Bruce Power sees strong nuclear role in Ontario energy future

Ontario’s Minister of Energy has confirmed that the province will work to secure the role of nuclear power over the long-term through the refurbishment of Ontario’s existing nuclear units at Bruce Power and Darlington, said Bruce Power on Oct. 10.

Bruce Power has spent the past several years refurbishing and restarting the long-shut Bruce nuclear plant of Ontario Power Generation (OPG). OPG still directly operates the Darlington nuclear plant, which it also wants to refurbish.

While the province’s Long-Term Energy Review continues – it’s expected to be completed later this fall – it will provide more context related to the timing, approach and broader considerations regarding future nuclear refurbishments, Bruce Power added.

The refurbishment of Ontario’s nuclear fleet would provide stable power prices for Ontario families and businesses, the nuclear operator said. Advancing the refurbishment agenda would also be good news for jobs and the economy, it added. Based on information from the Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters, securing the output from Bruce Power will contribute to over C$3bn in economic activity annually and 15,000 jobs.

The continued role of Bruce Power nuclear is also important to stay off coal generation, which will be completely phased out by OPG in the next few months. Through the new Bruce-to-Milton transmission line, the revitalization of Bruce A’s four units, and strategic maintenance programs at Bruce B over the past decade, 70% of the energy needed to phase out coal has been provided by Bruce Power. To stay off coal, 6,300 MW from the Bruce Power site needs to be secured for the long term, the company said.

Bruce Power operates one of the world’s largest nuclear sites and is the source of roughly 25% of Ontario’s electricity. The company’s site in Tiverton, Ontario, is home to eight CANDU reactors. Formed in 2001, Bruce Power is an all-Canadian partnership among TransCanada, Cameco, Borealis Infrastructure Management (a division of the Ontario Municipal Employees Retirement System) as well as the Power Workers’ Union and Society of Energy Professionals.

During the public comment process for this energy review, the Ministry of Energy asked this question: “Last year, Ontario’s mix of energy sources was 53% nuclear, 21% hydro, 13% natural gas, 5% wind and solar, 3% coal and 5% conservation. Coal generation in Ontario will be eliminated by the end of 2014. What guidelines should Ontario use for its future mix of energy sources?” The top answer was more use of nuclear power, followed by a desire to reduce emissions beyond the termination of coal-fired generation.

About Barry Cassell 20414 Articles
Barry Cassell is Chief Analyst for GenerationHub covering coal and emission controls issues, projects and policy. He has covered the coal and power generation industry for more than 24 years, beginning in November 2011 at GenerationHub and prior to that as editor of SNL Energy’s Coal Report. He was formerly with Coal Outlook for 15 years as the publication’s editor and contributing writer, and prior to that he was editor of Coal & Synfuels Technology and associate editor of The Energy Report. He has a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University.