Michael England discusses his history in power generation, Moltex’s operations, and nuclear’s broader role in the energy industry.
[00:00:00] Michael England: Nuclear is very important. It’s time to act.
For our leaders, our regulatory processes and timelines need to match the requirement. We’re trying to save the world. We’re channeling our entire lives, our families, to try to do this for us, for our people and our future, our children. The regulatory processes and timelines in Canada, the United States, Europe, anywhere, they need to reflect the urgency of putting steel in the ground to get this done.
[00:01:43] Mark Hinaman: Okay. Welcome to another episode of the Fire2Fission podcast. My name’s Mark Hinaman. I’m joined today by an awesome guest. He is, luckily the second guest that we have here from Moltex Energy as the Chief Operating Officer, Michael England. Michael, how you doing today?
[00:01:57] Michael England: I’m well, thank you. Thank you for having me.
[00:02:00] Mark Hinaman: Yeah, it was very excited to chat with you. Um, and we chatted with your CEO previously, and folks can listen to that, another episode. Um, so we’ll try and cover a, a few different things, but excited to, uh, get color from you and hear about, uh, Moltex and how things are going. Um, but before we dive into kind of Moltex in your role there, um, why don’t we start with you.
Where’d you get your start? Uh, where’d you go to school? Tell us about your background.
[00:02:24] Michael England: For sure. Um, so I am relatively new to nuclear, but, but not so much the, uh, infrastructure or the electricity sector. Um, I come from, I was born in Calgary. I was raised in Toronto and now I live in New Brunswick, so I’m going across the country.
I’m not sure where I’ve kind of run out of geography here, but, um, Uh, university in Toronto region, university of Toronto. Um, did an undergrad in political science, studied economics. There. I have really weird, interesting, uh, you know, transitioning as an undergrad where I went through, you know, sciences, trying to figure out what I want to be in life economics, and then decided to be a lawyer and then changed my mind the last minute.
You know, when you’re in your fourth year and you actually meet professors that really, actually truly care about you. They counseled me and they sort of said, Hey, what do you really wanna be? And I said, well, I want to do something that changes the world when it comes to the environment. And so I, you know, being a young, impressionable person had jumped on the, uh, the renewables bandwagon, so to speak.
Uh, this is your typical, uh, you know, solar and wind and battery. And so I tried my best to make my way into government to change policy and around there. And so I did a Master’s of public policy at, in, uh, I think it’s now Global Affairs as well at the University of Toronto. And I broke into the Ministry of Finance, uh, and then, uh, used my Ministry of Finance connections to finally get into the Ministry of Energy.
And while I was in the Ministry of Energy, I sort of held every position that you can. I started off in the economics department. I, uh, I sort of worked myself out of a job, which, um, is sort of my, um, Strategy is to automate your job and, uh, get yourself ready for the next one. And, um, made my way from the economics department all the way up to the top of the ministry and then back down to take over the division, um, as the Director of Energy Supply for Ontario.
Um, while I was there, uh, the deputy minister, who I call him my, my work dad, uh, surgeon Broo, very, very influential person in my life, um, put me in charge of a very important file, which was the renegotiation of the, uh, Bruce Power, uh, refurbishment agreement here, uh, in the, in Ontario. Bruce obviously is one of the larger nuclear facilities that operates in the world.
6,300 megawatts always on, um, always running very reliable source, very good community member. And Rene renegotiated that contract to refurbish the balance of the, the units that didn’t get done in the, the first go. So, Did that for a couple years, uh, represented Ontario or certainly in the Ministry of Energy and worked with the i o to get that done.
Also managed, um, the negotiation of the Ontario Power Generation lease with o g and Bruce Power. Sort of a controversial thing in Ontario. Um, as you can imagine, leasing those assets to Bruce Power, um, for OPG and, uh, got that done. Why, why is that? I guess so. Can we, can we double click on that a little bit?
Sure. Yeah. There’s, there’s some history there. Yeah.
[00:05:42] Mark Hinaman: I, I guess I feel ignorant about it. So Michael, let’s, let’s zoom in on that a little bit. What’s, what was the, uh, experience at OP G and why you, you mentioned leasing, uh, assets and that was kind of new. I, I’m unfamiliar with, uh, I guess being in the states, you know, and, and kind of how that dynamic works.
[00:05:59] Michael England: Sure. Uh, so in, in, uh, Ontario, um, there are several large stations.
They’re, they’re really giant relative to the, to the companion facilities around the world. The sites themselves and the Bruce site is the largest in Ontario with, you know, eight running units, 6,300 megawatts. And the site itself is, is enormous and it has a waste facility on it in its least from the province.
That’s, and the owner is on Terrell power generation to a private operator who’s doing a fantastic job operating and rebuilding those units. Bruce Power and my experience was, uh, with Bruce, beyond being up at the site and just really loving the stations quite a lot, and Bruce Power, um, was, uh, was negotiating or being part of the negotiation on behalf of the province to release the site to facilitate the rebuild of the reactors in the extended life.
Cuz they’re going way out into the, into the future. Right. So that needed to be re. Released. Gotcha. Released. Yes. Uh, and, um, and, uh, it was a, it was an interesting experience, uh, because, you know, it, lots of high stakes there. Um, the, the private operator needed to get their contract done in order to start their refurbishments, to secure their future as well as the region in, in Ontario’s, uh, future around, uh, cheap power, cheap safe power.
Uh, and, uh, and of course, um, OPG needed to make sure that their interests were protected as the owner of the facilities, uh, of the site. Uh, and, uh, and that’s, that’s, uh, that was a very, very interesting experience for sure.
[00:07:38] Mark Hinaman: Yeah. So let’s, let’s take a step back. The Ontario Public Service. I mean, I feel like you went through this piece very quickly.
Uh, you know, it was early career for you, but, um, I’d, I’d just like to highlight that. I mean, it’s pretty impressive, especially coming with kind of your background before, uh, getting an and how do you think, uh, your skill or your, uh, approach to work influenced that?
[00:08:03] Michael England: Um, I think the, the thing for me was, is finding a spot that actually you have passion for.
And I feel like I, I think this is the same for yourself. It’s, it’s, it’s definitely the same for most people that I’ve come across is if you actually like what you’re doing and you find purpose in that, then you, you drive that through your, your work experiences and you chase, you chase. You chase it harder.
