BWXT announces expansion of Ontario manufacturing plant

22 April 2024

BWXT Technologies is investing a total of CAD80 million in its Cambridge manufacturing plant to support small modular reactors, traditional large-scale nuclear and advanced reactors, in Canada and around the world. The plant is the largest commercial nuclear equipment manufacturing facility in North America.

The company shared its vision of the expanded plant during a livestreamed announcement (Image taken from BWXT's YouTube channel)

Announcing the plans on 19 April, BWXT President of Commercial Operations John MacQuarrie said the company expects to break ground "shortly" on a CAD50 million project to increase the facility's footprint by 25%. This will increase BWXT's capacity to make large nuclear components by 50%, he added. In addition, the company plans to invest CAD30 million in advanced manufacturing equipment for the facility.

The total CAD80 investment will increase capacity significantly, improve productivity and create more than 200 long-term jobs for skilled workers, engineers and support staff in the area, BWXT said.

"Our expansion comes at a time when we’re supporting our customers in the successful execution of some of the largest clean nuclear energy projects in the world," MacQuarrie said. "At the same time, the global nuclear industry is increasingly being called upon to mitigate the impacts of climate change and increase energy security and independence. By investing significantly in our Cambridge manufacturing facility, BWXT is further positioning our business to serve our customers to produce more safe, clean and reliable electricity in Canada and abroad."

Construction for the BWXT Cambridge Expansion Project is expected to begin in the third quarter of this year, adjacent to the existing plant, for completion by the middle of 2026. Ongoing operations at the current facility will not be affected.

BWXT is currently supporting Ontario Power Generation (OPG) and Bruce Power's plant life extension projects at the Darlington and Bruce nuclear sites: a 2016 contract to manufacture 32 steam generators for the Bruce Power Major Component Replacement project was described as the largest and longest-standing contract ever signed by BWXT Canada in the company's 175-year history.

The Government of Ontario has also recently announced its support for the construction of four small modular reactors (SMRs) at OPG's Darlington New Nuclear Project; refurbishing OPG Pickering Nuclear Generating Station; and initiating pre-development work for siting up to 4,800 MWe of new nuclear power generation at Bruce. Last year, BWXT was awarded the engineering contract for reactor pressure vessel for the first BWRX-300 SMR to be built at the Darlington New Nuclear Project. It has also been awarded an engineering contract from TerraPower for the Natrium Demonstration Project, which is to be built in Kemmerer, Wyoming.

Canadian Nuclear Association President and CEO John Gorman said the expansion of BWXT Cambridge was a "concrete example" of "exciting momentum" in Canada's nuclear industry. "Not only is our industry contributing to a low-carbon, energy secure future for the country, but we're also creating high-quality jobs, driving local investment, and building communities," he said.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News