Bruce Power marks first year of refurbishment project

24 February 2021

Bruce Power's Major Component Replacement project remains on track despite a two-month delay caused by the pandemic, the company said yesterday as it marked the first anniversary of the start of work at Bruce 6.

Construction of two Retube Work Platforms on both east and west sides of Bruce 6's reactor face was completed earlier this month. The multi-component platforms contain hundreds of kilometres of electrical cabling, and were constructed with support from ATS Automation and the Shoreline Power Group joint venture of AECOM, Aecon and SNC-Lavalin. (Image: Bruce Power)

"In a year that presented unforeseen challenges, our workers and partners in the nuclear supply chain stepped up to make sure Bruce Power continued to produce clean, reliable, low-cost electricity for Ontario's residents, hospitals, long-term care homes and businesses, while also lending a helping hand to the residents of Bruce, Grey and Huron counties," President and CEO Mike Rencheck said. "I'm extremely proud of the company's accomplishments last year, in keeping our Unit 6 MCR on track, continuing to operate our units efficiently and effectively, and for being there when our communities and the province needed help in the fight against this public health crisis."

Bruce units 3-8 are to be refurbished under the MCR project, which will include the replacement of key reactor components including steam generators, pressure tubes, calandria tubes and feeder tubes starting with unit 6. Work is scheduled to begin on unit 3 in 2023 and unit 4 in 2025, with each refurbishment planned to be shorter in duration, and ultimately more cost-effective, than the last. The MCR is part of Bruce Power's Life-Extension Program, which started in January 2016 and involves the gradual replacement of older systems in the company’s eight reactor units during regularly scheduled maintenance outages. The life extension work will add about 30 to 35 years of operational life to each reactor, while other investments will add a combined 30 reactor years of operational life to the units.

To date, 50,000 feet (over 15,000 metres) of feeder tube have been removed from the Bruce 6 reactor vault, and lower feeders have also been removed. All manufactured components for the unit 6 MCR have also been completed, and Rencheck acknowledged the efforts of supply chain partners - including Laker Energy/BWXT, Cameco, Nu-tech, Brotech, BCI and Niagara Energy - as well as employees, contractors and trade unions in keeping the project on track.

"Having the components on time sets us up very well to complete several major milestones on the unit 6 refurbishment in 2021," Rencheck said. "We're grateful to these companies for helping to put us in a position to stay on schedule."

The online event included contributions from Ontario's Associate Minister of Energy Bill Walker; Minister of Energy, Mines, Northern Development and Indigenous Affairs Greg Rickford; and Paul Lefebvre, Canadian parliamentary secretary to the minister of natural resources. It also included the launch of Bruce Power's annual Ontario Energy Report.

Nuclear power meets some 60% of the electricity needs of the province, which phased out the use of coal for electricity generation in 2014. Bruce Power's nuclear units provide 30% of the province's total electricity.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News