Technology evaluation for Bruce expansion to begin early 2024

23 November 2023

The Canadian company is to launch a Request for Information (RFI) to evaluate potential new nuclear technologies as part of its preliminary engagement and long-term review of expanding nuclear generation on its existing Ontario site. It has also set up a new advisory panel drawn from business, industry and labour leaders that will work in parallel with the RFI timetable.

Minister Todd Smith was a speaker at Bruce's announcement of the RFI (Image: Bruce Power)

The Bruce site - already home to eight existing Candu reactors - is earmarked for pre-development work for a new nuclear station in Ontario government plans announced in July. As well as potential new-build at Bruce - which would be Canada's first large-scale nuclear build since 1993 - Powering Ontario's Growth also includes three additional small modular reactors at Ontario Power Generation's Darlington site.

In October, the company launched an Expression of Interest process for up to 4800 MWe of new nuclear capacity at the site, and formally notified Canadian regulators of its intention to begin the site licensing and impact assessment process. The impact assessment will use a technology-neutral approach, to consider multiple nuclear technologies and provide options to the province in long-term electricity system planning, the company said. Carrying out the RFI process in parallel with the impact assessment is "prudent", according to the company.

"Looking ahead and evaluating the potential for new nuclear capacity creates a valuable option for the province in future electricity planning," said Bruce Power President and CEO Mike Rencheck. "We will carry out this evaluation with a focus on Indigenous and community engagement, a comprehensive technology review and exploring economic development, supply chain and workforce opportunities."

"With our plan already in place to meet demand this decade, we are working with Bruce Power to start pre-development work that will support future generation options, including reliable, affordable and clean nuclear energy, that will power our province into the future," Ontario Minister of Energy Todd Smith said.

Information from the RFI will also be used in a feasibility study for potential future nuclear generation elsewhere in Ontario. The study, which is being developed by Bruce Power, OPG and Ontario's Independent Electricity System Operator, is due to be completed by the end of 2024.

Advisory panel

The newly announced advisory panel will present a report to Bruce Power on key items for consideration in parallel with the RFI timetable. The eleven panel members are drawn from business, industry and labour leadership.

"Exploring the advancement of large new nuclear for the first time in a generation is an undertaking that requires long-term planning, open and transparent engagement with Indigenous communities and the broader region, and a robust process building on lessons learned from Bruce Power’s Life-Extension program and the last 20 years of worldwide GEN3+ nuclear power plant construction before any decision is made to proceed," the company said. Conducting the Bruce C impact assessment in an "open and transparent manner" is an important pre-requisite to any future decisions, it added.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News