The government of the Canadian province of New Brunswick has accepted a proposal by a consortium of Canadian private sector nuclear and power plant companies and Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd (AECL) to fund and carry out a study into the possibility of building an advanced Candu reactor.
The study, to evaluate the potential for a 1085 MWe ACR1000 reactor to be built at the Point Lepreau nuclear power station, is expected to cost about C$2.5 million ($2.4 million) and take up to six months. The study will examine the business case for private sector investment, identify prospective markets for the power from the new unit, and look at potential environmental and socio-economic impacts. Point Lepreau is already home to a 635 MWe Candu unit which started operation in 1983.
"We are confident the study will clearly demonstrate that a second unit will provide an energy-secure future and economic self sufficiency for the Province," said AECL chief operating officer Ken Petrunik. Shawn Graham, the New Brunswick premier, noted the potential for growth in the province that the study could help to fuel.
Team Candu New Brunswick is made up of Babcock & Wilcox Canada, GE-Hitachi Nuclear Energy Canada Inc, Hitachi Canada, SNC-Lavalin Nuclear and AECL. "Team Candu New Brunswick has the expertise and experience to deliver a safe and high quality energy solution for the province of New Brunswick," said SNC-Lavalin Nuclear President Patrick Lamarre.
The ACR-1000 is an 'advanced' or 'Generation III+' reactor design. Such reactors typically use a standardized design to offer reduced capital costs, simpler operation, longer life and improved environmental and safety features compared to the so-called Generation-II reactors currently providing the vast majority of the world's nuclear power. Crucially, they also incorporate passive or inherent safety systems which do not rely on active controls or operator intervention in the event of a malfunction. The Advanced Candu Reactor (ACR) retains the low-pressure heavy water moderator of the second-generation Candu but also incorporates some features of the pressurized water reactor (PWR).