Early site work to begin for Canadian SMR

11 March 2022

Early preparation activities are set to begin at the site of Ontario Power Generation's (OPG) future small modular reactor (SMR), following the award of a CAD32 million contract for the first phase of site preparation and support infrastructure for the Darlington New Nuclear Project.

The site for the SMR is next to the existing Darlington nuclear power plant (Image: OPG)

The infrastructure work covered by the CAD32 million (USD25 million) contract awarded to Ontario multi-trade fabricator and constructor ES Fox includes bringing services such as water, electrical power, information technology and roads to the site, which is adjacent to OPG's existing Darlington nuclear power plant.

Subject to necessary permits and regulatory approvals, preparation work is expected to begin later this year. Further regulatory approvals will be needed before SMR construction can begin.

The Darlington New Nuclear Project is the only site in Canada with an accepted environmental assessment and site preparation licence. OPG last year selected GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy's BWRX-300 SMR for the site, where it says Canada's first commercial, grid-scale, SMR could be completed as soon as 2028.

"This early work sets the stage for deployment of the type of clean, safe new electricity generation Ontario needs as demand begins to rise due to electrification," OPG President and CEO Ken Hartwick said.

"The world is watching Ontario when it comes to SMRs," Ontario Minister of Energy Todd Smith said. "I look forward to seeing the progress made by ES Fox and OPG as we prepare to deploy Canada's first grid-scale SMR. This project will create good jobs and clean energy while cementing our reputation as a global hub for nuclear technology and SMR expertise."

The provinces of Ontario, New Brunswick, Saskatchewan and Alberta agreed to collaborate on the advancement of SMRs in a 2019 Memorandum of Understanding.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News