Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) has announced the Commission’s decision that the existing environmental assessment for the Darlington New Nuclear Project (DNNP) is applicable to the General Electric Hitachi BWRX‑300 reactor, the reactor technology selected by Ontario Power Generation (OPG). “It is important to note that this decision does not authorise the construction of a BWRX‑300 reactor for the DNNP,” CNSC said. “The Commission will hold a future public hearing to consider OPG’s application for a licence to construct one BWRX‑300 reactor at the Darlington nuclear site.”

OPG submitted an application to the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) for a licence to construct the first BWRX-300 small modular reactor at the Darlington site in October 2022. The Ontario government and OPG last year announced plans to begin the licensing process for three additional BWRX-300 units at the site. In January 2024, OPG completed a regulatory hearing on the applicability of the project’s accepted environmental assessment with the selected BWRX-300 reactor technology.

Following completion of the 2024 site establishment work, the project will be ready for nuclear construction work to begin in early 2025, pending CNSC regulatory approval. A second regulatory hearing to review OPG’s application for the unit 1 SMR licence to construct is anticipated in October 2024.

In late 2023, OPG announced at the World Nuclear Exhibition in Paris that it is partnering with Canada’s Cameco, Urenco USA, France’s Orano and US-based Global Nuclear Fuel-Americas to ensure a fuel supply for the first SMR unit of its four-unit Darlington New Nuclear Project. In early December 2023, OPG and the Province of Ontario highlighted the start of site preparation activities for the SMR project at OPG’s Darlington Nuclear site in Clarington.

Image: Ontario's Premier Doug Ford announcing the start of work on Canada’s first grid-scale small modular reactor at the Darlington nuclear site in December 2022 (courtesy of Ontario Power Generation)