Before our trip to Yellowknife, we got the opportunity to visit the Bruce Power Nuclear Generating Station. The long trip there from Queen’s Park was well worth it. Upon arrival, we were given a briefing by Rob Liddle and Christine John from Bruce Power, which explained the role of nuclear energy in Ontario and how it is generated at the station. Bruce Power provides Ontario with an astounding 30% of its electricity. This energy is generated through relatively large atoms that are split in a series of controlled nuclear reactions cooled and moderated by the use of heavy water. The heat that stems from this process is used to boil water, which in turn creates steam that drives a turbine to produce electricity. The process of splitting an atom is referred to as nuclear fission.
After the briefing, we laced up our safety shoes, put on our safety goggles and hat, and headed off for our tour. The tour was conducted by Rob and Christine. Words cannot even begin to explain what we witnessed. The sheer size of the facility left all of us with our mouths agape. Its size literally appeared endless at times. We got to see the turbines, the main control room, and Bruce Power’s behemoth nuclear reactor units 3 and 4. The degree of technology, engineering, and physics at the place was something to truly marvel.
Once our tour ended, we headed back to Bruce Power’s visitor centre where we met with Lynda Cain from Ontario Power Generation (OPG). Lynda gave us a comprehensive overview of nuclear waste management and OPG’s proposed Deep Geologic Repository (DGR).This DGR, if approved by the government in May, will look to store all the low and intermediate-level nuclear waste 680 metres below ground in stable bedrock.The process of coming up with this DGR has entailed years of adequate and intricate scientific studies and environmental assessments carried out by various experts both internally and externally.
All in all, the experience was undoubtedly one of the highlights of our internship so far. We got to see inside the Bruce Power facility, which is something that most people do not get to do. We thank Rob, Christine, and Lynda for their hospitality and for providing us with an experience that we’ll never forget. We would also like to thank Bruce Power for their continued sponsorship!