AtkinsRéalis unveils new advanced Candu design

28 November 2023

The 1000 MW Candu Monark, a Generation III+ reactor with the highest output of any Candu technology, is currently in the definition phase, the company said at the World Nuclear Exhibition in Paris, and will feature simplified construction and a 70-year operating life.

The Candu Monark was launched at the WNE: pictured is Ontario Minister of Energy Todd Smith (Image: @ToddSmithPC)

The design leverages the "tested and reliable" design features of existing Candu technology together with the most modern and advanced engineering solutions, the company said. Building on the commercial success of currently operating Candu units and decades of design development since, the new design features a larger output of 1,000 MW, improved cost per megawatt-hour, a longer operating life of 70 years, sustainable design principles to minimise environmental impact, the latest in robotics, predictive maintenance and high integration with flexible electricity grids of the future.

The technology is designed to include full interoperability with digital twin technology, reducing construction, operation, and maintenance costs, and the company says it is the easiest reactor in its Candu portfolio to build, operate and maintain.

The reactor has been designed with maintenance in mind, while incorporating a module-based construction strategy which, when combined with digital delivery concepts, will mean the Candu Monark "will be constructed faster and with lower risk". Comprehensive 'defence in depth' includes two independent, equally effective systems that can shut down the reactor without power, and without the need for operator intervention.

The new design leverages the existing strengths of proven Candu designs, including the use of natural uranium as a fuel source, on-power refuelling, and online maintenance. Its footprint and flexible siting requirements mean the reactors can be situated on existing fossil fuel power plant sites, where transmission and distribution lines already exist, for easy integration into an energy grid. The design can also integrate a hydrogen production plant and storage facility into the plant, as well as using surplus heat from the plant to make hydrogen generation more efficient and like today's Candus, the reactor have the ability to produce medical radioisotopes.

AtkinsRéalis President and CEO Ian Edwards said the development of the latest reactor design continues the company's "distinguished legacy" from over 70 years of innovation. "We are the current original equipment manufacturer and steward of CANDU technology; these modern large-scale reactors will play a critical role in producing the quantum of additional electricity supply that’s required to power the energy transition, providing energy security and reliable, clean power for millions of people," he said.

Earlier this year the government of Ontario announced the start of pre-development work to build up to 4800 MWe of new nuclear capacity at Bruce Power's existing site, in what would be Canada's first large-scale nuclear build in more than 30 years. The Ontario Independent Electricity System Operator’s 2022 Pathways to Decarbonization report found that the province which is already home to most of Canada's existing nuclear generation capacity will need to build another 18 gigawatts of nuclear power by 2050, the company noted.

The Canadian government is also providing export financing to support the construction of additional Candu reactors at Cernavoda in Romania.

"Canadian nuclear technologies are known around the world as being one of the best," said Mary Ng, Minister of Export Promotion, International Trade and Economic Development for Canada.

"In fact, Candu reactors are synonymous with Canada. The new Candu Monark reactor design will ensure Candu technology remains front and centre amid growing interest in nuclear energy around the world as part of the clean energy transition."

Researched and written by World Nuclear News