The Ontario Government has announced completion of the first phase of site preparation for Ontario’s first small modular reactor (SMR) being built at Darlington. The government said Ontario Power Generation (OPG) has now completed the early works for the SMR on time and on budget. OPG announced in March that early phase works for the Darlington New Nuclear Project to construct the first of up to four BWRX-300 SMRs had been completed, clearing the way for the main site preparation work to begin.

The site has now been transitioned into the care of the Darlington New Nuclear Project’s construction partner, Aecon, to allow for main site preparation to begin. This work will involve excavation, the construction of shoring walls, as well as land clearance for three additional units. “We are today announcing the next phase of construction on the first small modular reactor of its kind in our country and across the G7 and part of the industrialised world,” said Ontario’s newly appointed Minister of Energy & Electrification Stephen Lecce.

 “The thousands of jobs being created to support Ontario’s international position as a supplier of nuclear technology and the thousands more supporting nuclear power generation in Ontario will help drive the provincial economy for years to come,” said Jeff Parnell, President of the Power Workers’ Union. “The nuclear supply chain provides jobs and economic prosperity across Ontario. “Nuclear power is the backbone of our clean electricity system, providing secure, affordable and zero emission baseload electricity to Ontario. The construction of the new SMRs at Darlington, the proposed large-scale reactors at the Bruce and the refurbishment of four reactors in Pickering will continue to serve Ontarians into the future.”

The government’s Powering Ontario’s Growth Plan includes significant investments in nuclear energy including:

  • Starting pre-development work at Bruce Power to site the first large-scale nuclear build in over three decades which could power up to the equivalent of 4.8m homes.
  • Conducting site preparation and planning for four SMRs as part of the Darlington New Nuclear Project which could power the equivalent of 1.2m homes.
  • Supporting OPG’s plan to proceed with the next steps towards refurbishing the Pickering Nuclear Generating Station, which could power the equivalent of 2m homes.

In addition, the Ontario Government announced the successful completion of trade missions to Romania and France, securing significant deals that will support Ontario’s economy and workforce. This mission, led by Lecce, days after his appointment, along with Minister of Education Todd Smith, included the signing of new agreements with SN Nuclearelectrica (SNN) in Romania and Stellarex in France.

In Romania, Lecce and Smith joined Romanian Energy Minister Sebastian Burduja for the signing of a deal totalling CAD360m ($262m) between OPG subsidiary Canadian Nuclear Partners and SNN to support refurbishment of Romania’s Cernavoda NPP unit 1.

In France, Smith joined OPG and fusion technology company Stellarex to sign a memorandum of understanding to explore opportunities for the development and deployment of fusion energy in Ontario.

Lecce and Smith also met with European government representatives and energy companies to showcase the province’s strength as a world-leader in nuclear energy. This included meetings with Romanian Minister of Energy Sebastian Burduja, EnergoNuclear and, Romatom. They also hosted a Nuclear Education Roundtable alongside leaders of Europe’s nuclear industry and Ontario universities to discuss workforce and talent gaps in Romania’s nuclear sector and opportunities for future collaboration.