Whitemud the site for Bruce

24 March 2009

A new location has been announced as Bruce Power's preferred place to build a new nuclear power plant. Like the last, it is just 30 kilometres from Peace River, Alberta.


A fresh site evaluation procedure was launched late last year after Bruce Power Alberta's previous site raised concern among local people because of its proximity to the Grimshaw Gravels Aquifer. Two new locations alongside Lac Cardinal were examined on 41 criteria, with Whitemud winning out. It is about 30 kilometers west of Peace River, which lies in the north west of the province of Alberta with a population of less than 10,000.


Bruce Power's Alberta subsidiary described Whitemud as the "preferred option" for its new build. The company said it would work on planning and consultation ahead of a report on the role nuclear energy could play in Alberta. The panel producing that was assembled in April 2008, when moves towards using nuclear energy began in earnest. About six months before, Bruce Power Alberta had been formed in part from the assets of Energy Alberta, which selected the original site and filed an application with the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) to begin preparation.


Energy Alberta's original application to the CNSC covered two ACR-1000 reactors from Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd, with a total output of around 2200 MWe, but Bruce has since said it is considering as many as four power units. Subject to the review panel's report, Bruce Power Alberta could launch its environmental impact assessment (EIA) for the potential new power plant in 2010. The proposed start-up date for any new reactors would be 2017.


Separately, Bruce Power is interested in new nuclear build at Nanticoke and its main Bruce site, both in Ontario. For Nanticoke, an EIA on a nuclear power plant in the Haldimand Industrial Park was launched in October 2008. The area is already home to a 4000 MWe coal-fired power plant, but this is to close in 2014 for environmental reasons. No new reactor would be envisaged there before about 2020. At the Bruce site, an EIA based on four new reactors was submitted in September 2008. That plant would be known as Bruce C, and sit in the immediate vicinity of the Bruce A and Bruce B plants, which both already feature four reactors.