Canada’s Bruce Power has filed an application with the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) to prepare a site for the potential construction of new reactors.
Linda J. Keen, president and chief executive of the CNSC commented: “The CNSC has already defined the licensing process for new nuclear power plants in anticipation of such an application,” adding: “We are ready to move forward on this application – and any other applications that meet the criteria set out earlier this year.”
The move marks another step in a process begun in January 2004, when Bruce Power announced it would consider the feasibility of restarting Bruce A Units 1 and 2, refurbishing its four Bruce B reactors and potentially building Canada’s first new reactors in a generation.
Having filed its initial application, Bruce Power will now await further direction from the CNSC on the next steps in the regulatory process, but Keen has already pointed out that an environmental assessment (EA) with meaningful opportunities for public participation is a key pre-requisite.
Duncan Hawthorne, Bruce Power’s president and chief executive said: “We have done a lot of analysis work over the last two years, but to better define our options we now have to embark upon a more formal evaluation process,” adding that he anticipates an environmental assessment could take up to three years to complete.
Any application to build new reactors would also be subject to review under the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act.
Bruce Power, a partnership among Cameco Corporation, TransCanada Corporation, BPC Generation Infrastructure Trust, the Power Workers’ Union and The Society of Energy Professionals, currently operates six units and is in the process of restarting two more. However, all four Bruce B units and one at Bruce A will need to be refurbished or replaced between 2015 and 2020. Currently, all of Bruce Power’s reactors are Canadian-designed CANDU units. Ontario’s Power Authority has also said that any new reactors should be built on existing sites and that decisions be made based on the best technology offered at the best price to Ontario ratepayers. However, while Bruce will consider several reactor designs Hawthorne did say: “Bruce Power is an all-Canadian company and the impact on Canadian jobs will be a big part of our decision-making process.”
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