top of page

How Ontario Decarbonized

Dr. Chris Keefer

Tuesday, September 19, 2023

Speaker 1  0:00  

So now I'd like to introduce our guest speaker. Dr. Chris Keefer, is a Canadian emergency physician and the president of the grassroots nonprofit Canadians for nuclear energy. He's also the host of the decoupled podcast, which explores the science, technology and politics of the energy transition. His organization is widely credited with having reoriented reoriented the Canadian national conversation on nuclear energy. This has resulted in the inclusion of nuclear within the mandate of the Canadian infrastructure bank, and the claim technology Tax Credit Framework and the most recent announcement of 6000 megawatts of new nuclear capacity in Ontario. Now, Dr. Key for his activism extends beyond nuclear energy to issues of indigenous migrant and refugee health. he co founded one of Canada's first seasonal agricultural workers health clinics. He's worked as a consulting physician for the Canadian Center for victims of torture, and was the health columnist for for Canada's largest circulating indigenous newspaper, the two row times. So, Chris now will will speak for about 20 minutes, we'll have then an opportunity for a bit of a fireside chat, and there'll be plenty of time for you to consider some questions. So So there'll be plenty of time for questions. But initially, I'd like to hand over now to Chris, for his presentation

Chris Keefer  1:44  

I find these lectern balls a little bit awkward. So sometimes end up doing things like this, I may end up leaning over a bit like this. Let me know can you hear me okay? Right now. Wonderful. Listen, it's been a pleasure being in Australia for the first time for this last week. I've not had much time for sightseeing, because I'm a big nerd. But I've done some, you know, intellectual sightseeing, meeting some truly extraordinary people, and getting a really in depth picture of the economic and energy realities right here in Australia. So I'm very appreciative of that. And, you know, Senator MacDonald's talk was, you know, the last great mine I've had the privilege of interacting with, and a lot of the communications difficulties that she's describing, obviously apply to the nuclear sector. And that's really the role that we've played as a non industry nuclear advocacy group. As strange as that might sound. So I want to take the time that I have to walk you through lessons from Ontario, which is a province that is 60%, nuclear powered, and hopefully inspire a conversation here in Australia about the potential role for nuclear energy. So what got me into all this? As any parent in the room can attest, the birth of a child has a very profound and life changing experience. Nothing changes one's time perception, one's long term thinking like imagining what their lives will be like. And for me this This led to a deep concern about climate change and a desire to take action. Over the last four years, I've had the pleasure of speaking with over 200 world experts in the areas of climate and energy on the decouple podcast, and if anyone has their phone out, I'm assuming that you're subscribing right now. But you're welcome to afterwards. And of course, also founding and directing Canadians for nuclear energy. I didn't have to look far for inspiration. When I when I was thinking about how to take climate action. This is a map of the carbon intensity of electricity of many countries and jurisdictions around the world. What you'll notice, of course, is that Ontario is colored dark green, that's good. It's very low emissions, and we move up through the colors into very high emissions. Now, to be on the green team, you need one of two things, a whole lot of hydro electricity countries like Norway, which are essentially 100% hydro, or if your hydro electrically constrained, significant deployments of nuclear energy, as is the case in Sweden, France in my home province of Ontario. We didn't used to always have this bright shade of green. In fact, we shared a similar color scheme as Australia does on this map. We were about 25% coal powered, and over just a nine year period, we went from 25% to zero. And the replacement energy came 90% from nuclear. This is the demolition of the Nanticoke coal plant, which I'll describe later. So our country is obviously have different approaches to nuclear energy, different legislation, but we have a lot in common. We share this guy for for better or worse as our A mutual head of state. We're tiny populations on, you know, relatively giant land masses, we're minerals, and Natural Resources rich. But that's that's not what matters. Canadians and Australians are practically the same people, we face the same challenges, we fought alongside each other in the same wars. And I think that's led to a very similar set of values which inform our institutions. We have more in common though than that. And it's actually in the nuclear sector. both Canada and Australia are top two and number four, in terms of global production of uranium. And make no mistake, this is both of our country's number one clean energy exports, used in zero emissions nuclear reactors around the world instead of the burning of fossil fuels. Canadian and Australian uranium offsets a fully 1/3 of our total, all sector national emissions. You know, there's a lot of newsprint that's dedicated to things like green hydrogen. And I'm curious, you know, and this speaks to that communications challenge. Why we're not writing more about uranium. You know, we're talking a lot about battery battery minerals as well on this conference, and they have a vital role to play. But that's storage, not power generation, and if that storing electricity that is high carbon, that's much less significant than our uranium sector. Another area that we are both giants in, no pun intended, is in medical isotopes. Canada produces enough cobalt 60 And it's actually in our power reactors, they're producing zero carbon electricity at the same time, we're making cobalt 60. What's what's important about cobalt 60, we produce enough to sterilize 40% of the world's single use medical devices, things like IV cannulas, endotracheal tubes, stuff that you have all I guarantee interacted with over the course of your interactions with physicians and nurses. Australia produces an enormous amount of technetium 99. And I think you should be very proud of the oppo research reactor, which I had the privilege of visiting last week. Just an incredible Marvel, you know, and it was obviously completed on budget and on time. And so this technetium is used in the Australasian market as the workhorse really of diagnostic imaging.

