March 24, 1955

THE ROYAL ASSENT

LIB

Louis-René Beaudoin (Speaker of the House of Commons)

Liberal

Mr. Speaker:

I have the honour to inform the house that I have received the following communication:

Government House, Ottawa, 23rd March, 1955.

Sir:

I have the honour to inform you that the Honourable Patrick Kerwin, Chief Justice of Canada, acting as Deputy of His Excellency the Governor General, will proceed to the Senate chamber on Thursday, the 24th March, at 5.45 p.m., for the purpose of giving the royal assent to certain bills.

I have the honour to be, sir,

Your obedient servant,

J. F. Delaute,

Secretary to the Governor General (Administrative)

Topic:   THE ROYAL ASSENT
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ATOMIC ENERGY

ANNOUNCEMENT OF PROPOSED CONSTRUCTION OF DEMONSTRATION POWER REACTOR

LIB

Clarence Decatur Howe (Minister of Defence Production; Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Liberal

Right Hon. C. D. Howe (Minister of Trade and Commerce):

Mr. Speaker, on February 17, 1953, in the course of a brief report which I gave the house on the atomic energy program, I stated that the time had come to undertake the development of atomic power in this country. I stated further that since the production of power is the concern of the various commissions and power companies which distribute power in Canada, it seemed desirable that arrangements should be made whereby the power producers might participate in the future development work.

Shortly after this announcement the HydroElectric Power Commission of Ontario indicated its interest in participating in the program, and discussions began as to how this might be carried out most effectively. These discussions resulted in a decision to undertake a feasibility study which would have as its objective the determination of an outline specification for a power reactor.

The arrangement, which was announced on November 12, 1953, provided that Atomic Energy of Canada Limited would make available technical information and experimental facilities, and that Ontario hydro would supply the personnel for the study. Ontario hydro

also stated its intention to expend on the study up to $100,000 a year over a two-year period. Subsequently several other utilities contributed personnel to the study group.

During the debate on the amendments to the Atomic Energy Control Act last June I advised the house that it had been decided to set up an advisory committee on atomic power, consisting of representatives of all the power commissions and power companies in Canada. The purpose of the committee was to provide a medium whereby power producers in all parts of Canada might be kept fully informed of developments in the atomic power field. The first meeting of the committee was held at Chalk River in July, at which time the power reactor program was described in detail. It was agreed that the committee would meet annually, and more frequently should the members of the committee desire.

Late in 1954 the feasibility study had advanced to the point where it was possible to consider the next step, the design, engineering and construction of a demonstration power reactor. Atomic Energy of Canada Limited has now recommended that such a reactor should be built, and the government has accepted this recommendation. The reactor will be designed to produce 20,000 kilowatts electric. Its nuclear specifications will be based, in the main, on the heavy water technology which has been developed at Chalk River in connection with the operation of the NRX reactor. While the reactor is not expected to produce power at costs competitive with hydro plants or large thermal stations, it will provide the kind of operating and cost experience which will make possible a scale-up to a large and economic power reactor.

Bearing in mind that atomic power will be used by the utilities, and that the manufacturing industry will be responsible for producing the equipment and components for power reactors, it seemed desirable that arrangements should be made for the participation in the project of a utility and further, that the detailed design, engineering and construction of the reactor should be contracted to a manufacturer.

Two utilities, the Hydro-Electric Power Commission of Ontario and the Nova Scotia Light and Power Company Limited, have made specific proposals for participation in

Atomic Energy

the project; and two utilities, the Nova Scotia power commission and the New Brunswick power commission, have indicated some interest. Atomic Energy of Canada Limited has now recommended that the proposal of the Hydro-Electric Power Commission of Ontario be accepted, and the government has approved this recommendation.

The arrangement will provide that Atomic Energy of Canada Limited will assume responsibility for the specifications and the cost of the reactor, and that the Hydro-Electric Power Commission of Ontario will assume responsibility for the specifications and cost of the conventional part of the plant, including the cost of the building to house the entire plant and the cost of its site. Ontario hydro will operate the plant as a part of its power system and for that purpose will purchase steam from Atomic Energy of Canada Limited at a price equivalent to the cost of steam produced in the emergency plant erected at Scarborough, Ontario, some years ago.

