Unit 7 at Canada’s Bruce NPP has been taken off line for a planned maintenance outage including life-extension activities to prepare the unit for refurbishment, after breaking its own record with 487 days of continuous operation. Refurbishment of the 822MWe (net) Candu unit will require investment of millions of dollars.
Bruce NPP has eight Cabdu reactors on site. Six units are scheduled to undergo refurbishment by 2020. Similar life-extension work has already been completed at Bruce units 1 and 2. In November 2009, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) renewed Bruce Power’s operating licences for 5 years (until 2014), as well as giving permission to refuel units 1 and 2. In May 2014, the CNSC extended the licence to May 2015.
The programme is being funded under a long-term agreement with the Independent Electricity System Operator to ensure output of 6,300MWe from the Bruce NPP site through a multi-year investment programme. The agreement entered into effect in January.
Bruce Power has estimated that the six remaining refurbishments will cost about CAD8bn (2014 dollars), in addition to CAD5bn in for other life-extension activities from 2016-53. Some CAD2.3bn will be invested in the programme between 2016 and 2020. Refurbishment is expected to increase the operating life of the reactors by 30-35 years.
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 in a process that takes three years. Bruce Power is one of the world's largest suppliers of the isotope.