Okay, so what are our differences? After experiencing a week of T shirt weather and your so called Winter? I can answer you much nicer weather than us. But the fundamental thing between Ontario and Australia is you guys have big coal reserves, and we had none. And I think this is what fundamentally explains the divergence in our energy paths, and really our attitude towards nuclear energy. Just because we didn't have it doesn't mean we didn't burn it. After we outstripped our hydroelectric potential in Ontario, we turned to coal, very reasonable thing to do at the time. We were however, importing coal from the United States and big barges across the Great Lakes. And we don't go small on anything in Ontario. This is the Nanticoke coal station eight 500 megawatt boilers to do the math that's four gigawatts, this was the largest coal plant in North America.

everything was hunky dory until that energy crisis in 1973. A knock on effect from the quadrupling of the price of oil, which we used to actually burn for electricity was a doubling in the price of coal.

Luckily, we had begun scaling up our nascent CANDU technology. And as you can see here, with each of these blue dots, representing a concrete pour at a new Canadian reactor, we built a lot of them really fast in response to this price hike.

We went from building the largest coal plants in North America, to the largest operating nuclear plant in the world. This is the Bruce nuclear power station produces 30% of the provinces electricity, emissions free, and on a tiny relative footprint. You've probably heard that mantra oft repeated, the nuclear is just too slow to respond to the climate emergency. Well, here's a graph showing that Canada commissioned 22 large nuclear reactors in just 22 years, and so reactor a year. How does that compare to global deployments of clean energy? Well, this graph is the average yearly increase in clean electrical generation per capita of a number of countries around the world. You can see very proud we didn't make it into the top three didn't get bronze, but we're in fourth place there. And what you'll notice is that shade of blue is nuclear. So amongst the 10 fastest additions of clean energy per capita, nuclear takes the cake for seven of those spots. austere. really has done a pretty incredible job with the deployment of solar energy. But it is about 1/3 of the rate of Ontario's nuclear build out. So how did we do it? There are three major reactor technologies deployed around the world. Two of them are American. One is Canadian, this funny thing here, the Candu reactor, what was driving our decision to create our own reactor not just take on an American design? Well, energy security, and local economic development drove that decision making. So we didn't want to become dependent on enriched uranium, we had no no interest in nuclear weapons, no interest in uranium enrichment ourselves. So we leveraged our knowledge in heavy water physics to create a reactor that can run on natural and enriched uranium. In addition, we didn't want to become dependent on heavy forging, which is an industrial capacity that very few countries actually have. And so we created this hyper modular core made up of 480 fuel channels to ensure again, that local manufacturing, this supply chain localization fully 96% of our CANDU supply chain is in Providence has some pretty massive economic consequences. Coupled with the incredible high quality jobs of 76,000 people directly employed in the sector and many more indirectly, we get $1.40 return in GDP for every dollar invest in. It's just like a recycling machine. In terms of the economy, there's nothing better than well paid workers spending money in their community. This does drive our future choices. If were to spend 10s, or even hundreds of billions of dollars on a clean energy transition, should we do that at home, paying Canadian workers fostering high tech manufacturing? Or should we send that money over to let's face it geopolitical adversaries like China, and import things like wind turbines and solar panels, it's something that we think about a lot in their province. We just had a really good session in terms of indigenous involvement in the mining industry. This is a good friend of mine, Tracy Primeau, a member of the Nipissing First Nation who rose to be the first female shift manager at a North American nuclear plant. You know, as a physician, I was thinking shift manager, you know, maybe it's like the charge nurse who manages when people work? No, she oversaw the operations of the world's largest nuclear plant. The reactor operators were well below her. So really impressive opportunities that are available. And of course, Cameco our uranium mining company is the number one employer of indigenous people across the entire country of Canada.