The decision to accept the proposal of Ontario hydro is based on several factors. First, as the reactor is to be used for demonstration purposes it is essential that it be operated in a power system which is sufficiently large to cope with interrupted operation or operation at a low load factor. Second, it is considered desirable that the first power reactor should be located within easy access of Chalk River, since Chalk River will be responsible for nuclear performance. Third, the financial arrangements provide that both parties will accept full responsibility for the cost of their respective portions of the project, together with any loss that may be incurred as the result of failure in operation or interrupted operation. This sharing of costs and risk is essential in an experimental project of this kind. Since Ontario hydro has made the major contribution to the feasibility study on which the specifications of the reactor will be based, the continuing partnership will be of great mutual advantage.

While the reactor will be located in Ontario, it will be the policy to provide full information to the members of the advisory committee with regard to its design and operation. In this way we will ensure that all Canadian power producers will be in a position to evaluate its economic significance in terms of their respective systems.

Last December Atomic Energy of Canada Limited invited proposals for the design and construction of the reactor from a number of companies which were considered to have the design, engineering and manufacturing resources needed for an undertaking of this kind. These companies were advised that

they would be expected to make some financial contribution to the project. After a careful assessment of these two factors -design, engineering and manufacturing resources and the amount of the financial contribution-Atomic Energy of Canada Limited has recommended that the contract be awarded to the Canadian General Electric Company Limited.

It is intended that detailed design will get under way immediately, with a view to the completion of construction in mid-1958.

Further details with regard to the program will be submitted to the parliamentary committee on research.

Topic:   ATOMIC ENERGY
Subtopic:   ANNOUNCEMENT OF PROPOSED CONSTRUCTION OF DEMONSTRATION POWER REACTOR
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PC

Howard Charles Green

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Green:

Were power commissions and companies in all the provinces given the opportunity to participate in these developments?

Topic:   ATOMIC ENERGY
Subtopic:   ANNOUNCEMENT OF PROPOSED CONSTRUCTION OF DEMONSTRATION POWER REACTOR
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LIB

Clarence Decatur Howe (Minister of Defence Production; Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Liberal

Mr. Howe (Port Arthur):

The answer is yes. All the power companies were invited to be represented on the advisory committee, and I think that all but one or two are so represented. A number of power companies, although they are not assuming financial responsibility for this first operation, have been contributing men to the feasibility studies. I might say that the British Columbia Electric Company, in which my hon. friend is interested, has contributed manpower to the study.

Topic:   ATOMIC ENERGY
Subtopic:   ANNOUNCEMENT OF PROPOSED CONSTRUCTION OF DEMONSTRATION POWER REACTOR
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PC

Howard Charles Green

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Green:

I had in mind, for example, the British Columbia power commission, which is a government commission. Has it also been given the opportunity to participate?

Topic:   ATOMIC ENERGY
Subtopic:   ANNOUNCEMENT OF PROPOSED CONSTRUCTION OF DEMONSTRATION POWER REACTOR
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LIB

Clarence Decatur Howe (Minister of Defence Production; Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Liberal

Mr. Howe (Port Arthur):

It was given the opportunity, but so far as I know it has not appointed a man to the commission. However, the British Columbia Electric Company has supplied manpower.

Topic:   ATOMIC ENERGY
Subtopic:   ANNOUNCEMENT OF PROPOSED CONSTRUCTION OF DEMONSTRATION POWER REACTOR
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PC

Howard Charles Green

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Green:

Is it the intention of the government to set up the special committee on atomic energy and research shortly?

Mr., Howe (Port Arthur): Yes, that is the intention of the government. We have simply been waiting until current debates die down a bit and we could get a place in the program of the house.

Topic:   ATOMIC ENERGY
Subtopic:   ANNOUNCEMENT OF PROPOSED CONSTRUCTION OF DEMONSTRATION POWER REACTOR
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PC

Alfred Johnson Brooks

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Brooks:

Has the minister an estimate of the cost which would be paid by the Ontario Hydro-Electric Power Commission?

