Ontario minister marks completion of first phase of SMR preparations

14 June 2024

Newly appointed Minister of Energy and Electrification Stephen Lecce visited Ontario Power Generation's Darlington New Nuclear site to mark the completion of the first phase of site preparation for the province's first small modular reactor (SMR) and recent trade missions to Romania and France.

Lecce's first visit to the Darlington New Nuclear site since becoming Minister of Energy and Electrification (Image: OPG/X)

Ontario Power Generation (OPG) announced in March that early phase works for the Darlington New Nuclear Project to construct the first of up to four BWRX-300 SMRs had been completed on time and on budget, clearing the way for the main site preparation work to begin.

Yesterday, the government said that OPG "has now completed the early works for the first SMR in the G7 on time and on budget" and added that the site has now been transitioned into the care of the Darlington New Nuclear Project's construction partner, Aecon, to allow for main site preparation to begin. This work includes excavation, the construction of shoring walls, and land clearance for three additional units.

"We are today announcing the next phase of construction on the first small modular reactor of its kind in our country and across the G7 and part of the industrialised world," Lecce said during his visit to the site. "We're building four here. And we're expanding Bruce. We're extending the life of Pickering. These are massive investments to ensure we have the energy security to build our economy."

The new minister also marked the successful completion of trade missions to Romania and France, with "significant deals" worth over CAD360 million (USD261 million) including the signature of new agreements with Nuclearelectrica in Romania and Stellarex in France. Lecce and former Ontario Energy Minister Todd Smith - now the province's Minister of Education - also met with European government representatives and energy companies and hosted a Nuclear Education Roundtable to discuss workforce and talent gaps in Romania's nuclear sector and opportunities for future collaboration.

"With increasing geopolitical volatility, it is clear that countries around the world are looking for stable democratic energy partners that offer clean, reliable and affordable energy - and Ontario is once again answering that call," said Lecce. "Thanks to Ontario's domestic nuclear programme, we are landing major agreements abroad that are creating value-added jobs back home in Ontario as we deliver a major nuclear refurbishment in Romania that is going to support energy security for Europe."

Researched and written by World Nuclear News