So would it have been cheaper to have gotten wind and solar roofs? Well, we ran that experiment with the goal of creating a clean energy manufacturing hub and 50,000 jobs to go along with it. The idea of retooling some of our struggling automotive plants into wind turbine manufacturing factories drove this decision to try and imitate the German energy vendor with much just a very generous feed in tariff contracts. These were 20 year contracts ironclad paid for every kilowatt hour, even if we didn't use it curtailed electricity was paying for as well, at rates two to eight times the price of nuclear. Unfortunately, we learned the painful lesson alongside our American and European allies, that in energy and commodities intensive products, you can't compete with China. They're ultra low cost coal fired electricity, forced Uyghur labor, and lacks environmental standards give them a competitive advantage in this area that's unassailable.

How did the cost of our wind and solar build out compared to our nuclear fleet. So here you can see the green energy contracts over their entire lifetime. And these are 20 year contracts for sources of generation that only last about 20 years 62 billion are CANDU fleet and today's dollars 58 billion. But I think what's most incredible here is the amount of output we've had from our CANDU fleet for a similar investment. We've had 16 times more electricity produced and produced critically in sync with demand. So the 2018 election was a referendum on the Green Energy Act, in addition to very high prices. Rather than experiencing a manufacturing boom, there was actually deindustrialization as a result of those prices. The center left Ontario Liberal Party suffered a humiliating defeat going from a majority in parliament, losing their official party status and dropping to only seven seats. The first act of the incoming provincial Conservative government was to scrap the Green Energy Act just to give you a sense of what this election was about. The next four years of electricity policy on both the provincial and federal level looks something like this.

So after having spent 10s of billions of dollars, and being stung, stung by the resulting high costs, and without any organic forecasts of increased demand, of course, we know we need to double or triple our grand but without those organic forecasts and government was not keen on pouring more money into power generation. We focused instead on incentivizing and subsidizing the use of end user products like electric vehicles and heat pumps, again, without thinking of the power that's required to electrify those things. And that's starting to bite us in the rear end.

So the other things that were occurring at that time, were a lingering, pretty peripheral, but in some in some areas, influential anti nuclear ism and government. And that was leading to critical climate legislation excluding nuclear things like the green bond or Canada's response to the investment tax to the inflation Reduction Act, the investment tax clean technology investment tax credit.

In addition, we were sleepwalking our way into the closer of one of our crown jewels of clean energy, the Pickering nuclear station, which provides 15% of our provinces electricity into this vacuum of vision, stepped Canadians for nuclear energy. I founded this organization in 2020. And it's composed of a really amazing high caliber group of individuals, including scientists, engineers, and energy workers and even doctors. I'm not the only one. We have five doctors in our membership, which I'm very proud of. So we ran some very successful campaigns. The safe Pickering campaign included a really beautiful policy report written by Dylan Moon over there,

and has led to the life extension and refurbishment of the planet. Nuclear was included within that investment tax credit. And critically, we got it, we fought for it to be included in the mandate of the Canada Infrastructure Bank, which led to a billion dollar loan for Canada's and the West's first grid scale SMR.