There’s one other piece though, is that I’ve been, I was taught when I was doing my, my first masters, um, was, is that, uh, one of my professors, uh, Brad Graham, who, um, did the growth strategy for Ontario. So, you know, trying to curb urban sprawl. He sort of said to me, he said, you know, chase interesting things, but also work with interesting and supportive people.
And, you know, that’s exactly what I, I I was young and, and, and, um, under his wing, and that’s exactly what I did when I was at the public service is I, I chose my division. I chose my. The, the, the leaders that I wanted to mirror, and I, and I chased them and I chased the work. And I started off in, um, in the economics department there as just a contractor.
Um, and that’s pretty much how the government hires these days. It’s make or break, sink or swim. And, uh, you know, having a, a, a general and maybe even a, a, a refined understanding of economics, I was able to, to, uh, help the ministry, um, with, with its mandate. I was also able to, as I sort of described or alluded to, I was also able to, able to automate my role.
So I kind of eliminated myself and, and that, uh, was impressive to my managers. I have a computer programming background as well. Studied that, uh, in college before university and. Despite the fact that I never really went into the industry, uh, because I, I just didn’t find that to be my passion. Like I described earlier, energy always was I, um, I used my skills to, to automate that job.
And, uh, it was really impressive actually. I basically turned all of the briefing notes and the spreadsheets and things like that, that I needed to do into a computer program. It would just call from the internet, the data that was required, and, uh, publish the, the things that were necessarily on a daily basis.
And, and then they had to figure out what to do with me after that. Right. So that, that, that’s, um, they’re like, wait, we thought that’s what you’re supposed to be doing every hour. Yeah. I, I, I It’s still getting done, kind of. Yeah. I sort of outsourced myself to a, to a wild spreadsheet. Um, and, um, and from there I went into, um, you know, more senior roles I held, um, Uh, I guess the director of operations is what they call it now.
You could call it a chief of staff or the Deputy Minister’s Executive Assistant, which is a chief role. It’s a fantastic experience where you’re in command of the whole ministry. You’re basically the hand of the king or queen. And in that case, um, you get very close to some senior folks in the industry.
You’re in minister’s briefings, basically all of them. Um, you are that person in charge of the ministry on behalf of the king or the, the deputy minister. And you interface with the policy deciders, the ministries, uh, minister’s office and the minister himself or herself. Uh, and I had several ministers and, uh, and uh, just, uh, just the two deputies.
But after, you know, Sitting in that office, starting off as a policy advisor to the Deputy on economics and supply. I took over the office, uh, and managed the ministry through a couple of crises, um, which I choose to forget and, uh, survived. And, uh, I guess really the last big thing that it did from The’s office was beyond restructuring the ministry a few times, was, um, uh, was the, uh, the long-term energy plan for Ontario and just making sure that all of the supply options that I had learned were very important to the toolbox.
Were in the, were in the plant, including nuclear, uh, gas, gas, uh, to support the wind and solar, um, et cetera. So there was a lot that I did, um, in the deputy’s office and that transitioned into harder work down the line. Right? So that’s what happens, right? So you got, I got promoted. I was being headhunted by a few.
Usual suspects that sort of chased the Deputy minister’s director of operations. And, and the deputy said, no, you’re not doing that. You’re staying with the ministry. And, uh, and he put me in charge of the division that, um, that, uh, came from the, uh, electricity supply division. I was in charge. While I was there.
I was in charge of planning, um, again, long-term energy plan implementation. So getting the plan actually done. Um, I was in charge of hydrocarbons. So in Ontario, obviously we don’t produce quite a lot, but we move them, um, pipes, trains, et cetera. Did the, the, uh,
[00:13:03] Mark Hinaman: what, what is the mix in Ontario for folks? I, I thought Ontario was very, uh, uh, green and had a mostly emission free energy mix, but not notwithstanding transportation fuel.
[00:13:15] Michael England: Yeah, no pound for pound, the electricity grid, I, I don’t have it memorized anymore cuz it has transitioned. Um, not, not a lot, but it is over half nuclear. It will be over half nuclear for the foreseeable future. Um, that’s your base load. There’s also, uh, some rather, um, large hydroelectric facilities, uh, in the Niagara region way up north and just spread throughout Ontario.
Power generation owns a lot of run of the river, uh, you know, facilities as well. So your base. Pretty much made up of, of those, your peakers are your gas plants, um, as you would expect. Yep, yep. Um, they will probably run some base load here and there. I don’t, I don’t know if that actually, if that actually occurred, but we had forecasted that to be the case, um, when, um, certainly when Pickering came out.
But, uh, but while units are out for refurbishment, both Bruce and and OPG are going at the same time. So you’re having these giant 850 megawatt units coming off, which could power a city each, uh, and you have to fill it. Then you’ve got your, your, um, your solars and your winds layered on top, and, uh, you’ve got some cogens here and there, but principally,
[00:14:26] Mark Hinaman: okay. I just, I just pulled it up when, when you were chatting through it, I’ll, so I’ll just list kind of the top, well, there’s only six that they list, but it’s in 2021 it was 58% nuclear, 24 4%, hydro eight or almost 9% gas oil, uh, 8.4% wind, 1% solar, and 1% bio fuel.
[00:14:46] Michael England: So I’m glad I got that right. Um, this interview would’ve been over quiz quickly, right?
Um, yeah. Yeah. The workhorse is definitely the nuclear facilities in Ontario and has been for a generation. Yeah.
[00:14:59] Mark Hinaman: Yeah, yeah. Very cool. Now, so I love your background and kind of the approach of, uh, gonna work hard and figure out how to, uh, do all the, all the tasks that are assigned to me, but then also identify where you can, uh, improve them along the way.
I, I think that’s a great mindset. Um, and, and like you said, automate. Um, so how’d you transition then from, I guess, Ontario public service to PowerGen? Yeah. And I guess are they different? What’s the difference?
[00:15:26] Michael England: Uh, they’re, they’re definitely different. And I can go through that with you. It’s very, actually, I found it very fascinating.
Um, but the transition was very simple. The, I was being headhunted by the agencies. So the, the, um, the deputy minister’s, executive assistant, or whatever you want to actually call it, they call themselves several different things, as I mentioned earlier, is a very, uh, it’s a pinnacle role in the industry and you’re highly sought after.
Um, the deputy, as I mentioned, didn’t let me go and for right, for good reasons. He had invested in me and he needed me to help him with the, the renegotiation of the, of the Bruce power, uh, contract, uh, to, to support the, the ministry’s interests at the, at the negotiation table. And that was, that was a hard slog.
