Ontario confirms its commitment to nuclear technology development

16 November 2020

Ontario is developing small and advanced reactorsCanada’s Province of Ontario on 13 November announced its ongoing commitment to nuclear power, including development of new nuclear technologies. It said it continues to expand the range of future opportunities for the Bruce Power site and aligns with the company’s strategy to contribute to a Net Zero Canada by 2050.

The Clean Energy Frontier Region, which includes Bruce, Grey and Huron counties, is home to Bruce Power, more than 60 nuclear companies, Ontario’s Nuclear Innovation Institute (NII) and key electricity transmission lines.

“Our Life-Extension Programme is a fundamental contributor to providing Ontario’s residents and businesses with clean, affordable electricity and life-saving medical isotopes for the long term, which includes advancing new technologies that leverage our current infrastructure,” said Mike Rencheck, Bruce Power’s president and CEO. “We have established a capability in this region that will allow us to be home to new technologies including small modular reactors (SMRs), and hydrogen production.”

Together with New Brunswick Power, SaskPower and Ontario Power Generation, Bruce Power has been developing a strategy for the use of SMRs since the provincial governments of Ontario, New Brunswick and Saskatchewan signed a memorandum of understanding in 2019. The MOU puts in place a framework for action to deploy SMRs in their respective jurisdictions.

“Bruce Power has been and continues to be at the forefront of innovation while providing reliable, affordable energy to Ontario consumers,” said Bill Walker, Associate Minister of Energy, and MPP for Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound.  “Our government supports the development of small modular reactors in Ontario and supports the efforts of Bruce Power in its pursuit of next generation nuclear technologies to power a clean and prosperous future for our province and beyond.

“This has the potential to build on the life extension project underway at Bruce Power with a host community and champion that will bring these technologies forward in the years to come.”

In order to advance this future opportunity, the Bruce Power Centre for Next Generation Nuclear was launched in August with Ontario Premier Doug Ford, Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe and Greg Rickford, Ontario’s Minister of Energy, Northern Development and Mines, and Minister of Indigenous Affairs, to explore paths to develop innovative energy sources such as SMRs and hydrogen power.

“Our government, alongside our provincial and industry partners, is leading the charge on SMR deployment in Canada,” said Rickford. “We are leveraging our nuclear expertise and bringing our made-in-Ontario technology to the forefront to lead the world in the next generation of nuclear innovation.”

As part of Bruce Power’s Net Zero 2050 strategy, launched in October, the Bruce Power Centre for Next Generation Nuclear at the Nuclear Innovation Institute will undertake the following activities in 2021:

  • A study into the next 50 years of the Bruce Power site, the world’s largest operating nuclear facility;
  • Examination of the role of new nuclear and fusion energy technology as part of a clean energy future alongside existing Bruce Power nuclear production. This will include grid-scale SMRs with Ontario-based Terrestrial Energy and micro reactors;
  • A Hydrogen Unity Project - the Centre will evaluate mass production of hydrogen using nuclear technology and opportunities for alignment with the oil and gas, transportation and electricity generation sectors.

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world, placing greater importance on global human health along with retooling and economic recovery need to be integrated with achieving net zero, Bruce Power said.

The Bruce Power Retooling and Economic Recovery Council will 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 sterilization using Cobalt-60.

Ontario Power Generation (OPG) also announced resumption of planning activities for future nuclear power generation at its Darlington site, to host a Small Modular Reactor (SMR). “A new SMR development on this site as early as 2028 would benefit all Ontarians while further cementing Durham Region and Ontario as the clean energy capital of the world,” said Ken Hartwick, OPG president and CEO.

Photo: Ontario is developing small and advanced reactors

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