Topic:   ATOMIC ENERGY
Subtopic:   ANNOUNCEMENT OF PROPOSED CONSTRUCTION OF DEMONSTRATION POWER REACTOR
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LIB

Clarence Decatur Howe (Minister of Defence Production; Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Liberal

Mr. Howe (Port Arthur):

Yes. I think the cost of the project is between $13 and $15 million, and the contribution of the Ontario hydro to the part to be built by them is between $3 and $5 million. There is also a sizeable contribution by the contractor for his part in the program.

Topic:   ATOMIC ENERGY
Subtopic:   ANNOUNCEMENT OF PROPOSED CONSTRUCTION OF DEMONSTRATION POWER REACTOR
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CCF

Clarence Gillis

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. Gillis:

What were the factors that militated against the proposal of the Nova Scotia power commission?

Topic:   ATOMIC ENERGY
Subtopic:   ANNOUNCEMENT OF PROPOSED CONSTRUCTION OF DEMONSTRATION POWER REACTOR
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LIB

Clarence Decatur Howe (Minister of Defence Production; Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Liberal

Mr. Howe (Pori Arthur):

The difficulty there was that the unit covered by the proposal was a unit immediately needed for the Nova Scotia system. We could not guarantee the time of completion or the reliability of the project, since this is the first one to be built. We were asked to indemnify the Nova Scotia utility against any lack of efficiency and against damage resulting from delayed completion and also damage resulting from low load factor; whereas in the Ontario project, a proposal similar in character, the Ontario hydro assumes all the risk for the factors I have just mentioned.

Topic:   ATOMIC ENERGY
Subtopic:   ANNOUNCEMENT OF PROPOSED CONSTRUCTION OF DEMONSTRATION POWER REACTOR
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SC

Charles Edward Johnston

Social Credit

Mr. Johnston (Bow River):

Was the Calgary Power Company asked to participate?

Topic:   ATOMIC ENERGY
Subtopic:   ANNOUNCEMENT OF PROPOSED CONSTRUCTION OF DEMONSTRATION POWER REACTOR
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LIB

Clarence Decatur Howe (Minister of Defence Production; Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Liberal

Mr. Howe (Pori Arthur):

I think the Calgary Power Company has been participating. The president of the Calgary Power Company is a member of the executive committee in charge of the study, and I believe that company has supplied manpower.

Topic:   ATOMIC ENERGY
Subtopic:   ANNOUNCEMENT OF PROPOSED CONSTRUCTION OF DEMONSTRATION POWER REACTOR
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PC

Andrew Ernest Robinson

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Robinson (Bruce):

What factors entered into the choice of the permanent location of the unit?

Topic:   ATOMIC ENERGY
Subtopic:   ANNOUNCEMENT OF PROPOSED CONSTRUCTION OF DEMONSTRATION POWER REACTOR
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LIB

Clarence Decatur Howe (Minister of Defence Production; Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Liberal

Mr. Howe (Pori Arthur):

I understand that the exact location has not been finally chosen. The decision will be made jointly by the Ontario Hydro-Electric Power Commission, which will operate the unit, and Atomic Energy of Canada. The decision will be based on the convenience of both.

Topic:   ATOMIC ENERGY
Subtopic:   ANNOUNCEMENT OF PROPOSED CONSTRUCTION OF DEMONSTRATION POWER REACTOR
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LIB

Daniel (Dan) McIvor

Liberal

Mr. Mclvor:

Has any other country anything like this, or is it the case of Canada again being first?

Topic:   ATOMIC ENERGY
Subtopic:   ANNOUNCEMENT OF PROPOSED CONSTRUCTION OF DEMONSTRATION POWER REACTOR
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LIB

Clarence Decatur Howe (Minister of Defence Production; Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Liberal

Mr. Howe (Pori Arthur):

The United States has undertaken several developments in this field, none of which is anywhere near completion, and the United Kingdom is also developing in the same field.

Topic:   ATOMIC ENERGY
Subtopic:   ANNOUNCEMENT OF PROPOSED CONSTRUCTION OF DEMONSTRATION POWER REACTOR
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March 24, 1955