Operating Power Plants

There are 19 operable power reactors at four nuclear-generating stations in Canada. Nuclear power provided approximately 15% of Canada’s electricity in 2019.

Bruce Nuclear Generating Station

The Bruce Nuclear Generating Station is the world’s largest operating nuclear power facility based on its eight reactors generating 6,288 MWe. It is located on the shore of Lake Huron, 190 km from downtown Toronto, Ontario, and first delivered power to the grid in 1976. It is operated by Bruce Power but is owned by Ontario Power Generation (OPG).

In 2016, Bruce Power began the mid-life refurbishment of Units 3 to 8, replacing significant components so that they can continue operating for decades. The first of these (Unit 6) was taken offline for refurbishment in January 2020. 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.

In 2023, Ontario announced it wanted to add a third nuclear-generating station to Bruce Power, which, if built, would be the first new large-scale nuclear plant construction in Canada in three decades. The new construction would generate up to 4,800 megawatts, enough to power 4.8 million homes, nearly doubling the power plant’s output. The planned projects will be subject to a federal Impact Assessment (IA) by the Assessment Agency of Canada (IAAC) with support from the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) and input from Bruce Power. IAAC would undertake consultations with Indigenous communities and engage with the public throughout the IA process.

Darlington Nuclear Generating Station

The Darlington Nuclear Generating Station is Canada’s second-largest nuclear facility by total energy output. Its CANDU reactors are owned and operated by OPG. Capable of producing up to 31 million MWh annually, the Darlington station powers up to 2.5 million households. All four Darlington units are undergoing mid-life refurbishment to generate clean, reliable electricity for the decades to come. The ongoing refurbishment project has been ahead of schedule and on budget and will take until 2026 to complete.

In 2022, OPG and the Province of Ontario highlighted the start of site preparation activities for the small modular reactors (SMRs) project at OPG’s Darlington Nuclear site in Clarington. The proposed 300-megawatt (MW) BWRX-300 SMR set to be built at Darlington would mark Ontario’s first nuclear reactor build in a generation. 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

The Pickering Nuclear Generating Station is Ontario’s smallest commercial nuclear facility. Its four CANDU reactors are owned and operated by OPG. Despite its smaller size, the Pickering station powers up to 2.5 million households. With a combined six operating reactors at Pickering A and B producing 3,100 MWe, Pickering NGS accounts for approximately 14% of Ontario’s energy needs.

In 2022, the Ontario government has asked OPG to conduct a feasibility assessment on the potential for refurbishing Units 5 – 8. OPG will conduct a comprehensive technical examination and hopes to submit a final recommendation to the province by the end of 2023.

Point Lepreau Nuclear Generating Station

The Point Lepreau Nuclear Generating Station is located in New Brunswick, approximately 30 km southwest of Saint John, and was the first CANDU 6 reactor to generate electricity commercially. It is owned and operated by New Brunswick Power. Point Lepreau NGS underwent refurbishment to extend its operational lifespan and returned to service in November 2012.

Point Lepreau NGS operates at 660 MWe, producing 5.8 billion kWh in 2019, or enough to power 333,000 New Brunswick households. It currently provides approximately 38% of New Brunswick’s electricity.

NB Power, with the support of ARC Clean Technology Inc. (ARC), is planning the construction and operation of one advanced small modular reactor (SMR) at the NB Power property on the Lepreau Peninsula in New Brunswick, to the west of the existing Point Lepreau Nuclear Generating Station (PLNGS). The ARC SMR is a modular, sodium-cooled fast reactor that will generate at least 100 megawatts of electricity for the electrical grid. The unit is expected to connect to the New Brunswick grid in 2030 and operate for 60 years. In 2023, NB Power submitted an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) registration document to the Department of Environment and Local Government (DELG) and a Licence to Prepare a Site Application to the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC).

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