Canadian regulators approve restart of Bruce Power’s 750-MW nuclear unit

Canadian regulators on March 16 approved the restart of a 750-MW Bruce Power nuclear unit that has been shut down for 20 years.

Bruce Power said that the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) has given Bruce Power the go-ahead to restart its long-idle unit 2. Bruce Power also hopes to return a second long-idle 750-MW reactor to service later this year.

The estimated cost of the unit 2 restart is C$4.8bn. That translates to roughly $4.84bn in U.S. dollars. There were several major contractors involved in the project including AECL (Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd.), SNC Lavalin, AECON, Siemens, ES Fox and Babcock & Wilcox, a Bruce Power spokesperson said in an email.

The permission to remove reactor shutdown guarantees from unit 2, which has been shut down for nearly 20 years, means it is now a live reactor and Bruce Power can complete final safety checks in preparation for synchronization to Ontario’s electricity grid.

“The regulator’s approval clears the way for our staff to take the reactor to power operation and complete the remaining commissioning and start-up tests on the unit,” said Bruce Power President and CEO Duncan Hawthorne. Operations staff will complete a number of tests that will clear the way for unit 2 deliver power to the provincial grid, Hawthorne said in a statement.

“A project of this magnitude has never been done before on a CANDU reactor and that cannot be overlooked,” Hawthorne said. “We have learned many lessons from our work on unit 2 and have implemented them on unit 1 which is following very closely behind unit 2 and should achieve a similar milestone in a few short months.”

Laid up in 1997 and 1995 respectively, units 1 and 2 have been undergoing an extensive refurbishment which began in mid-2006 after the project’s environmental assessment was accepted by the CNSC, according to the Bruce Power web site.

Bruce Power describes itself as Canada’s first private nuclear generator. Bruce Power is a partnership among a number of entities that include Cameo (TSE: CCO), TransCanada (TSE: TRP), BPC Generation Infrastructure Trust, a trust established by the Ontario Municipal Employees Retirement System, the Power Workers’ Union and The Society of Energy Professionals.

About Wayne Barber 4201 Articles
Wayne Barber, Chief Analyst for the GenerationHub, has been covering power generation, energy and natural resources issues at national publications for more than 20 years. Prior to joining PennWell he was editor of Generation Markets Week at SNL Financial for nine years. He has also worked as a business journalist at both McGraw-Hill and Financial Times Energy. Wayne also worked as a newspaper reporter for several years. During his career has visited nuclear reactors and coal mines as well as coal and natural gas power plants. Wayne can be reached at wayneb@pennwell.com.