Bruce Power and CME prepare for nuclear investments

17 January 2008

Bruce Power has joined forces with Canadian Manufacturers & Exports (CME) to help prepare for up to $40 billion of new nuclear investment in Ontario over the next 15 years. Nuclear energy plays a significant role in Ontario's energy plan announced last year.


CME, the country's largest trade and industry association, promotes the continuous improvement of Canadian manufacturing and exporting through engagement of government at all levels. Its mandate is to promote the competitiveness of Canadian manufacturers and enable the success of Canadian goods and services exporters in markets around the world. Together, CME's membership accounts for an estimated 75% of total manufacturing production and 90% of Canada's exports.


"Given the challenges our manufacturing sector faces, we need to capitalize on the incredible potential for growth, innovation and new investment the nuclear industry presents," said Ian Howcroft, vice president of the Ontario division of CME. "Together, we can better understand how to leverage this opportunity through long-term planning and a more co-ordinated approach."


CME and Bruce Power, operator of the Bruce A and B nuclear power plants in Ontario, will initially establish a working group of Canadian companies who could be impacted by nuclear new build and further refurbishment of existing plants. The group will consider strategies to deal with potential supply chain issues presented by a resurgent nuclear industry.


"We're considering multi-billion dollar investments in the next generation of nuclear assets, so the more planning we can do at the outset will help the manufacturing sector benefit from this," said Duncan Hawthorne, Bruce Power's president and CEO. "We have already committed more than $5 billion towards our restart and refurbishment project, which is demonstrating real and positive economic impacts on the province's economy."


Bruce Power has also conducted studies into a possible Bruce C plant, which could host four new 1000 MWe reactors. An application for a licence to prepare the site for a new plant was submitted to regulators in August 2006 and it is thought possible that the reactors could start up in 2014.


At present, Ontario has 16 operating nuclear power plants, which provide up to 12,595 MWe. They are all AECL Candu units, which require refurbishment after about 25 years of operation. Two units at Pickering A have undergone that work already and enjoy working lives extended out to 2018 and 2022; two at Bruce A are being refurbished now.


Ontario 's energy plan


An energy plan announced in August 2007 for Ontario would see nuclear power plants providing the bulk of baseload electricity after maximum use of conservation and renewables. Some $26 billion would be spent on nuclear generation by 2027.


The integrated proposal, put together over two years by Ontario Power Authority (OPA), is the first such 'comprehensive electricity supply plan' for the province in 15 years. It addresses the government's intention to phase out 6434 MWe of coal-fired generation "in the earliest practicable timeframe," and the complication that nuclear plants are growing older and most could shut down by 2030.


Nuclear's role would be to provide up to 14,000 MWe of baseload capacity, which would operate on full power almost all of the time and provide the bulk of electricity. OPA's plan foresees 10,249 MWe coming from a combination of new plants and refurbishments of existing units to extend their operating lives. OPA said that 2018 could see the start of operation of 1400-3400 MWe of new nuclear capacity, depending on the mix of new build to refurbishment.