Um, and so the transition had already sort of started, as you can imagine when you’re in the room with Bruce Power every day for two and a half or whatever the amount of years it actually was. You become to really understand the economics of the facilities, the importance of the facilities, uh, the, the, the interests at stake, how important they are to the communities, let alone the electricity system.
Um, you, you really do start that transition. I fell in love with nuclear, uh, in the process because of just the sheer scale of, of electricity generation coming off those facilities, uh, at the price that they are relative to other sources and how reliable and safe they are relative to other sources. And just that most of the, um, most, I won’t say all because I think that’s an exaggeration, but certainly most of the wastes are not externalized, they’re captured in the price of the power.
Um, so for every electron that leaves the Bruce site, uh, some sensors are put in a bank account to make sure that the, the site can be first decommissioned and second, uh, the fuel and the waste streams can be addressed. And so the. The, the system’s fully, fully funded, so to speak. Um, now, so I mean, I fell in love with it.
Also, the scale when you’re in these stations, I don’t know what the, what it is about me and toys, but. Uh, just going into Darlington. Yeah, it was like the Starship Enterprise. Big buildings, big planes. Yeah. Yeah. The turbine is the size of a, it’s bigger than a school bus. So, I mean, just the, and, and the, the Darlington Station itself is, uh, it’s, it’s such a beautiful facility.
Uh, going in there, falling in love with it. It’s not like I didn’t love Niagara. I walked through the tunnel. Um, sure, I’ve seen the pump storage. I love the, the history it built. Ontario certainly is one of the more important assets in North America. Um, but the nuclear stations are just the height of human engineering.
And, and, you know, the sky’s the limit for the, for the SMRs that are coming down the pike. But again, the transition started there and when the deal was complete, I left a little bit earlier. Um, To join Ontario Power Generation, I, I made a decision to join on Ontario Power Generation because it was going first, it’s, it’s unit was coming down first unit two, it was going to be the first unit refurbished in Ontario.
And that’s what I wanted to do. And um, and that was in what, 20 20 15? Yep. In, in approximately that space. 20 20, 20 15. Uh, and, uh, I joined, uh, Ontario Power J Op g in their, in their finance department. And I, I was sort of put on the side, because you can’t leave government, this is one of those transition pieces.
You can’t leave government after doing a. Multi-billion dollar negotiation for Bruce Power and join a competitor, so to speak. I’d say Competi mate, to be honest with you. But sister companies really, uh, you, you join, you join Ontario Power Generation and you know, you have to, you have to insulate Bruce power and, and the province.
And so they put me on the side for a year and I, what I did in that year was I, I did an mba, I did, um, I did some, um, some, some things for the finance department at OPG, including, you know, manage, putting together its corporate strategy, the company’s corporate strategy, which was a giant undertaking across the entire company.
Um, did some, some, some planning for the company and then, um, You know, at the time, the CEO O Jeff Leash, he, he, he called me into his office one day. I remember it was, it’s very interesting to get a call from your CEO when you’re so many levels down. And he said, what, what do you want to do? Um, and I said, well, I wanna work at the refurbishment project at, at Darlington.
That’s, that’s, Why I joined Ontario Power Generation. And it really truly was, um, cuz I wanted to transition from the commercial side, the negotiation piece, to actually being on the site and swinging hammers. If I had to, you know, mopping floors or whatever it was that OPG needed me to get that unit refurbished because I had seen the immense value and and importance to our electricity system in, in our economy.
Um, and I just wanted to be part of that project. And he said, okay, pack your bags, be careful what you wish for. And he gave me a one piece of very important advice that I’ve kept with me and I, I hope that he can hear this cuz it, it really did stand out to me. He said, Michael, you don’t have the experience for this and when you go there, don’t get high on a good day.
And don’t get low on, on a bad day, they’re gonna. Just be straight through, just don’t oscillate. Um, sure celebrate a, a win, but recognize that a win on a schedule is pulling forward. Work you may not be ready for. And when he said that, I was like, Hmm. Interesting. Yep. And then I lived it. And, uh, once I joined there, we were ahead of our dewatering program, which pulled forward critical path work, which really was a.
So, so, hi his experience and his advice really hit me and, um, maybe the first day. So it was, it was a great experience. Um,
[00:21:29] Mark Hinaman: I empathize strongly with that. Meaning coming from operations, it’s, yeah, it’s so true. There, there are days where you’re like, okay, everything went right, no one occurring schedule, and then I can feel good about that.
And this job’s easy. And then there’s days that it’s just a, a total disaster and you’re like, we’re gonna miss our targets. We’re gonna miss our schedule over, over budget. How, how is this happening?
[00:21:47] Michael England: That’s projects for you, right? Yeah. That’s how they go. And that’s why he, I think that’s why he gave me that advice, cuz again, I didn’t have the experience.
I mean, I, I mean, everybody’s got ups and downs, right? But when you become so committed to something that it almost is who you are, you really need to step back and not go up and down with the day of the schedule. Right. So, yeah. And it, it was such an interesting experience at unit two. I I that from, from the other things that I’ve done in my life.
That was very interesting relative to the, to the, uh, to the other jobs. It was right. I was in the vault. I was, yeah, I was, I became an, I became trained like I was an, a nuclear professional. Um, there was no bones about it. I was, I was in the fire. It was fantastic.
[00:22:34] Mark Hinaman: Well, coming in, especially somebody coming in with less experience, uh, you can leverage that to your advantage, right?
Remain humble and, and just ask questions then, and ask, ask to learn about it, right? Mm-hmm. Um, it can be challenging sometimes when, uh, if you’re put in a position that you’re supposed to be a decision maker, um, and you don’t have all the information and feel like you, you can’t get all the information.
But, um, yeah, I, I think there’s often no better way to learn than do and go and go and,
[00:23:03] Michael England: I agree with you. It was a fantastic experience.
[00:23:05] Mark Hinaman: The refurbishment Was it, I guess while, while doing a little bit of research for this interview, I, I might have been confused. They, they were refurbishing, uh, the reactor, but what, what was the useful life?
Was there consideration of shutting this down or shutting some of these down instead of refurbishing? Give, give us a little bit of background on that.
[00:23:21] Michael England: Sure. Um, so this takes me back to the, the time in which I was at the ministry, right? So the system planning is what sort of, which sort of dictates these decisions.
