Pre-refurbishment work to start at Bruce 7

13 September 2016

After breaking its own record with 487 days of continuous operation, Bruce 7 has been taken off line for a planned maintenance outage including life-extension activities to prepare the unit for refurbishment.

Bruce B aerial - 460 (Bruce Power)
Bruce (Image: Bruce Power)

The outage will see millions of dollars invested into the 822 MWe (net) Candu unit, one of six Bruce units scheduled to undergo refurbishment in a program beginning in 2020. Bruce units 1 and 2 have already undergone refurbishment.

Bruce's investment in such life-extension activities is being funded under a long-term agreement with the Independent Electricity System Operator to secure 6300 MWe from the Bruce Power site through a multi-year investment program. The agreement entered into effect in January.

Refurbishment of Candu units is a major undertaking but add 30-35 years of operational life. Bruce Power has estimated that the six refurbishments will cost about CAD 8 billion (2014 dollars), in addition to CAD5 billion in for other life-extension activities from 2016-53. About CAD 2.3 billion will be invested by the company between 2016 and 2020 as part of this plan.

During the outage, cobalt-60 will also be harvested from Bruce 7, before being processed by Nordion. Most of the world's cobalt-60 is produced by the irradiation of cobalt-59 in Candu reactors, a process taking up to three years. Bruce Power is one of the world's largest suppliers of the isotope, which is used to sterilize about 40% of the world's single-use medical devices, including gloves, masks and stents.

According to the company, Bruce Power continues to be one of the lowest cost sources of power in Ontario, supplying electricity at less than the average residential price of power. The estimated prices paid to each energy source per megawatt hour for the first half of 2016 saw solar at CAD 424; natural gas at CAD 213; wind at CAD 122; nuclear from Bruce at CAD 66; and hydro at CAD 48, leading to an estimated average residential price for electricity of CAD 110 per megawatt-hour.

Researched and written
by World Nuclear News