Areva, Atomic Energy of Canada Limited (AECL) and Westinghouse will participate in the next step of the nuclear procurement process in Ontario, Canada. GE-Hitachi has chosen to withdraw.
A statement issued by Infrastructure Ontario, the agency overseeing the bid process, said that Areva, AECL and Westinghouse would be participating in a series of commericially confidental meetings between 7 and 25 April. These meetings precede the 9 May formal submission deadline for Phase 1 of the procurement project. The two-phase process taking place in Ontario was announced on 7 March by the Ontario government.
The Infrastructure Ontario statement said that GE-Hitachi had made a business decision to withdraw to allow it to focus on licensing efforts with the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) to certify its ESBWR design and focus on existing customer commitments. GE-Hitachi could still gain involvement in new build as part of the AECL-led Team Candu consortium.
The move mirrors the decision taken five days ago by AECL to withdraw from the UK design assement process to focus on opportunities in Canada. That left Areva, GE-Hitachi and Westinghouse as the three vendors with a chance for UK build contracts in the near future.
The procurement project taking place is a component of a 20 year energy plan launched by the Ontario government in 2006. The plan calls for the 14,000 MWe of nuclear capacity in Ontario to be maintained, which will require new build to replace retiring facilities. In addition the plan calls for a reduction in demand of 6300 MWe, a doubling of the use of renewables (including hydro) to 15,700 MWe, an increase in gas-fired generation to handle peak demand and the elimination of coal-fired generation by 2014.