That’s right. Beyond, beyond, you know, are they physically, technically capable to be refurbished? Um, and so. Uh, you know, Ontario Power Generation and Bruce Power submitted cost profiles for, for getting these things done. And, and what we did is we just compared those costs, uh, at, uh, you know, the, the, the, the, the, the planning is very sophisticated for both these companies.
Um, and so they give you a range of what these costs come in. And I, I think that you know exactly what I’m talking about. You know, you can have various price
[00:24:02] Mark Hinaman: between zero and all the money, $0 and all the money you have.
[00:24:06] Michael England: Yeah. And government, you’re taking all the risk force. Right? Right. So, you know, jokes aside, uh, you know, no.
Bruce and OPG were very sophisticated planners, surprisingly to my own. You know, eyeballs, uh, op G and Bruce Power came in very close. They, they exploited the, the most sophisticated ways to plan. Um, in particular, I think Op G spent quite a lot of money getting ready for unit two and it paid off. And more importantly, the investment that they made in unit two’s planning and also just recording data as they walk through it has made their subsequent units massively de-risked.
So, um, but yeah, back. Back to your question, the province reviewed various options. Remember what I said earlier, and I think that you can probably relate to this very well, just the amount of base load energy flying off those stations, uh, for the price and the reliability. And just also something that, um, is now becoming more and more important in our current context with the Ukraine, Russias situation, security of supply.
Now obviously Canada’s not Europe on the east there with Russia, but there is something to be said with having controlling command of your own space, your own, uh, resources. And, and that’s an important piece cause the alternatives to nuclear Ontario are arguably importation of electricity from other jurisdictions.
And, and that, that that can work in a place like Canada, in Ontario, um, as long as it does work. Um, but, uh, but obviously Ontario wanted to have control of its, uh, of its, uh, of its electricity supply. Sure. Yeah. Okay. And so they made the decision to refurbish.
[00:25:50] Mark Hinaman: Gotcha. Mm-hmm. Okay. So you’re in, you’re in the trenches, you’re watching this plant get refurbished.
How, how long did it take, and then what was kind of the next step after that?
[00:25:58] Michael England: Years. Years. Yeah, so I joined the project, um, as a commercial guy. And, um, strategy sort of been my, my way of being deployed, uh, in strategic roles that, uh, you know, building plans, um, commercial negotiation.
And, uh, and I joined that way. And so we had these very complex relationships with our vendors, and there are several vendors working on a station of that size, including, uh, you know, one vendor that’s working on the turbine, one vendor that’s working on, on the balance of plant one vendor that’s working on the, uh, on the guts of the reactor.
We called it the, the Rfr project, re two project Now. Even within those vendors, there are sub vendors and subcontractors. And so what I did when I first started was I looked at, um, you know, the performance of our contracts and what do we need to do for the subsequent units to improve them. And I worked with a couple of colleagues there to get that done.
And, um, we brought in some alternative options. Should things not go well. Every company needs to think strategically, including large utilities. Obviously they’re in, in the midst of a, you, me, you mentioned a battleground or a war zone. It, it really was the fire, right? So, you know, each day is millions of dollars, unit outta service.
That’s the way utilities think. Get this thing back up. Uh, don’t let a day slip because it’s a day that the people of Ontario paying for, for the slippage. And so, uh, fighting for it, looking for ways to improve the contracts, uh, and bringing in alternatives should, should we need to execute those. Um, and then I moved into, Quality role.
So this was a big step. They sent me to some training, uh, where I learned, I learned a little bit more about the industry and myself. And, uh, I was promoted to take on a, a larger portfolio. And, um, and, uh, yeah, so I took over a quality role looking at all of what we call station condition records and non-conformance reports or records.
Uh, and, you know, this is a very important part of the nuclear industry. Is it, is all, all electricity or just, frankly just generally any business. I mean, I can’t think of a business that shouldn’t record its events. But, um, yeah. So we would record all of our events and then what we would do is disposition those events and the ones that really impacted our, our day, we would investigate and put.
Put some, put some tools in place, or put some changes in place to make sure that we didn’t experience that again, and then record it for the next unit. And so that’s what we did, and that’s what I did. I, uh, I chaired what was called the Corrective Action Review Board. It’s a senior level board where we look at all of the nonconformance, all of the quality issues, disposition those with experts, and then move forward.
Um, we, we hit all of the four major pillars of a project. Cost, safety, uh, schedule, and quality. Uh, primarily focusing anything related to safety, as you can imagine, uh, quality was a big piece there. Um, and so that’s what I did. Um, I also was in charge of, uh, a big project. So this is the, the beauty of working in a giant capital project is that sometimes things pop up and they just need to find folks to do ’em and lead.
I paired with a gentleman named Boris Lanich, who was the director of ops and maintenance for the project. Uh, sort of a very senior role, certainly relative to mine. He’s right in the field there with the trades. And, um, and, uh, what we were Chas with doing was finding a hundred million, uh, in, in the current project spend and in finding it without damaging the organization.
So we did that, got my car key a couple times, and, uh, did, did the, uh, did the hard work to find that for the company and then, uh, re-baseline the project. So, um, those are the, those are the major things that I’m very proud of. Um, in, in, uh, in unit two. It, besides the fact that it came on time, on budget without any sort of safety issues that are very important to, to not have, uh, I think we’re millions and millions of hours worked without a, a lost time.
So, very proud of that project. Yeah. S super cool. That’s the super cool.
[00:30:19] Mark Hinaman: Yeah, it sounds, sounds, sounds like, it sounds like a bunch of hard work, but, uh, you, I’m, you’re, you’re no stranger to that.
[00:30:28] Michael England: I, I feel like a little piece of me is in unit two somewhere. Um, and so I’m very proud of unit two. Yes. That’s great.
[00:30:36] Mark Hinaman: Um, so then you, you transitioned to a decommissioning strategy role?
[00:30:40] Michael England: Yes. Yes. PG and, and I’m not particularly. You know, um, super excited about decommissioning itself other than it’s part of the life cycle and it needs to get done. And it’s, it’s actually, it’s actually really interesting when you get into it.
I mean, these stations prioritize operations. Uh, as you can imagine, this is not an OPG only thing. It’s a everywhere everything thing. And so as you prioritize options, you build up a little bit of liability on the side for when these things close. And so, yep. The company, Ontario Power o g, is pretty fantastic.
