Ontario nuclear supply chain joins COVID-19 response

01 May 2020

Bruce Power yesterday launched an initiative to leverage the supply chain developed for the Bruce Life Extension Programme to assist in the province's fight against the coronavirus and to help the economic recovery. The Bruce Power Retooling and Economic Recovery Council will include all of Bruce Power’s Ontario-based suppliers and will focus on the continued retooling of the supply chain to meet frontline COVID-19 needs.

The Bruce Power Retooling and Economic Recovery Council launch on Facebook (Image: Bruce Power)

Bruce Power President and CEO Mike Rencheck announced the creation of the Council during a live event on the company's Facebook page, in which he was joined by Associate Minister of Energy Bill Walker and Rocco Rossi, the president and CEO of the Ontario Chamber of Commerce.

“An innovative and dynamic nuclear supply chain is more important than ever in meeting this new challenge while successfully implementing our mission of providing clean, reliable, flexible, low-cost nuclear energy and a global supply of medical isotopes,” Rencheck said.

Bruce Power’s ongoing life-extension programme is Canada’s biggest private sector infrastructure programme, the company said, creating 22,000 direct and indirect jobs which contribute CAD4 billion to Ontario’s and CAD8-11 billion to Canada’s gross domestic product (GDP).

"With 90% of the investment in manufactured goods and services coming from 480 companies in Ontario and other provinces, we can harness these capabilities in the fight against COVID-19, and help drive our economic recovery," the company said.

Greg Rickford, the minister of energy, mines, northern development and also the minister of indigenous affairs, said the launch of the council was consistent with the province's current focus. “Ontario relies on its nuclear fleet to provide reliable and affordable electricity to Ontarians each and every day and now the industry is stepping up to play an even bigger role in the fight against COVID-19,” he said.

The Council will be formed for the duration of the pandemic. Its plans include exploring new uses for nuclear medical applications, including isotopes for the sterilisation of medical equipment and long-term supply security. This will also include exporting isotopes to assist in the global fight against the pandemic and launching a project to sterilise and re-use N95 masks through high-volume irradiation.

It also intends to leverage the nuclear supply chain to support the healthcare sector through the rapid production of medical personal protection equipment for frontline workers, and to take part in pilot projects to make ventilators or help identify technology options to better utilise existing ventilators.

It will work to ensure small businesses are utilised fully in communities where nuclear suppliers are located.

Additionally, it will facilitate the production of hand sanitiser and other cleaning products for distribution to communities, and especially targeted towards seniors and First Nations communities.

Bruce Power's overall life extension programme started in January 2016 and will see Bruce units 3-8 undergo refurbishment between now and 2033, extending their operation to 2064 (units 1 and 2 have already been refurbished). The first Major Component Replacement project began at Bruce 6 in January this year.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News