Life-Extension Refurbishment Program & Major Component Replacement (MCR) Project
In 2019, Bruce Power and the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) agreed to refurbish its nuclear fleet and secure the site’s operation until 2064.
The refurbishment project involves the gradual replacement of older systems in the company’s eight reactor units during regularly scheduled maintenance outages.
In addition, Bruce Power is carrying out its intensive MCR Project which focuses on the replacement of key reactor components in Units 3-8, including steam generators, pressure tubes, calandria tubes and feeder tubes.
The MCR Project began with Unit 6 in January 2020 and is followed by Unit 3 in 2023 and Unit 4 in 2025. Each refurbishment must be of the highest quality, shorter in duration and ultimately more cost effective than the last.
The life extension of each unit will add approximately 30 to 35 years of operational life, while other investments will add a combined 30 reactor years of operational life to the units.
Planning the world’s biggest nuclear plant in Ontario
Following the announcement by the government of Ontario on a new large-scale nuclear plant construction in 2023, Bruce Power will conduct an environmental assessment and consultation work to meet federal regulatory requirements, and the process will be used as a planning and early engagement tool for potential future large infrastructure projects.
The planned new large-scale nuclear project will add as much as 4.8 gigawatts of capacity to its plant in Canada’s most-populous province.
Darlington Nuclear Generation Station
Darlington Refurbishment Project
The CAD12.8 billion Darlington refurbishment project commenced in 2016 with the plan of servicing all four CANDU reactors in the site.
The refurbishment project involves removing all the reactor’s fuel and heavy water and isolating it from the rest of the power station before it is dismantled. Thousands of components, including those that are not accessible when the reactor is assembled, are inspected, and all 480 fuel channels and 960 feeder tubes are replaced during the high precision rebuild.
Work on Unit 2, the first of four reactors to be refurbished, began in October 2016. Following more than three years in the execution phase,
OPG has successfully reconnected Unit 2 to Ontario’s grid at 100% full power in June 2020, returning the first newly refurbished reactor to service a month ahead of our revised schedule.
Refurbishment of Unit 3 reactor began in September 2020 and was originally slated for completion in the first quarter of 2024. However, in December 2022 the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) allowed OPG to proceed with fuel loading and in May 2023 this year gave the go-ahead for the reactor to be restarted. Unit 3 is now operating at 100% capacity.
Expected refurbishment completion date for Unit 1 is by 2025, and Unit 4 by 2026.
Small Modular Reactors at Darlington
In November 2020, OPG announced its plans to build a SMR at Darlington Nuclear Generating Station.
In the following year, OPG selected the BWRX-300 SMR, and will work with GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy (GEH) to deploy the reactor. This project was to be Canada’s first commercial, grid-scale, SMR could be completed as early as 2028.
The BWRX-300 is a 300 MWe water-cooled, natural circulation SMR with passive safety systems that leverages the design and licensing basis of GEH’s ESBWR boiling water reactor, which has been certified by the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
In late 2022, the Canada Infrastructure Bank (CIB) has finalized an agreement with OPG and committed CAD 970 million towards Canada’s first SMR. This is CIB’s largest investment in clean power to date.
The CIB-financed Phase 1 work covers all preparation required prior to nuclear construction, including project design, site preparation, procurement of long lead-time equipment, utility connections, implementation of a digital strategy, and related project management costs.
By mid-2023, the government of Ontario and OPG have announced plans to add three more SMRs at the Darlington new nuclear site.
All four SMR projects would provide 1,200 megawatts to the grid, adding enough electricity to reliably and safely power about 1.2 million homes and help the province meet increasing demand from electrification.
Pickering Nuclear Generating Station
Proposal for Refurbishment
In 2022, the Ontario government let the public know that it is considering refurbishing Pickering NGSs to extend operating service for an extra 30 years.
The Pickering NGS had been originally set to be shut down in 2025. But with increasing electricity demands, the government would like to open the option for Pickering to have the potential to power a portion of the province for decades to come.