So what they do is they’ve, they’ve got enough, they’ve got enough foresight. Um, I like to say that I helped a little bit, but they’ve got enough foresight to understand that this is a giant facility Pickering, um, it’s coming up on, its, its end of life as it was currently envisioned with the C N A C. Its, its safety case was coming up and the company made a decision to, to close it.
To, to mothball it right. To, to put it in what we call safe state and safe storage for future decommissioning and a deferred basis several decades later. Right. That’s a very standard strategy. Sure. The company said, well, if, if it’s not economic to refurbish it, let’s figure out what we can do to, uh, exploit the site.
What can we do to benefit on Terrans with this site? Could we decommission this, this site earlier? Could we build other facilities on it? What’s it gonna take? What’s it look like? What are the risks? Tell us what this is gonna cost. And that’s what I did for a couple of years there.
[00:32:18] Mark Hinaman: Gotcha. Yeah, there was a big advocacy effort.
What there to I guess, safe Pickering and, uh, not have a BT commission?
[00:32:26] Michael England: Yes, yes. Including me. Uh, I, I, I have to tell you, I have to be honest with you, I just, I, since I’ve worked at the ministry, This is kind of how having a broad background helps you in your thinking anyway. Maybe not, maybe not in your execution, but the, the thinking to me was let’s study the economics on this facility.
We’ve just redone Darlington’s units. We’re doing Bruce’s units. You cannot tell me that we can’t figure out a more economic way to retu or rebuild some of the Pickering and have this station running longer. Uh, and, and, and, and all of the benefits of doing so. Um, as long as it’s safe and economic, I think you should do it.
Particularly because the steel’s already in the ground. Yeah. It’s transmission connected. That is such an unbelievably valuable asset to have a transmi transmission connected site already built. Yeah. Make use of this thing. Um, Right. If you wanna put a different supply option there. Okay. As long as it’s economic and safe.
But if the current facility can be extended safely and economically, that station has never performed as well as it is right now. Never. It is on, it is doing very well and they should investigate and they have actually just recently announced that they will investigate the economics of refurbishing it.
I don’t know when that will be announced, but I, I do know the person that’s got the stressful job of doing that, so we’ll see. But I feel like, uh, if there’s an opportunity to keep that steel running, uh, keep the, keep that, uh, transmission line live, they should, they should exploit that as long as it’s safe in in economic.
[00:34:03] Mark Hinaman: Gotcha. So let’s transition finally. I mean, it’s a long, long and extensive background, um, but still in a relatively short amount of time. I mean, you’ve, you’ve been, uh, in, in the industry for, what, not just over 10 years or since about 2011, right?
[00:34:17] Michael England: Mm-hmm. So, mm-hmm.
[00:34:18] Mark Hinaman: I guess that’s 12 years. So, um, transitioning to Moltex, what, what was that process?
Um, did, did you seek them out? Were they looking for somebody that, uh, with your skillset?
[00:34:29] Michael England: Yeah, they had hunt. Um, okay. They, they approached me. I didn’t approach them. I was, uh, happy in o g Yeah. You probably can tell just by, by my, the way I talk about OPG and, and Bruce power that I, that I, I love them.
Yeah. And I do, I, I, I, it’s not, it’s because of what they do in their purpose. Right. I really do respect those institutions and the opportunities they gave me to grow as a person, but also just being part of those generational pieces. And so I wasn’t looking, um, but I’ll tell you something. So o uh, you know, not opportunity knocks.
So the s m R file is unique. For the first time since I’ve been alive and actually just monitoring the sector, the ISO and Ontario released a report, said they need 18 gigs of new nuclear. Uh, there’s a lot of supply options in there as well. Hydrogen, there’s gonna be obviously some gas, wind, and solar.
There’s a whole, there’s a whole spectrum of resources that are required for Ontario, which is the big market right outside of Quebec because Quebec is a hydro, um, that needs to get built in order to electrify the, the, the economy to get off, get off, uh, hydrocarbons in our fuel sources, right? It’s a big deal.
Um, and the SM rs are gonna be part of that. And, you know, doing system planning, I always knew that I wasn’t naive to it. I knew the policy and the politics would catch up. The reality is, is that we are in as a species, not New Brunswick, not Ontario, not even Canada. Canada’s kind of a rounding era in the world.
We are in a fight right now to save our species. I mean, arguably you may or may not agree with me. I believe that climate change is very much on our doorstep if it’s not already here. And we just gotta get on with the balanced toolbox here. We just gotta build these things and we gotta build them rapidly.
Um, you know, cuz the oceans are off gassing, the polar ice kelps are melting and I’ve got kids and I don’t have time to wait for this. I gotta make sure these kids can, you know, buy, buy apples at the grocery store in the future. Right. We’re getting real, is what I’m saying. Sure. And, and you have to, you have to sort of recognize at least something’s going on here.
And, and part of the solution in my mind is, is building, building our economies to, to address the situation, doing things smarter and better. And SMRs are that. And so Moltex contacted me and you know, I’m not gonna suggest that I immediately jumped on, I did my research. Sure. There are several SMR companies and vendors that you can jump into.
The industry requires folks from my experience to cross the spectrum. Particularly engineers and scientists and planners, but, and project managers, but. Hey, Moltex is trying to do something a little different than most of them. We’re not just trying to build an smr, we’re trying to change the entire industry, which to me is very attractive, right?
You go back to my history here, what I’m doing, trying to rebuild unit two, right? Whether it’s commercial or it’s physically swing and steel, whatever, uh, to do basically anything, um, to, to get these things up and running. And then I’m, I’m at, at Pickering, uh, fighting for, you know, the, the, the legacy of the industry and, and, um, potentially even just, uh, re, re rebuilding Pickering for the future and what are we gonna do with that facility and that site and just the broader fleet to, to now looking at.
I’m doing air quotes. You can’t see me cuz because of the lag in the call. But, uh, sure. What, what I would argue is the Achilles seal of the industry, which is the, which is the waste piece, right? So remember earlier I mentioned that these things are fully funded. That is true. Um, you know, segregated funds are put on the side meant to, to decommission, into, to address the fuel.
Um, you know, these, these, these funds are meant to grow. And then, then the, the, the fuel has a storage solution, right? But Moltex is trying to come at it in a different angle. It’s trying to look at the fuel, the energy potential that remains in those pellets can do pellets. And exploit that. And we should do that as not just as a country, as a species.
