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Bruce Power's Unit 6 refurbishment to start in 2020

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TIVERTON

Bruce Power now has the green light to begin its 13-year major component replacement program, beginning with Unit 6 in January 2020.

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The Independent Electricity System Operator has verified the company’s final cost estimate for the Unit 6 project, the nuclear operator announced Friday in a statement, which also touted its contributions to the provincial economy.

Bruce Power’s president and chief executive officer, Mike Rencheck, said in the statement that Ontario’s families and businesses will benefit from “low-cost, clean, reliable nuclear power, good jobs and life-saving medical isotopes for decades.”

He said the company will create and sustain 22,000 jobs across the province annually and inject $4 billion into Ontario’s economy each year.

The cost estimate for the Unit 6 MCR (Major Component Replacement) was within the framework established in Bruce Power’s contract with the IESO, Bruce Power said in the statement.

The IESO has a verification and ongoing due diligence role on a permanent basis, prior to each MCR, the statement said.

Bruce Power spokesman John Peevers said hiring will commence in 2019 of 2,000 skilled tradespeople, who are scheduled to carry out the $2.185-billion project in 46 months. Bruce Power currently employs 4,200 people.

Another $554 million investment will be spent, one-time spending on tooling for refurbishment of all six reactors. That work will be staggered, until the final unit is completed in 2033.

Cost overruns, if there were to be any, would be borne by the company, Peevers said.

Bruce Power’s overall Life-Extention Program started in January 2016, which the company says remains “on time and on budget.”

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This is work which could be done in advance, allowing a more focussed approach to the job of replacing the major components — including fuel channels, steam generators and reactor components including feeder tubes, Peevers said.

That life-extension work has added more than 100 megawatts of additional capacity since 2016, the company said.

Unit 6 alone produces more than 820 MW of electricity, which Bruce Power says would meet the needs of all of Northern Ontario.

Others from government and business chimed in on the milestone reached by Bruce Power and were quoted in the news release.

Energy Minister Greg Rickford echoed Rencheck’s comments, as did the local MPPs, Lisa Thompson, the education minister, and Bill Walker, the government and consumer services minister, stressed the positive benefits to the local rural, regional and provincial economy.

Rocco Rossi, president and CEO of the Ontario Chamber of Commerce and Mark Romoff, president and CEO of the Canadian Council for Public-Private Partnerships said they liked the cost of power, jobs and medical isotopes which will result.

“Bruce Power is viewed internationally as a ‘Made in Ontario’ success story . . .” Romoff said in the release.

Bruce Power’s major refurbishment is Canada’s largest infrastructure project, and is also the country’s largest public-private partnership, the Bruce Power statement said.

Kevin Brooks, president of Nordion, said in the statement that the refurbishment “secures a long-term supply of Cobalt-60 for decades to come.”

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