Information Collection and Use

    We require site users to register with Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to view the free information on the site. We also collect information from our users at several different points on the websites: this is so that we can customise the sites according to individual usage, provide 'session-aware' functionality, and ensure that content is acquired and developed appropriately. This gives us an overall picture of our user profiles, which in turn shows to our Editorial Contributors the type of person they are reaching by posting articles on Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) – meaning more free content for registered users.

    We are only able to provide the material on the Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) site free to site visitors because we can pass on information about the pages that users are viewing and the personal information users provide to us (e.g. email addresses) to reputable contributing firms such as law firms who author those pages. We do not sell or rent information to anyone else other than the authors of those pages, who may change from time to time. Should you wish us not to disclose your details to any of these parties, please tick the box above or tick the box marked "Opt out of Registration Information Disclosure" on the Your Profile page. We and our author organisations may only contact you via email or other means if you allow us to do so. Users can opt out of contact when they register on the site, or send an email to with “no disclosure” in the subject heading

    Mondaq News Alerts

    In order to receive Mondaq News Alerts, users have to complete a separate registration form. This is a personalised service where users choose regions and topics of interest and we send it only to those users who have requested it. Users can stop receiving these Alerts by going to the Mondaq News Alerts page and deselecting all interest areas. In the same way users can amend their personal preferences to add or remove subject areas.


    A cookie is a small text file written to a user’s hard drive that contains an identifying user number. The cookies do not contain any personal information about users. We use the cookie so users do not have to log in every time they use the service and the cookie will automatically expire if you do not visit the Mondaq website (or its affiliate sites) for 12 months. We also use the cookie to personalise a user's experience of the site (for example to show information specific to a user's region). As the Mondaq sites are fully personalised and cookies are essential to its core technology the site will function unpredictably with browsers that do not support cookies - or where cookies are disabled (in these circumstances we advise you to attempt to locate the information you require elsewhere on the web). However if you are concerned about the presence of a Mondaq cookie on your machine you can also choose to expire the cookie immediately (remove it) by selecting the 'Log Off' menu option as the last thing you do when you use the site.

    Some of our business partners may use cookies on our site (for example, advertisers). However, we have no access to or control over these cookies and we are not aware of any at present that do so.

    Log Files

    We use IP addresses to analyse trends, administer the site, track movement, and gather broad demographic information for aggregate use. IP addresses are not linked to personally identifiable information.


    This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that Mondaq (or its affiliate sites) are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of these third party sites. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this Web site.

    Surveys & Contests

    From time-to-time our site requests information from users via surveys or contests. Participation in these surveys or contests is completely voluntary and the user therefore has a choice whether or not to disclose any information requested. Information requested may include contact information (such as name and delivery address), and demographic information (such as postcode, age level). Contact information will be used to notify the winners and award prizes. Survey information will be used for purposes of monitoring or improving the functionality of the site.


    If a user elects to use our referral service for informing a friend about our site, we ask them for the friend’s name and email address. Mondaq stores this information and may contact the friend to invite them to register with Mondaq, but they will not be contacted more than once. The friend may contact Mondaq to request the removal of this information from our database.


    From time to time Mondaq may send you emails promoting Mondaq services including new services. You may opt out of receiving such emails by clicking below.

    *** If you do not wish to receive any future announcements of services offered by Mondaq you may opt out by clicking here .


    This website takes every reasonable precaution to protect our users’ information. When users submit sensitive information via the website, your information is protected using firewalls and other security technology. If you have any questions about the security at our website, you can send an email to

    Correcting/Updating Personal Information

    If a user’s personally identifiable information changes (such as postcode), or if a user no longer desires our service, we will endeavour to provide a way to correct, update or remove that user’s personal data provided to us. This can usually be done at the “Your Profile” page or by sending an email to

    Notification of Changes

    If we decide to change our Terms & Conditions or Privacy Policy, we will post those changes on our site so our users are always aware of what information we collect, how we use it, and under what circumstances, if any, we disclose it. If at any point we decide to use personally identifiable information in a manner different from that stated at the time it was collected, we will notify users by way of an email. Users will have a choice as to whether or not we use their information in this different manner. We will use information in accordance with the privacy policy under which the information was collected.

    How to contact Mondaq

    You can contact us with comments or queries at

    If for some reason you believe Mondaq Ltd. has not adhered to these principles, please notify us by e-mail at and we will use commercially reasonable efforts to determine and correct the problem promptly.

    By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions