Bruce A1 good to go

23 July 2012

Bruce A's unit 1 can restart following refurbishment, Canadian nuclear regulators have ruled. The reactor has been out of service since 1997.

Bruce A1 generator (Bruce Power)_200
Bruce A unit 1's generator ready for service (Image: Bruce Power)

The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) has confirmed that reactor operator Bruce Power has fulfilled all the conditions for the restart under its operating licence and that safety tests have been successfully completed. The restart authorisation will allow Bruce Power to bring the reactor up to 50% power so that further safety tests can be carried out. Further CNSC approval will be required before power can be increased beyond 50%.

Bruce A station vice president Mike Burke said the regulatory approval cleared the way for the reactor to become operational and for the completion of the remaining commissioning and start-up tests before the plant can be synchronised to the provincial grid. Bruce A unit 2, which has been undergoing a similar major refurbishment, was given permission to restart in March and reached criticality in April, but problems with the non-nuclear electricity generation side of the plant have since delayed its reconnection to the grid.

The four Candu units at Bruce A were taken off line and laid up in the latter 1990s, when they had been in operation for some 20 years. Faced with impending power shortages, the Ontario government and Bruce Power agreed in 2005 to refurbish the Bruce A units, each 769 MWe, rather than the longer process of building new ones to replace them. Units 3 and 4 had already been brought back into service by early 2004.

The extensive refurbishment of units 1 and 2 has involved the replacement of all their fuel channels and steam generators, plus upgrading of ancillary systems to current standards. The work will extend their operating lives by a further 25 years. Units 3 and 4 are expected to undergo a similar refurbishment when the work at the first two units is complete.

Researched and written
by World Nuclear News