Nuclear resurgence continues in Canada with revival of Bruce Power Unit 2

Bruce Power Unit 2 sent electricity to Ontario’s grid for the first time in 17 years, the partnership said Oct. 16.

The milestone means that both Units 1 and 2 are generating electricity years after Bruce Power had announced plans to revitalize the station. In September, Bruce Power Unit 1 started providing power to the grid for the first time in 15 years.

Various labor unions involved in the refurbishment, issued statements praising the milestone.

“This refurbishment of Units 1 and 2 at Bruce Power has been a significant source of jobs for my members and for the Building Trades in general,” said Kevin Elliott, Business Manager, IUPAT, Painters Local Union 1590. “With these units now generating 1,500 megawatts of low-cost, environmentally responsible electricity to the electrical grid in Ontario, it is more good news for the viability of industry in this province,” Elliott said.

The units had been laid up in the mid-1990s. In 2001 Bruce Power assumed operational control of the site and Bruce Power President and CEO Duncan Hawthorne announced plans to restart certain idle units.

A long-term power agreement was reached between Bruce Power and the Province of Ontario.

Bruce Power’s nuclear resurgence has been described as key to helping Ontario wean itself off coal-fired electric generation.

Bruce Power’s revitalization program is an important step towards eliminating the use of coal fired electricity by the end of 2014,” said Chris Bentley, Ontario Minister of Energy.

“This gets us one step closer to the finish line and for the first time in nearly two decades we’re in the midst of returning the site to its full operational capacity,” said Bruce Power’s Hawthorne. “With this project in the final stages we can see a period of stable, steady operations ahead where Bruce Power plays a key role in keeping electricity costs low, the lights on and the air we breathe clean.”

With first synchronization now complete, final planned commissioning activities will be carried-out on Unit 2 including safety system shutdown testing. Once the units are at high power, they will produce enough electricity to power cities the size of Ottawa and London, Ontario, combined, Bruce Power said.

The return to service of Units 1 and 2 bring the Bruce Power site back to its eight-unit capacity, doubling the number of operational units from 10 years ago when the company began its multi-year revitalization program to make it the largest nuclear generating facility in the world. Prior to this investment, half of the units on the site were laid up, Bruce Power said.

In March, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission gave Bruce Power the go-ahead to power up Unit 2. Following that Unit 2 had been closed to going online in May.

There had been a “force majeure” that resulted with TransCanada as a result of not getting Unit 2 at Bruce A operating in May.

Bruce Power is a partnership among Cameco, TransCanada, Borealis Infrastructure (a trust established by the Ontario Municipal Employees Retirement System), The Power Workers’ Union and The Society of Energy Professionals.

Bruce Power is Canada’s first private nuclear generator. Bruce Power’s 2,300-acre site on the shores of Lake Huron houses the Bruce A and B generating stations, which each hold four CANDU reactors.

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.