Infrastructure Ontario said that it has received three final bid proposals for two new nuclear power reactors at Ontario Power Generation's (OPG's) existing Darlington site.
|The Darlington site (Image: OPG)
Bid submissions were received by the 27 February deadline from Areva NP, Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd (AECL) and Westinghouse for the Nuclear Procurement Project Request for Proposals (RFP). The deadline had been extended from the end of last year, partly due to "continued volatility in global markets." Infrastructure Ontario said that this concludes this part of Phase 2 of the RFP process.
The Ministry of Energy, OPG and Bruce Power have already carried out a review of available nuclear technologies and invited "four internationally recognized vendors" to participate in the first phase of the proposal process. The four vendors were Areva, AECL, GE-Hitachi Nuclear Energy and Westinghouse. However, in early April 2008 Infrastructure Ontario announced that GE-Hitachi had made a business decision to withdraw from the procurement process in order to focus on licensing efforts with the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) to certify its ESBWR design and focus on existing customer commitments.
The next step involves a thorough compliance review and an evaluation of each of the three proposals. Subsequently, a negotiation period to finalize details of a contract will be initiated. This will ensure the best possible deal for Ontarians, according to Infrastructure Ontario. It is expected that the preferred vendor will be announced in June.
The government of Ontario launched a two-phase competitive procurement process in March 2008 to select a preferred supplier of two nuclear reactors to be constructed in the province. A commercial team directed by Infrastructure Ontario is managing the procurement process. Team members include OPG, Bruce Power, the Ministry of Energy and the Ministry of Finance. A two-member decision review board will review the competitive process. The process will be scrutinized by a "fairness monitor."
The procurement project taking place is a component of a 20 year energy plan launched by the Ontario government in 2006. The plan focuses on reducing greenhouse gas emissions and Ontario's overall carbon footprint while ensuring a "reliable, affordable and environmentally responsible electricity supply."
The energy plan calls for the 14,000 MWe of nuclear capacity in Ontario to be maintained, which will require new build to replace retiring facilities. In addition, the plan calls for a reduction in demand of 6300 MWe, a doubling of the use of renewables (including hydro) to 15,700 MWe, an increase in gas-fired generation to handle peak demand and the elimination of coal-fired generation by 2014.