Two new AECL nuclear reactors for Darlington, Ontario

25 November 2010

The provincial government of Ontario announced it plans to finance at least two new nuclear plants and refurbish 10 others over the next 20 years. The authority is committed to nuclear continuing to provide around half of the province’s electricity supply. Canada currently has 18 nuclear units of which 16 are in Ontario.

The long-term energy plan for the province of Ontario, announced November 23 envisages using 87 billion Canadian dollars (85 billion US dollars, 63 billion euro) to build at least two nuclear plants and refurbish 10 others over the next 20 years, as well as pay for new wind, solar and biomass projects.

Two new units, providing 2000MW of capacity, will be built at the Darlington site which already houses four nuclear reactors; units at the Darlington and Bruce sites will to be modernised and the operating lifetime of units at the Pickering nuclear plant will be extended until 2020.

Extensive nuclear refurbishments will take place between 2015 and 2019, with Ontario relying on its natural gas-fired stations to maintain a reliable electricity supply. Nuclear units will shut down for three years while refurbishment takes place.

Ontario Power Generation, which owns and operates the Darlington and Pickering nuclear plants, is continuing with the environmental assessment and obtaining a site preparation licence for new plant at Darlington. In June 2009 Ontario suspended the procurement process for the two proposed Darlington units because of concern about pricing and uncertainty over the future of state owned Atomic Energy of Canada Limited (AECL).

The federal government is expected to identify a buyer for AECL by the end of 2010. The Ontario energy plan says that it expects the federal government to restructure AECL in a way that will allow Ontario to be able to complete a deal with the new owner.

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