Site development for 10 plants a ‘no regret action’
The Canadian province of Ontario should consider developing and executing a plan for new large-scale Candu nuclear power plants alongside a planned BWRX-300 small modular reactor at the Darlington site, where an existing site licence would speed up timelines by nearly a decade, a pro-nuclear group has said in a report.
Canadians for Nuclear Energy said site development to support 10 new Candu reactors is a “no regret action” that should begin promptly. Once firm plans are in place at the provincial level, nuclear operators and Energy Ministry could approach the federal government to discuss avenues of support, including funding for Candu modernisations, heavy water production and expedited licensing for new sites.
The report said Candu, Canada’s homegrown reactor technology, is far ahead of other options in terms of local economic benefit, fuel security, project risk mitigation and a proven track record of success.
“Refurbishment projects at the Bruce and Darlington nuclear Stations are a $26 billion investment into Candu assets and, just as importantly, into people with the skills to build, operate, and regulate them,” the report says.
“Letting opportunities in Candu lapse with the end of these refurbishments would be an irreparable loss to Ontario’s jobs, economy, and clean energy.
“Alternatively, building new Candu would preserve and grow Ontario’s hard-earned legacy as a clean energy leader and signal its openness to business investment for the long-term.”
The report said Ontario is poised for rapid growth in electricity use without the supply to meet it. Attention has again turned to nuclear energy as “a proven way to meet clean electricity needs without sacrificing affordability or the stability of the grid”.
In December, site preparation began for a BWRX-300 SMR at Ontario Power Generation’s Darlington nuclear site. It will be Ontario’s first nuclear reactor build in a generation and will deliver 300 MW of electricity, enough to power 300,000 homes.