Bruce Power has decided not to pursue a new nuclear power plant in the Canadian province of Alberta, ending a four-year engagement with local people.
The company's CEO, Duncan Hawthorne, thanked the people of Peace County, where Bruce had identified the Whitemud site alongside Lac Cardinal as suitable for up to four reactors. He said, "I have no doubt there will come a day when nuclear will have a place in a balanced supply mix in Alberta." The province conducted a public consultation and found residents backed the idea of considering nuclear power proposals on a case-by-case basis in the same way as other energy sources.
Bruce's nuclear plant would have offset the coal that is mainly used to meet baseload demand in Alberta. A large portion of its output could have been used by industries extracting oil from tar sands, which currently demand constant supply of about 1000 MWe. The growth of the tar sands business could see demand grow to as much as 3200 MWe by 2030.
Alberta was just one place that Bruce Power has considered building new reactors in recent years. It studied the feasibilty of bringing nuclear power to Saskatchewan province, as well as the environmental impact a new nuclear plant would have at a former fossil power plant site in Nanticoke, Ontario. There was also a plan to build new reactors at a site known as Bruce C, which lies alongside Bruce A and B, which each feature four reactors already.
Site licence applications and environmental impact assessments for Nanticoke and Bruce C had been sent to regulators, but these projects were put on ice in mid-2009 so the company could concentrate on more economic refurbishment projects at Bruce A. The same logic was said to be behind the decision to officially leave Alberta.
Next year, the refurbishment of Bruce A 1 and 2 should be complete and Bruce Power will enjoy the return of 1500 MWe of nuclear generation capacity that had been laid up since the mid-1990s. Bruce A 3 and 4 came back online after a similar refurbishment in 2003 and 2004.
Researched and written
by World Nuclear News