We even parlayed that success into a U turn in federal politics. The same government that in 2021, had excluded nuclear from the green bond and lumping lumped it in with the sin stocks of Tobacco, Firearms, gambling, traffic and exotic species. I don't know why that would be in a green bond framework, but they took that inflammatory step of including nuclear when those sin stocks were caught in a bit of a dilemma. On the one hand, the prime minister's office and we do have a dictatorship of the prime minister's office was staffed largely by environmentalists, staffers from the World Wildlife Federation, who had a pretty anti nuclear agenda. On the other hand, there was a working class electorate in vote rich Ontario, who appreciated the gold standard jobs offered by nuclear energy and the local manufacturing economic stimulus. So just two years later, after much work and a bit of hugging. In 2023, the party had moved to a robust embrace of nuclear. And that was typified by a quote from our dear leader Justin Trudeau. In which he said, Canada, and I quote, is very, very, very serious about a return to nuclear energy, three bears. So that statement was made in a press conference alongside the German President Walter Steinmeier. And the timing couldn't have been more perfect. German automotive manufacturing giant Volkswagen was opening. Its next or its first overseas manufacturing facility. Guess where they chose nuclear powered Ontario. They chose it because of our relatively low prices, high reliability and very low emissions. Firstly, 1/10 of that of Australia, not to rub it in too much. So this was in the context of Germany having closed its final three nuclear stations. So the irony was was quite fitting, and the statement from the Prime Minister was quite gratifying. What is their path going forward? This is conservative Minister of Energy Todd Smith announcing site preparation for 6000 megawatts of new nuclear, consisting of four small modular reactors and five large CANDU reactors. So nine reactors added to our existing fleet of 18. What gives us Minister confidence that Ontario can pull it off when there's been such struggles with nuclear construction in the 21st century in the West This is an interesting tale. I mean, what explains these construction difficulties. The number one factor by far is the atrophy of supply chains, nuclear project delivery skills, and frankly, skilled trades people. American style reactors, their lives are limited by the reactor pressure vessel, the heart of the reactor. Because we modularize the core candidate reactors have the option of being life extended every 40 years by the replacement of key parts, it's somewhat analogous to a very complex engine swap out. So what this results in is a reactor that's restored not to an as sorry, as good as new condition, but even a better condition because we're using impro, improved components and control from our operating experience.

How are these projects going? And these are truly nuclear mega projects. We're talking three to four year projects with a critical path sensitive to a multitude of inputs that have to be dialed in scheduled and delivered six months, almost six months ahead of schedule on our last unit, I was just talking to a friend of mine, the next unit, they've they've D fueled the unit 40 days ahead of schedule. So things are going very well, we've developed institutional excellence, something I'm very proud of, as you can see,

what is the general public support for the expansion of nuclear energy? Well, this is polling from Angus Angus Reid Institute. 70% of people in favor 18% Opposed 12%? Not sure. And this is reflected in a pan partisan pro nuclear consensus in Ontario, even the Green Party of Ontario supports the ongoing operation of our nuclear fleet. Why is that?

Well, there's something for everyone in nuclear energy, right across right across that political spectrum on the left, ultra low emissions secure union jobs make nuclear hard not to love. In addition, the example of a just transition of coal workers at our power generation facilities over to better paying and better working conditions in our nuclear plants, is hard for them not to appreciate, on the political right. low cost, high reliability electricity, as well as making Ontario a very strong investment environment and driving reindustrialization we've had $17 billion of new investments, mostly in EVs, battery manufacturing, and low carbon steel. Another reason that nuclear remains popular is that it's kept our prices down despite some of the skyrocketing and mouthwatering rates of the Green Energy Act. Nuclear is the second cheapest source of electricity after hydroelectricity. And it provides 60% of our electricity. So a real a real tool that's kept our costs low.

So the grid, I call it our civilizational life support system, is the beating heart of a modern society. And we take it for granted at our great risk. On a very personal note, getting back to on get emotional, getting back to my son. He was born 33 weeks early, sorry, seven weeks. That'll be very early. He was born seven weeks early and spent the first five weeks of his life in a neonatal intensive care unit in an incubator. And when I think about a blackout, a grid failure, it's just it's gut wrenching. Ontario safeguarded our grid, by keeping it simple, cost effective and reliable.

There was not the need for vastly expensive transmission and storage infrastructure. Again, nuclear plants are a centralized form of electricity and dispatchable unreliable. And that's the secret of how we were able to replace coal in just nine years.

My friend Mark Nelson has said, You have to love coal, if you want to replace it. It's not easy to do. But nuclear matches that reliability and dispatch ability without the emissions. Wind and solar, on the other hand, don't have much in common with coal, unfortunately, other than, you know, not having emissions, but a huge network of storage, supply and gas and gas backup is required in order to attempt to match those services.

Australia is finding itself I think in a situation of a little bit of stress when it comes to the grid. I was reading The Sydney Morning Herald last week, and four stories caught my eyes. One was the threat of rolling blackouts coming due to the end of three Lania seasons and that bad boy El Nino coming along low winds and you know high temperatures that are going to stress the grid. Another had to do with the need to life extend coal stations to ensure reliability. Another story was about the cost blowouts and Snowy Hydro and Some of the transmission infrastructure.