Why would we ever not spend whatever million dollars or ex X, y, Z to get that, that research done, whether it’s Moltex or some matter competitor. This is a, this is a legacy issue. This is, this is a, a very important way of securing our future is to use what we have. Don’t do any new mining, use what we have, uh, recycle what we have and, and make use of that for clean, for clean supply in this fight that, that is timed.
We don’t have much time here. Yeah. And so when Moltex came and knocking and they were referencing recycling a fuel, I jumped on, I mean, I jumped on emotionally. The passion is there. Uh, it was a very easy transition for me just because, just because of exactly what the vision is here. The vision is not just build another smr, the vision is build an SMR that eats the fuel.
I mean, that’s, yeah.
[00:39:51] Mark Hinaman: If you’re coming from a fuel that’s already been, uh, used in other reactors. Right. We, we covered a little bit in our discussion with Rory, but quickly, you, you guys have the stable salt react waste burner and the waste of stable salt technology that you guys are developing, right?
[00:40:03] Michael England: That’s right. Yes. And, uh, yeah, which is awesome. They’re very exciting. They’re very exciting. It doesn’t, it’s, it’s not hard to talk folks into, uh, into getting excited about the opportunities. Um, you, you do have a, there, there are some risks here, obviously, right? Um, I think they’re fairly straightforward. Y you do have a proliferation risk or a policy risk around folks misunderstanding the technology very carefully.
We have designed the designs to not produce, uh, concentrations of plutonium that could be used for any sort of weapons. You’d have to build an entirely new billion dollar facility beside ours to do it. Our process does not lead to that, and it’s very consciously designed.
[00:40:43] Mark Hinaman: I think it needs to be highlighted when in this discussion.
That’s been a huge part of the narrative for, and justification for why, uh, we’ll say North America, but other parts of the world don’t recycle. It’s because while people are afraid that if you’re separating isotopes, you’re gonna be able to grab enough material and go and build a bomb with it, but, We’re, we’re scientist engineers and understand how to innovate on these processes so that, that’s difficult if not impossible to do.
So. I think what you guys are doing and just what, just what you said was, well, no, you’d have to build a whole nother facility to try and steal it and proliferate the, the material to be at weapons risk. Um, and, and what we’re doing is actually safer because we’re taking it away and creating it into a fuel. So
[00:41:27] Michael England: Exactly.
[00:41:28] Mark Hinaman: I think it’s the opposite, meaning it’s, it’s one of the safer things to do to prevent proliferation.
[00:41:33] Michael England: Right. It’s, it’s, it’s really, we’re we, we’d like to say that we’re on the side of the angels. We’re not, we’re not, we’re not trying to do anything that, uh, that, that would lead to, to any bad outcomes in that, in that, in that sense, I think, I think, um, it’s easy for the anti-nuclear community to, um, to jump on that one, I think it’s sufficiently confusing when you start talking about actinides and higher level actinides and concentrations chemistry.
[00:42:00] Mark Hinaman: No one understands, cause a lot of it’s confidential. Right. And or common. Yeah. Um, and, and should be, right. So,
[00:42:07] Michael England: I mean, not everybody has a chemistry PhD, right. But, uh, we’re op, so, uh, op G, new Brunswick Power, um, our supporters s and c we’re trying to be Moltex itself, trying to be completely transparent about what’s going on, working with the federal government, international agencies to make sure that the safeguards and, and the process is well understood and supported.
Federal government is well aware of what we’re up to, and they do understand the distinction they have, the ex scientists understand it. So, um, yeah, Mott Texas’s vision is very much just side angels. It’s trying to get in there and use the, the energy that’s in those pellets that we already have and do it economically and safely.
[00:42:49] Mark Hinaman: Right, right. Makes sense. Okay, so you’re leading day-to-day operations of Moltex. Now, um, te tell us a little bit about the organization. How’s, how’s it structure? I imagine you guys are trying to grow the team. Um, give us, give us some perspective.
[00:43:05] Michael England: Absolutely. So, yes, so I am in charge of the operations, which includes the engineering department, the projects, uh, that, uh, work with the engineering department and the r and d department that work with the projects.
We have pri primarily three major projects underway right now that are funded and planned out in, um, a routine P six schedule that everybody uses. Uh, that’s the reactor development program, the parallel or companion Watts facility that you mentioned earlier that does the actual recycling. And then the, the implementation of a management system in VDR two, which is a, an optional licensing steps under design review step with the regulator to get, uh, to further get, uh, confidence in your applicability to the market that you’re working within.
And so those are the, those are the major projects that we have internally. Um, You know, we’re also looking at, as you mentioned earlier, figuring out how to stand up the organization. And we have several experts that we brought in to support the team. Um, look something like this, uh, there’s myself, there’s a chief scientist.
His name’s Ian Scott, he’s out of the United Kingdom. He’s a brilliant. Chemist supporting both the reactor and the, uh, the Watts facility. Uh, I’m just a very, very smart, brilliant man. There’s Rory as you’ve met him. Uh, he’s my boss. There’s myself at the C-Suite and then there’s our cfo helps us with the economics and, you know, cash flow and, and, and how the businesses run from that perspective, uh, from the enterprise perspective.
And then you’ve got your VPs of communication, uh, business development. I brought in Nav Batty, former chief, uh, uh, nuclear engineer of S N C to be chief nuclear engineer of Moltex. Uh, so that’s a big ad for us. He’s a brilliant man with lots of experience doing the things that we’re doing, uh, to support us.
He reports to. Um, again, project directors, classical sense matrix model company is working that way, sharing engineering and, and, and chemistry and, and r and d resources amongst the team, uh, based on priorities. Um, and so that’s what the organization looks like. We have. Very important partners that I didn’t mention.
Iham, who’s been with us since pretty much the beginning and is an owner, uh, span Spanish firm, uh, with, uh, nuclear QA in, in Europe and working in Canada as well. Supporting the team with several engineers and, and back office support. Just a giant firm that’s very helpful. Um, and then of course there’s s and c, which is the, which is the pinnacle engineering firm for new designs in, in, in nuclear designs and or even past nuclear designs with their ip.
Um, and just a way of doing things, uh, in Canada. Uh, and so we have a strategic relationship with them and including having several of their high profile staff deployed right to our project. So, um, as I mentioned, we had classical project directors in S N C. Full-time employee seconded to us is in charge of, uh, one of our Pinnacle projects and rolling out the management system.
