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Expanding the Darlington Nuclear Facility will economically generate larger quantities of virtually emission-free electricity. First of all, it currently generates roughly 20 per cent of Ontario’s electricity at low operational costs (Ontario Power Generation Inc., 2013). An expansion will generate even larger quantities of electricity. The Darlington Nuclear Facility has a capacity factor of about 95 per cent, meaning its reactors operate at their highest potential 95 per cent of the time (Ontario Power Generation Inc., 2013). This allows the facility to effectively and efficiently generate large quantities of electricity. However, solar and wind alternatives have a capacity factor of a mere 2 per cent because they are intermittent (operating irregularly) (Lemar, 2010). Secondly, operational costs at the facility are economical. In fact, the Darlington Nuclear Facility generates more electricity than renewable sources at the same costs. Therefore, the Darlington Nuclear Facility is a more reliable source of electricity.
Thirdly, the Darlington Nuclear Facility generates electricity that is virtually emission-free. An expansion will help reduce pollutants leading to global warming because Ontario would not need to burn as much fossil fuels (such as coal) (Ontario Power Generation Inc., 2013). The burning of fossil fuels creates environmental damages worse than the impacts of the entire nuclear industry (including catastrophes) (Lemar, 2010). Clearly, and expansion of the Darlington Nuclear Facility would produce much cleaner electricity.
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Those who are opposed to the expansion of the Darlington Nuclear Facility believe that there are alternative ways to produce emission-free electricity without cancer-causing waste and that nuclear power plants are unsafe (Revkin, 2013). However, they fail to realize that these alternatives have various problems of their own and they overlook the beneficial aspects of nuclear energy (Canadian Nuclear Association, 2013). To begin, those against the expansion claim that renewable energy sources, such as solar, and wind, are enough to satisfy our energy needs. Although, these alternatives are renewable and emission-free, they are not without environmental and social problems (Revkin, 2013). These renewable energy sources are ineffective because they do not generate enough electricity (Canadian Nuclear Association, 2013). For instance, to generate electricity for Toronto using wind energy, 40 times the land area of Metropolitan Toronto would be needed (Canadian Nuclear Association, 2013). Also, renewable energy sources heavily depend on the weather when generating power – wind turbines require powerful winds and solar panels require clear skies and sufficient sunshine (Solar Schools, n.d.). Without these weather stipulations, however, renewable energy sources become unpredictable and inconsistent.
Moreover, those against the expansion of the Darlington Nuclear Facility claim that it is unsafe for those who work at the facility, the environment, and the public (Revkin, 2013). They claim that the 1986 Chernobyl and 2011 Fukushima nuclear disasters prove that nuclear facilities are unsafe and dangerous (Solar Schools, n.d.). However, these two disasters occurred because their facilities were older models (Revkin, 2013). On the other hand, the Darlington Nuclear Facility features a modern design, which is less likely to meltdown or be problematic (Ontario Power Generation Inc., 2013). The technology is safe and maintaining both public and employee safety is principal at the Darlington Nuclear Facility (Ontario Power Generation Inc., 2013). Multiple barriers prevent the leakage of radioactive waste and the facility is carefully operated, maintained, and regularly tested and inspected by highly qualified staff (Ontario Power Generation Inc., 2013). The Darlington Nuclear Facility adheres to the Nuclear Safety and Control Act, the Environmental Protection Act, and the Planning Act, which regulates and protects health, safety, security, and the environment (Ontario Power Generation Inc., 2013). Overall, expanding the Darlington Nuclear Facility is perfectly safe due to impeccable safety standards and its modern design. Thus, the employees, the environment, and the public are all safeguarded from radioactive wastes.
Therefore, counter claims opposing the expansion of the Darlington Nuclear Facility are flawed. Their claim that renewable energy sources are sufficient enough is foolish; they simply do not produce enough electricity and amusingly, they can be environmentally problematic. If nuclear power is overlooked, there will be a definite energy crisis in the future – fossil fuels will become exhausted and renewable sources are not sufficient. For us to continue our energy consumption, we must rely on nuclear energy because there are no other viable solutions. When all factors have been considered, the expansion of the Darlington Nuclear Facility is an excellent means of generating more electricity in Ontario.