And I think I've lost track of what the fourth one was, but it was all stories next to each other. Given the strain that is appearing, it would seem to be prudent to not rule out all of the options at your disposal, and include and share with your peer nations in the benefits of nuclear energy. It is my sincere hope that as in Ontario, nuclear will cease to be a polarizing or partisan issue. For God's sakes, even in the United States of America, the Democrats and Republicans have found something they can finally agree on. As we see in Ontario, the best climate solutions belong in every party. Thank you very much.

Speaker 1  25:59  

Check check, it should be good. Thank you very much, Chris, a really engaging talk and do appreciate you coming out here to share that. That with us. There'll be some roving microphones. So if you have some questions in your mind, please get yourself ready and put your hand up shortly. But but I've got a few. A few questions. Or I might I might start with one that actually came up in the previous session. And, you know, can you believe that we're in a position where we'll be threatened? The medicine that we require is under threat because of the disposal of nuclear waste? Or how do you deal with it in Australia in Ontario.

Chris Keefer  26:47  

So, I mean, nuclear waste has become this bogeyman, it's put under a microscope, as we ignore so many other streams of much harder to manage waste. It's solid. And thanks to most famous equation in the world equals MC squared, it's incredibly dense, the total amount of waste that you would produce in your high energy lifestyle would fit into can of Coke. This fuel pellet equal to one tonne of coal 17,000 cubic meters of gas, four barrels of oil. That is the secret to why nuclear waste is so manageable. Fresh out of the reactor, the antis right, this is deadly stuff. But we make dangerous things safe. I'm sure you can, you know, recognize that in the mining sector. Think about aviation, we put hundreds of men, women and children into these thin skinned pressurized aircraft fly them up to 30,000 feet, far over oceans. And yet, it's something like 11 times safer than driving. Similar thing with nuclear energy, except we don't have, you know, an aircraft with 1000 mission critical moving parts, you know, the need for air traffic control, we take the waste out of the reactor, underwater waters and amazing shield, we let it cool off. This is a cool fact. Nuclear waste, decays the radioactivity exponentially. So 99.9% of the radioactivity is gone in 40 years, goes from that underwater storage into a concrete and steel line. spent fuel cask I've hugged one I've been amongst them got a dose lower than flying in that airplane I was talking about. So this is a very manageable solution. And people say, Oh, it's piling up at a nuclear station. I mean, in a Costco sized warehouse, we have all of the waste from 30 years, sorry, from 45 years of the operation of the largest operating nuclear plant in the world. There's no urgency to deal with this stuff. Especially when we're thinking about the other waste streams out there. And you know, probably most notably co2, which is, you know, threatening with having us depart the Holocene, which is kind of important for maintaining industrial and civilization.

Speaker 1  28:54  

Thank you, Chris. That's, I think, a very eye opening. Answer. Well, you you've you've been a leading nuclear energy advocate in Canada for a long time, but But you actually started out anti nuclear. Is that is that the case? So what changed you what what what? What's the moments that caused you to think differently?

Chris Keefer  29:18  

Well, Jacob Gruber, in his article accurate this accurately described me as you know, an old school lefty. And, you know, along with those progressive politics come as, as with any sort of ideological package, unexamined beliefs, and so clearly anti nuclear ism was part of that. I used to hold my breath as I drove past the Pickering nuclear station, which is something that is pretty ironic, given how much we were able to fix air quality in Ontario using nuclear. But as I was saying, you know, it's interesting amongst medical doctors, for instance, the whole paradigm for medical evidence used to be there's a mechanism therefore it works. That was no longer suffer. Mission and about 20 years ago, we moved to an evidence based medicine paradigm where you actually have to test things in the real world in large epidemiological studies and prove that they work. And I think that's equipped physicians with the critical appraisal abilities to look at the anti nuclear arguments and the pro nuclear arguments. And if they take the time to do so as you know, the other physician members of the group have done, you come to a really startling conclusion, and one that like kind of feels like a conspiracy theory, because you're like, I know, things that the general public doesn't know. But it is it is a pretty wild journey I've been on. I do this on a volunteer basis. So it gives a certain amount of legitimacy to my advocacy. And I don't have to call it lobbying because I'm not paid to do it. I just call it advocacy.