We also have another s c employee that’s working on that for us. So they’re part of our team. We take the one team approach that I learned from unit two and from Ontario Power Generation and Bruce Power. Yep. Um, and we’re all wearing Motech shirts, high fiving, drinking from btex coffee mugs. Uh, we’re just all on the same team, so love it.
Um, that’s how the company is structured. That’s, I’ve seen,
[00:46:41] Mark Hinaman: I’ve seen that structure to be very effective. Where you may have, yeah, small number of employees, but a large number of, uh, people touching the project and yeah, having the perspective that everyone’s working, uh, together is very, very, very helpful. So
[00:46:53] Michael England: yes,
[00:46:54] Mark Hinaman: totally support that. What, so what are some of your guys’ key objectives in the next call? 1, 2, 5.
[00:47:01] Michael England: Okay, so this, this is a very complex question. Um, I could go on for, for a long time. Let me just try to make it, maybe we have a, for you, maybe we have a whole other podcast. There’s so many, there’s so many, there’s so many objectives, right.
Um, so 1, 2, 5 years. So, you know, our, our, our major, our major r and d program for the Watts, uh, facility is, is what we’re, we’re really focused on, uh, partnerships with, with labs, um, including Chalk River, uh, our, our companion company outta the United Kingdom, the Flex Reactor from Moltex, flex Reactor, working at the chem, the chemistry department there, um, as well as other places around, um, to try to progress the design of that facility.
And I think it’s going quite. But that is, that is the key. Uh, I mean, speaking selfishly from the project’s perspective, that is the key. The key thing that our objective that we’re working on is to, to drive the t r l up on that, um, you know, getting ready for the V D R two process. Uh, as I mentioned earlier, this is a voluntary but uh, vol, vallan required, uh, step for us and we’re preparing for that.
[00:48:15] Mark Hinaman: Yeah, so V vdr voluntary design review, and that’s what the Canadian nuclear safety. Uh, Right?
[00:48:22] Michael England: You bet, you bet. So, so this process, you, it’s a pay for, uh, to play and you need to make sure that you’re ready to enter it cuz you don’t wanna waste either yourself’s ti yourself, uh, anytime or your, or the regulator anytime.
Yep. And so you gotta get ready for that. And really it’s, um, parent-child. It’s a child of the preliminary, I’m doing air quotes again, the desi, the second stage in the, in the classical approach to, to, to building out your design of anything from, from a car to a spaceship to a nuclear reactor. The preliminary engineering phase and, and the deliverables for VDR two sort of drop out of that phase.
Um, So that’s, that’s something that we’re taking very serious and planning for. We want to get that right the first time or as close to right as possible and be ready to be agile, to, to transition, to, to, to get it right if, if we found ourselves wrong, um, which is an important point. We need to basically, um, put in place some learn as you go systems and we are putting those in place.
Um, uh, recruitment, um, this is a dog fight. I don’t know how else to put this to you. It, uh, the industry short supply now.
You bet. Yeah, you bet. So, I don’t know if you’ve got a resume ready, but I’ll look at it. Um, we are, we are in a dog fight, um, for talent. There’s a lot of SMR vendors. We like to think our vision is a little bit different.
Remember I sort of said that at the beginning. I think that that’s very important distinction from Motech is it’s not just trying to build an smr. Trying to change the market and the platform to change the market. If you get that Watts science done and, and, and uh, in the bag is enormous, uh, the process is completely transitionable to lightwater reactors.
And if you think about that, that’s a broad, uh, market with lots of fuel sitting safely on sites across the United States and, and, and in Europe. So, uh, it’s an applicable, uh,
[00:50:19] Mark Hinaman: many could take fuel or spent nuclear fuel from those sites and use them, reprocess the fuel and use it as fuel in your SMR.
[00:50:26] Michael England: Absolutely. Absolutely. The, the, the concentration of plutonium
[00:50:29] Mark Hinaman: Just wanna be clear about that in case anyone hadn’t, hadn’t done the research on you guys like we have, so Yeah.
[00:50:35] Michael England: Yeah. The, the, the concentration of plutonium in the can-do belt, uh, pellets are, are, are more challenging than, than, than in the, uh, the lightwater reactor fuel stocks for sure.
So the process is applicable, uh, and, and, um, scalable, uh, to that, to that market. Um, so supply chain getting ready to bring on, um, Hundreds of engineers, right? Going from 30 or 50 employees to hundreds of engineers and just making sure that the plans are realistic for investors and ourselves, you know, indigenous engagement, making sure that we have partners and that they’re meaningful partners, and that those partners are, um, truly partners and being rewarded with the, uh, the benefits of the projects.
Uh, Moltex takes that exceptionally, um, you know, important. It’s extremely important to us and, and, you know, our partners as well. New Brunswick Power, um, Ontario Power Generation, Bruce Power, the nuclear industry is, is the way I would describe that. S and c, all, all of the companies that are involved take, take Indigenous engagement very seriously.
And, um, and, and Moldex is, is definitely, definitely prioritizing that. Our CEO and, um, vice president of, uh, of communications and stakeholders and partners management, uh, Aaron Polka, take that very serious and are working very hard to, uh, to make meaningful partnerships.
Key partnerships outside of First Nations and indigenous engagement, um, government, industry, academia. We’re not doing this. None of the SMR companies are doing this without establishing some risk sharing with government. Yeah, it’s a, it’s a nuclear project.
Uh, on, on, um, on folks. And, uh, there is quite a lot of interaction with government that’s required. And, um, there’s quite a lot of partnership with government that is required, I believe, uh, in order to progress these and help investors come on board industry, we, we re we we need to rebuild our supply chain to execute these.
Um, if you look at Ontario Power Generation’s plan, uh, well just Ontario more generally, uh, you know, Bruce Power, OPG at the same time refurbishing units, they’re gobbling up all of the good employees as you can imagine. Um, you know, industry needs to get ready to execute these things and it, that, that effectively means they need to grow as well as prepare to manufacture the, the, the components for, for our designs, right?
So, right. And so,
[00:53:17] Mark Hinaman: yeah, that is an important point said, supply chain, right? It’s, it’s not just the fuel, it’s not, it’s, it’s all of the components. It’s the piping, it’s the pumps, it’s uh, the, the things that you don’t think of that are not necessarily buy off the shelf. Yeah.
[00:53:31] Michael England: All of this stuff needs to be nuclear.
