Fuel loading commences at Bruce A unit 1

23 November 2011

Unit 1 of the Bruce A nuclear power station in Ontario is nearing a return to service after the Canadian regulator gave approval for fuel to be loaded into the reactor on 22 November. According to operator Bruce Power, fuel loading has already begun, thus marking the end of the first-of-a-kind refurbishment project. This follows unit 2, which, after undergoing a similar refurbishment process, completed fuel loading in July this year. Both of the Candu reactors are set to begin operating again in 2012, though they must still pass a few regulatory checkpoints. Initiated in 2007, the Bruce A refurbishment has been described as Canada's largest infrastructure project. The fuel loading of unit 1 marks the final commissioning phase for the reactor which has essentially been completely rebuilt. The project involved the replacement of steam generators, all calandria tubes and associated parts as well as an upgrade to ancillary systems. Unit 1 originally began operation in 1977 but was laid up in 1997 after a 20 year operating life. Unit 2 began operation the same year but was laid up in 1995. Both are now expected to operate for another 20 to 30 years. Wolsong 1, another Candu reactor located in South Korea, was restarted in July this year after finishing a similar retubing project.