Speaker 2  30:50  

Janine has it from seek international, but I'll be wearing a different hat with this question. So I was Radiation Safety Officer for 10 years for Luca. And before that, working in around density gauges for in mineral processing plants. So on Stradbroke Island, I had to decommission a number of uranium gauges because they used uranium in those days. Of course, they're all cesium now. But it strikes me again that we had issues on Stradbroke, where we had leaking old uranium gauges, massive ones, because we were running 4000 ton an hour through dredge. And I had to get them off the island safely. We've got these similar issues now with the storage of the medical waste, which is in basements everywhere. And, you know, so I don't want to revisit the whole Kimber thing. But I'm, I'm trying to remember what my question was. But I am certain that, you know, many familiar colleagues, we've got a few honorary Australians like Doug BoRam, who I'm sure is a very good friend. So Doug comes to Australia a lot and speaks at our events. And also Helen Cook, who has obviously been working in that law area. So can Australians join Canadians for nuclear energy?

Unknown Speaker  32:10  

Well sit behind you

Chris Keefer  32:11  

sort of answer is, is no, maybe we'll create a you know, membership class. But listen, I am very heartened by the pronuclear advocacy that I see emerging in Australia. You know, I see this young man William shackle, you know, it's pretty amazing the energy that he has, it kind of reminds me of a younger version of myself. I just spent the weekend with Robert Parker, who's a civil engineer just really has Dovan into this area, and I think is communicating very effectively, particularly in more rural areas than ever Hurd, who I think is a little less active now. But I think these are the critical voices. The spokespeople that should be making these arguments, and I mean, maybe there's similar again, with his challenges with with mining and nuclear just sounds so similar. But I would say yeah, have heart and get going here, Australians for nuclear energy, be happy to give the cheat codes.

Unknown Speaker  33:05  

Thanks, Chairman. In the interest of disclosure, Mitch hook, breaking down a farm boy kicked around in the mining industry a bit. You I'll bet your mates with Michael Shellenberger.

Chris Keefer  33:16  

It's a conflict with the relationship status is, as Facebook says complicated, but what I say like Michael Shellenberger is, you know, I think he's wrong, but I agree with him. Okay, well, we'll just be clear, but so in

Unknown Speaker  33:30  

Australia, the biggest barrier we have is actually getting a foot in the door. And the orcas submarines have given us a foot in the door. Small Modular Reactors are a foot in the door, we could put item smack into Hazelwood now connect them up to a distribution network that works. The six what six, eight now running around the world is about 12 or 14 now and construction. Yes, we can look at thorium and all the benefits that go with that when you can turn reactors on and off and all that sort of stuff. And I love the technology went through. So give us if you're in our shoes, what would you be your strategic and tactical. And there's a difference, of course, approach to breaking down the barriers, we kind of get lost in the logic of our own argument. We've got to empathize and then bring it back the other way. So what would you do if you and our shoes in breaking those barriers in Australia?

Chris Keefer  34:23  

Sure. I mean, I think the Oculus agreement is very interesting. This is an area where I understand there's sort of 24 hours notice and that that did lead to a bipartisan consensus around the necessity of that. I do see some storm clouds brewing in terms of the Australian electricity grid. And I think if those continued to convene, there will be a similar sense of urgency. You know, I think it's really important that we read team our ideas, you know, if Australia goes nuclear, it might not work out. Make sure you have a plan B in place. Similarly, I think, you know, the stakes of getting it wrong are there not working out are so terrifying because of climate change, that we don't even want to think about it, but we have to as responsible decision makers. And so, you know, if getting to 82%, renewables in seven years is not working out, or there's some system reliability issues, etc, it is essential to have nuclear at the ready. And I think, you know, overturning the ban, you know, and doing some of the preparatory work is a common sense move. But it is very odd seeing a country that's going to be deploying nuclear submarines that has a world leading, you know, research reactor producing medical isotopes, that's got, I think, the largest Uranium reserves in the world. Not deploying nuclear energy, you got a fleet of SMRs coming, I will just say one thing, I hate the word SMR. I find it to be a very imprecise term. It summarizes very divergent technologies and sizes. What is leading the pack right now is very conventional technology. It's not unproven. These are pressurized water designs and boiling water designs that have lineages that stretch back 60 plus years. So, you know, while it's true that there's development work to be done, it's these conventional type reactors that are leading the way in Ontario, I'm very proud as deploying the first for what what, what should you do in Australia? I mean, you need to find a credible partner. And unfortunately, I'm gonna tell you the truth about this. There's not many out there. Korea's done a fabulous job, you know, looking at the revised price estimates of snowy 2.0, you can build a couple of 1400 megawatt nuclear reactors with a 91% capacity factor instead of I don't know what it's going to be 30%. And if if that Snowy Hydro, hydro, is no way to if it is charged by coal fired electricity that isn't clean electricity, right. So find a credible partner. And I really hope that Ontario, given our excellence with these refurbishments, which are not a perfect representation of a new build, but my goodness, require a lot of institutional excellence, I hope, again, given that we're Commonwealth cousins, we can share something. And you know, maybe an idea less than an optimist, but I do feel a really strong kinship and bond being here just one week.

