Canadian AP1000 deployment could bring billions in economic benefits, study finds

29 February 2024

The deployment of four AP1000 units in Ontario could have an impact of more than CAD28.7 billion (USD21.2 billion) on Canada's GDP during the manufacturing, engineering and construction phase alone, an independent study has found.

The study was prepared by PwC (Image: Westinghouse/PwC)

The Economic Impact of a Westinghouse AP1000 Reactor project in Canada, was prepared by PricewaterhouseCoopers LLC (PwC) and released at the Canadian Nuclear Association's CNA 2024 conference in Ottawa. It was produced for Westinghouse - developer of the AP1000 pressurised water reactor technology - and its owners, Brookfield and Cameco, to assess the "economic and broader benefits of Westinghouse's potential investment in Canada, in association with the deployment of AP1000 technology".

According to the report, Westinghouse "is seeking to install four AP1000 units in Ontario". The report uses Westinghouse's estimates of capital expenditures, operating expenditures and revenues associated with manufacturing, engineering, installing and operating such a project, as well as primary and secondary research conducted by PWC.

Once operational, the units would create an additional CAD8.1 billion in GDP and support more than 12,000 jobs annually, the report found. As well as helping Canada achieve its emission reduction plans, the project would also open up new opportunities for Canadian suppliers: with Westinghouse planning to make local procurement a key part of its investment policy and with the majority of total capital expenditure on the project expected to be spent in Canada.

Westinghouse has been expanding its engineering base in Canada in support of new nuclear projects, including the opening this year of a new engineering hub in Kitchener, Ontario, the report notes, and Canada is now the third largest engineering centre for the AP1000. An AP1000 project in Ontario will leverage and grow the existing supply chain, and the use of these Canadian suppliers to support the construction of AP1000s elsewhere could support an impact of CAD880 million for Canada for each AP1000 unit built around the world.

"Our globally-deployed AP1000 reactor fleet is a licensed and proven technology that provides exceptional availability and economics across the world," said Westinghouse Energy Systems President David Durham. "This report highlights that our technology and company - with strategic investments, a growing employee base and Canadian ownership - is well suited to meet Canada’s energy needs for generations to come."

The AP1000 project in Ontario would also develop human capital through training and education, and growing Canada's nuclear supply chain would drive greater economies and scale for deployment of additional Westinghouse technologies such as the AP300 small modular reactor and the eVinci microreactor, Westinghouse said.

Five AP1000 reactors are currently fully operational - four in China and one at the Vogtle site in the USA - with the second Vogtle unit, Vogtle 4, expected to be in-service later this year. The design has been selected for deployment in Poland and Ukraine, and is under consideration at multiple other sites in Central and Eastern Europe, the UK and USA.

Canada currently generates around 15% of its electricity from nuclear energy from 19 Candu pressurised heavy water reactors, 18 of which are located at three sites in Ontario. The AP1000 was submitted for possible construction at one of those sites - Ontario Power Generation (OPG's) Darlington - as long ago as 2009, but the provincial government decided in 2013 to defer future construction plans.

OPG announced in 2020 that it was to resume planning activities for new nuclear at the Darlington site, where it now plans to build four BWRX-300 small modular reactors, the first of which is pencilled in for operations in 2029. As well as supporting plans for SMRs at Darlington, the Ontario government is supporting pre-development work for potential new large-scale nuclear development at Bruce Power as part of its plan to meet electricity demand and reduce emissions by supporting the electrification of the province's economy.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News