The sustainability of Bruce Power’s nuclear operations, located on the shores of Lake Huron, are closely tied to the lake’s hydrodynamic, thermodynamic and biochemical states. Acquiring the necessary field data to resolve these complex processes is extremely challenging given the size of the lake and inhospitable conditions for field instrumentation over the winter months. Bruce Power retained Golder to develop a methodology to determine its operational thermal effects on fish habitats in the vicinity of their site from background atmospheric heating influences. A comprehensive hydro-thermodynamic modelling platform was developed to assess the effects of thermal discharges on lake temperatures and currents - information used by biologists to assess potential impacts on habitat. The innovative approach combines transient weather and lake models to resolve the complex hydrometeorological interactions influencing lake processes. The platform, which provides several advantages over previous modelling exercises, enables Bruce Power to maintain site operations by providing the required information to meet regulatory requirements while educating interest groups about the thermal and hydrodynamic impacts associated with plant operations. Looking forward, this modelling platform opens a number of opportunities to look at climate-change forecasting, ecological modelling and a range of other applications. It also establishes a technical approach for other aquatic environments. In the context of climate change, the jury felt the project’s ability to manage thermal impacts is important to protecting our Great Lakes as a natural resource and ecosystem. They praised the applicability of this model to sectors other than nuclear.
Canadian Consulting Engineer article