Unknown Speaker  37:11  

Sorry, there's a question over this way. Oh, I'm sorry.

Unknown Speaker  37:15  

Yeah. Look, I just got a really simple question. You've been here for a week. I've seen you on TV. I've seen you today. Were you able to have a meeting with anyone in government? And if you did, what was their response?

Chris Keefer  37:27  

I have not yet. But I do have a meeting. Believe tomorrow. I guess I'm going to be just diplomatic not not say who is with but yeah, you know, I do think that this issue is, again, unfortunately, tribal. And it's, again, a bit puzzling coming from where I'm from. We need to have all options on the table and have a rigorous discussion debate. But we need to base that on evidence. And I think, you know, this, this, this ban is, is truly, you know, a wonder and a bizarre wonder to behold. But, you know, again, I hope that you guys get to a place where this is not polarizing or partisan, where the best solutions belong in every party. And I really do think that nuclear fits in there.

Unknown Speaker  38:14  

Chris, thanks for your talk at John McCain's from illogical systems. One, I think in this crowd here, you will find a lot of people which don't need to be convinced it's the logical solution. And for some of it also works in uranium and nuclear industries. It just makes perfect sense. So that photo you showed of Opal last stood at the bottom of that reactor pool when it's being built. Okay. So one thing I'd want to ask though, is, if I stood at the bottom of the reactor pub, I just poured the concrete and I just snuck in. But the one thing I'm interested in is because I find the general public is typically energy blind. And that's probably one of the biggest challenges we need to overcome. And what I'd be interested in is what happened in Ontario, because I'm usually glass half full. But when it comes to energy, I feel that people need to feel pain before they understand how to transition, did something like that happened in Ontario? And what was it?

Chris Keefer  39:05  

Yeah, we felt the pain of the Green Energy Act, there was, you know, powerful, negative people that heated with electricity. It was, Are you going to buy groceries or heat your house? Right, I heard that there was an issue, I think, with some blackouts in South Australia, that's coming here. Right. And that that led to some pain and to some energy literacy. You know, we take it for granted, the grid has been so stable due to design. Again, it's it is our civilizational life support structure. To me, it's analogous to the heart stopping and the cascade of organ failure. And we're not talking about these transmission blackouts of a tree falling on a line we're talking about the potential for a grid to collapse came very close to that in Texas, apparently four or five minutes away. And that is a disaster. 200 people died. Most important Well, that's the most important consideration, but $200 billion in economic losses. So we need to safeguard this most vital commons that we all pay into and supports all of us in ways that we are completely blind to. And I think, you know, hopefully waking up to. Thank you.

Speaker 1  40:09  

Well, thank you very much, Chris. This has been a fascinating discussion. I think lots and lots of people who would have many questions, but But I see we're in over time. And we have a lunch with the Leader of the Opposition across the hall in in about 10 or 15 minutes, I believe. So

Chris Keefer  40:26  

if everyone can take your phones out right now. Yeah, it was actually it was so lovely. I didn't see anyone looking at a screen. But take them out right now. Have a search for the decouple podcasts, subscribe on YouTube, and your podcasting platform of choice. We've had some great episodes with some Australians. We're gonna have a bunch more, but just do that favor for me.

Unknown Speaker  40:49  

Thank you very much, Chris.

bottom of page