Bruce nuclear power plant in CanadaAddressing the Empire Club of Canada on 14 October, Bruce Power president and CEO Mike Rencheck announced NZ-2050, the company’s strategy “to contribute to a net zero Canada, while growing the economy and supporting innovation”.

“The COVID-19 pandemic we are fighting has demonstrated the importance of tackling big challenges together and doing everything we can to make a difference,” said Rencheck. “This is what our NZ-2050 strategy is all about. We will only be successful by immediately leveraging our best assets and fostering innovation, which will lead to economic prosperity across Canada.”

He added that the  NZ-2050 strategy “builds on a proven foundation we have established through Canada’s largest private infrastructure and clean energy project”. It also “recognises the reality that clean energy solutions need to be innovative and contribute to our quality of life in a meaningful way”.

The NZ-2050 strategy consists of five pillars:

  • Optimise and leverage existing investments in Canada’s largest private-sector infrastructure project to drive further decarbonisation;
  • Foster innovation in new energy technologies including new nuclear and fusion energy;
  • Utilise nuclear power generation to produce clean fuels and electrify industrial processes and transportation with an historic opportunity to contribute to a national hydrogen and clean fuels strategy;
  • Create an ecosystem of “green collar” jobs including the nuclear, manufacturing, and energy development sectors with a focus on diversity and more representation from women, visible minorities and Indigenous peoples; and
  • Inspire innovation by supporting strong social responsibility and sustainability, and providing contributions to global health such as life-saving medical isotopes as the world battles COVID-19.

“These pillars will guide our contributions and focus as an organisation as we make historic and long-term investments in Canada’s single largest site for clean electricity, which will support thousands of jobs annually in Canada,” Rencheck said.

Bruce Power also announced 2021 initiatives in conjunction with the Nuclear Innovation Institute (NII)/Bruce Power Centre for Next Generation Nuclear. These included:

  • A study into the next 50 years of the Bruce Power site – as the world’s largest operating nuclear facility with assets that can be optimised, enhanced, leveraged and life-extended, Bruce Power can have a profound impact on Canada’s clean energy future. This study will be released in 2021.
  • An NII investigation into the role of new nuclear and fusion energy technology as part of Canada’s clean energy future alongside existing nuclear. This builds off an announcement earlier this month on the potential for micro-reactors.
  • A Hydrogen Unity Project – at a time when there are divisions in Canada on energy issues, solutions are needed that can be a win for all provinces. The Centre will evaluate the opportunity for mass production of hydrogen using nuclear technology and evaluate opportunities for alignment with the oil and gas, transportation and electricity generation sectors. This will explore economic benefits, regional opportunities and greenhouse gas reductions.

Bruce Power said any strategies need to recognise that the COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world. “Fighting COVID-19, placing greater importance on global human health along with retooling and economic recovery need to be integrated with achieving Net Zero.” The Bruce Power Retooling and Economic Recovery Council is to launch a Panel Review to determine opportunities for enhancing global health through medical isotopes, leveraging the nuclear supply chain to be self-sufficient with PPE, and further opportunities to expand sterilisation using Cobalt-60.

The Bruce nuclear power plant comprises eight Candu reactor units which are currently undergoing life extension including a  Major Component Replacement Project. Four of Bruce Power’s reactors produce Cobalt-60, widely used in medicine. Production of Lutetium-177, a key isotope used to treat prostate cancer, is expected to be enabled at Bruce Power by 2022 through a partnership with Kinectrics and Framatome.

NII, a partnership between Bruce Power and the County of Bruce founded in 2018, is an independent, not-for-profit, membership-based organisation created as a platform for innovation in the industry, including the development of small modular reactors.