You want the build scale. Yeah. And, um, and hopefully source locally to the, to the extent that it’s possible. And then regionally and then globally, I think, you know, local, regional, global, go that way. Um, and so if you think about that, that’s a lot of communication with a lot of different countries to build something as interesting as a Moltex SMR or molten salt reactor.
And. And for our, for our, our, our, our sister company here in New Brunswick Arc, same thing, uh, for Op G’s, GE Aachi, same thing. The, it’s gonna take a lot of change in industry to get these things done. Academia is very important. We mentioned about, you know, the supply versus the demand. And, and that really means that we need to start putting more children, uh, through these programs or channeling them through these pro programs.
I don’t wanna sound draconian or Orwellian, but you def you definitely wanna, you definitely wanna make sure that, that the science and maths also the, the traits, the, the building folks like these jobs need to be prioritized for our country. Um, and our economy, because it’s not just nuclear that needs to get rebuilt.
Uh, Canada has an infrastructure deficit and so we’re gonna be importing quite a lot of talent. And what we should be doing is trying to, uh, exploit our, our academic institutions, uh, the best that we can or support them to get ready for this, uh, this large scale buildout of, uh, of Canada. Um, and so academia is gonna be essential partnerships, labs, post doctorates, doctorates, masters, uh, trades, um, It’s very important that we get ready for this.
I think that the utilities in Ontario have done a good job recognizing that. When I was at unit two, that’s one of the things I worked on, was the, the shortfall in supply versus demand. And I can tell you trades is huge. Boiler makers, craftsmen, all of these trades are in short supply based on the demand, and they’re pulling them from all over.
Um, and, you know, the highest price wins, so to speak. Um, so there’s, there’s inflation in those rates if you don’t have enough supply. As you can imagine, the demand, it, it’s driving supply, uh, costs, um, Nuclear engineers, chemists, uh, you know, commercial managers, project managers, uh, physicists. This is a engineers, scientists, and project managers.
This is a major requirement to build all of these facilities, even if we just build one or two of them, let alone 18 gigs in Ontario. And, and what, what New Brunswick is, is, is looking to build that is, is there’s also Saskatchewan that is a large amount of project managers required. You’re, you really just need those, those, those expertise to get that done.
Uh, Moltex also requires funding. Which is very important. Um, right. So establishing, uh, bigger and better commercial relations, uh, with, uh, folks that understand the risk and, and are looking for that reward and that support us, um, you know, both in our technology development as well as our expansion into different markets.
So funding’s very important. So that’s the 1, 2, 5 years, hopefully some of that stuff that you could relate to. I think most of it’s fairly commonplace and, uh, very important for.
[00:57:09] Mark Hinaman: That’s, that’s fantastic. So, Michael, we’re coming up on our time. I wanna be respectful of your time. So, um, we’ve got just a couple more questions for you.
You, me- you mentioned, um, needing more commercial opportunities and, you know, I imagine you guys wanna build these things everywhere. You know, you’re starting in Ontario and Ontario needs 18 gigs and, uh, of new nuclear and that, you know, that’d be, uh, plenty to keep you guys busy for a decent amount of time.
But if somebody else, if there were other communities that wanted to bring your technology to, uh, their area, what, what advice would you have for community leaders and, um, on your guys’ technology versus someone else or versus we’ll say, you know, coal or other power generation options?
[00:57:55] Michael England: I’d like to say that, um, in order for us to be serious about addressing climate change and whether or not you believe in climate change or not. The transition from a hydrocarbon economy to, uh, electrified economy, it’s gonna take a lot of different things that are put in place. And one of them is, is obviously, and it’s objectively, uh, nuclear, um, you know, it’s, it’s an important tool in the toolbox.
Um, the industry needs to just get on with that. Um, at this point, we don’t have the time to wait for fusion. We don’t have the time to pretend that we’re gonna build batteries across the entire landscape. Batteries are important. Wind is important. Solar’s very important.
Nuclear is very important. It’s time to act.
For our leaders, our regulatory processes and timelines need to match the requirement. We’re trying to save the world. We’re channeling our entire lives, our families, to try to do this for us, for our people and our future, our children. The regulatory processes and timelines in Canada, the United States, uh, Europe, anywhere they need to reflect the urgency of putting steel in the ground to get this done.
We cannot wait 10, 15 or whatever the amount of time is, seven years to build these things. Investors don’t wanna wait that long for risk to disappear. The processes need to exist. The environment which we’re trying to save with these designs is exceptionally important. That’s why we are here.
That’s why I work at Moltex. We’re recycling. Right. We are the waste burner. Yep. But they can be streamlined and not the interactions with the public. In the administrative elements. If we’re serious about this, which I think we are, then we need to be serious about making sure the regulatory processes support the actual projects that are getting done, and definitely weeds out the unsafe from the safe or the economic from the uneconomic.
I agree with that. I, I’m just saying that they need to be streamlined or else we’re gonna, we’re gonna be in a bit of a situation. Um, and, and they need to prioritize the important elements of it, right? Community engagement, making sure that the designs are safe and, and environmentally sound for the communities that they’re being positioned to, to be built.
This is very important to us. It’s very important to myself. Uh, it’s important to the broader industry. It doesn’t matter if you’re in oil and gas or if you’re in solar or wind or whatever it is. The processes just need to be a little bit more streamlined. Um, I think generally speaking. Making sure that the, uh, leaders are clear on what it is that I’m speaking selfishly now, what it is that Moldex is actually trying to build.
And just taking some, some just be just being courageous and saying, no, there is no proliferation risk here. This is not confusing. The science is fairly straightforward. Uh, the designs that we’re progressing are not meant to be a proliferation risk. As a matter of fact, they’re design specifically not to be.
And, uh, just taking a stance on that, a policy position on that would be very helpful. Um, and then just being courageous and, and just fighting for, uh, for these projects to get built in the time in which we have, um, outside of this, the environmental, regulatory processes. I mean, investing, de-risking for private investors, partnerships, um, these are very important things for us to be successful.
It does, it doesn’t matter if it’s. Moltex or, or a different design. Most of those things click for all of them.
[01:01:58] Mark Hinaman: Yeah. Michael, I think that’s a fantastic spot for us to, to leave it today. Thanks so much for your time. I really appreciate it.
[01:02:05] Michael England: Oh, thank you for having me, mark. I, I really enjoyed myself and if you need me to come back to, to go on more and more, I’m happy to do so.