Plans for two new Ontario plants scrapped

23 July 2009

Canada's Bruce Power has announced its decision to withdraw its applications to construct two new nuclear power plants in Ontario. It no longer plans to build a third plant at the existing Bruce site and has scrapped plans for a plant at Nanticoke.


The company said that it will now concentrate on the refurbishment of its existing Bruce A and B plants, rather than build the new Bruce C plant. The refurbishment of the Candu units will bring an additional 6300 MW of electricity online. Bruce A comprises of four units, each with a capacity of 769 MWe, while Bruce B's four units have a capacity of 822 MWe each.


The company submitted its environmental impact statement (EIS) in September 2008 for up to four new reactors of around 1000 MWe capacity each at the proposed Bruce C plant. The exact location and the reactor design to be used had not yet been determined.


In addition, Bruce Power said that, given Ontario's declining demand for electricity, it is no longer planning to construct a new plant at Nanticoke.


In late October 2008, Bruce Power announced that it was considering building a two-reactor nuclear power plant at Nanticoke in southern Ontario. The area is already home to a large coal-fired power plant, due to close down for environmental reasons. AECL's ACR-1000; Areva's EPR and Westinghouse's AP1000 had been under consideration for the plant.


The company said that it has notified the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) and the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency (CEAA) that it will withdraw its site license applications and suspend its Environmental Assessments in Bruce County and Nanticoke.


Bruce Power said that it will now work with its investors and the Ontario Power Authority to investigate the feasibility of refurbishing Bruce units 3-8 following the successful restart of units 1 and 2, which will inject another 1500 MW of baseload generation into the Ontario market.


Duncan Hawthorne, Bruce Power's president and CEO, said: "These are business decisions unique to Ontario and reflect the current realities of the market." He added, "Our focus has always been to find the best way to provide Ontario with a long-term supply of 6300 MW. For more than five years, we’ve examined our options and refurbishing our existing units has emerged as the most economical."


"While we have chosen to pursue the refurbishment option, I want to thank everyone in Bruce, Haldimand and Norfolk counties who supported us," Hawthorne said. "The work we have done confirmed both sites held great promise for new build if the market conditions were more favourable. However, the time has come to narrow our focus and follow the route that's best for us, for Ontario and its ratepayers."


Bruce Power noted that its decision "has no impact on the current process to introduce nuclear energy to either Alberta or Saskatchewan, where both provincial governments are expected to release policy statements regarding nuclear’s role later this year."


The company's announcement to withdraw its licence applications closely follows the announcement last month by the provincial government of Ontario that it had stopped work towards building new reactors. Bids from abroad were not up to scratch, it said, and it did not have confidence in the future of AECL. Ontario Power Generation's Darlington site had been selected as the best choice for expansion.


The procurement project was a component of a 20 year energy plan launched by the Ontario government in 2006. The plan calls for the 14,000 MWe of nuclear capacity that provides half of electricity to be maintained, requiring new build to replace retiring facilities.