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Ontario explores possibility of new, large-scale nuclear plants

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Ontario is exploring the possibility of building new, large-scale nuclear plants in order to meet increasing demand for electricity and phase out natural gas generation.

A report late last year by the Independent Electricity System Operator found that the province could fully eliminate natural gas from the electricity system by 2050, starting with a moratorium in 2027, but it will require about $400 billion in capital spending and more generation including new, large-scale nuclear plants.

Decarbonizing the grid, in addition to new nuclear, will require more conservation efforts, more renewable energy sources and more energy storage, the report concluded.

The IESO said work should start now to assess the reliability of new and relatively untested technologies and fuels to replace natural gas, and to set up large, new generation sources such as nuclear plants and hydroelectric facilities.

The province has not committed to a natural gas moratorium or phase-out, or to building new nuclear facilities other than its small modular reactor plans, but it is now consulting on the prospect.

A document recently posted to the government's environmental registry asks for input on how best to engage the public and Indigenous communities on the planning and location of new generation and storage facilities.

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