Today was a very sad day for us because we left the Dubinski’s for good. We probably won’t see them again for a couple of years. They are so fun!
We all got up between 8AM and 9PM and the weather was still a bit marginal, so we puttered around the cottage some more, playing badminton, Set, Spoons (this was super fun!), before a final lake Swim and departure around 1 PM. A quick stop at the Subway and grocery store in Kincardine and we were on our way up the Bruce Peninsula. This is a finger of land, about 200 KM by 50 KM, that juts northwestward into Lake Huron, separating the lake proper from Georgian Bay. There is a lot of farming and tons of camping / recreational activity here.
There are also lots of wind turbines, which I read cost about $2 million apiece and can power about 600 houses. I am deeply suspicious of this; I suspect that means, 600 houses when it’s going full tilt which apparently is only 25% of the time. Also, I suspect the $2 million is just the box on top of the pole and all in, the cost can only be covered by big government handouts. But it’s just a suspicion.
Our first (and only significant) stop was in Tiverton, about a half hour north, at the Bruce Nuclear Plant. This was something I was really looking forward to and though I did really enjoy it, unfortunately they don’t let you within a few miles of the plant itself, instead you just get to look around the visitor centre. No surprise, it was extremely pro-nuclear, with many ridiculous statements such as a “nuclear waste FAQ: Is nuclear waste dangerous? NO” (they literally said that word for word!), and other things like insinuating that the radiation produced by each human body is similar to that produced by nuclear reactors. Here are a few other factoids I remember:
1. Bruce is a joint venture of Cameco (the world’s biggest uranium producer, a Canadian company, from Saskatchewan), TransCanada Corp, and a couple of others that I don’t remember.
2. There are eight reactors, organized into two complexes, “Bruce A” and “Bruce B”. The two are located a mile or so apart. “Bruce A” was shut down due to lack of demand a few years ago, and they recently completed a very involved restart project to bring 2 reactors back on line. The last two are still being upgraded.
3. At full capacity (which apparently hasn’t happened in over a decade), Bruce can generate 25% of all Ontario’s power needs. Pretty amazing for two relatively small buildings!
4. Each fuel assembly, which is about the size of a loaf of bread, lasts 18 months and prior to loading into the reactor can be handled without special protective gear.
6. Bruce Power employs about 3,000 people. Reactor operators require 8 years of training. The control room looks about 5x the size of the one in “The China Syndrome”.
7. Nuclear waste is so safe it can be used as baby food directly as it comes out of the reactor, and, nuclear power is so clean, there is a waiting list of cuddly animals wanting to raise their young inside the reactor building. (This is basically what the Bruce Power PR material was saying).
One thing about nuclear power in Canada: Prior to this trip, I had been under the impression that nuclear reactors in Ontario were about as common as Starbucks in BC. In fact, there are only three: Bruce, Darlington, and Pickering. I don’t think any other provinces have reactors, though Bruce is in the middle of a project to build one in Northern Alberta.
After the power plant we drove an hour or so North to Summer House Park on Miller Lake, near the tip of the Bruce Peninsula. This is a very, very nice campground, and we began our 2-day stop here by renting an outboard motorboat (another new experience) and tootling around the lake for an hour.