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Ontario starts work to site the first large-scale nuclear build in over three decades

July 17, 2023  By  Anthony Capkun


Ontario Minister of Energy, Todd Smith, announces the government’s support for planning and consultation to explore nuclear expansion at Bruce Power (July 5, 2023). Source: Bruce Power.

July 17, 2023 – Ontario’s Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) has recommended the province begin planning, siting, and environmental assessment work for long-lead assets—including nuclear power—to meet increasing electricity demand in the 2030s and beyond, which will be driven by “strong economic growth, electrification and population growth”.

To that end, the Ministry of Energy says the province is commencing pre-development work to site the first large-scale nuclear build in over three decades to prepare for rising electricity demand, power electrification, and fuel the province’s strong economic growth.

“With our plan already in place to meet demand this decade, we are starting the pre-development work to identify future generation options, including reliable, affordable and clean nuclear energy, that will power our province into the future,” said Todd Smith, Minister of Energy.

According to the ministry, IESO’s Pathways to Decarbonization Report forecasts that Ontario may need to more than double its electricity generation capacity—from 42,000 MW to 88,000 MW—by 2050. The report forecasts an additional 17,800 MW of nuclear power could be required to meet that increased demand.

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Bruce Power produces 30% of Ontario’s electricity on fewer than 1000 hectares of land, with space for incremental infrastructure development while protecting the environment, says the generator. It will undertake community consultations and conduct the environmental assessment for federal approval to determine the feasibility of siting up to 4800 MW of new nuclear generation on its current site (Tiverton, Ont.).

“Nuclear power has been the stable backbone of Ontario’s clean electricity system for decades […]” said Mike Rencheck, president & CEO, Bruce Power. “We are starting the federal Impact Assessment process to look at new nuclear generation on our site now to maximize the future optionality for clean electricity in the province.”

This pre-development work will help evaluate the suitability of the site by examining the impacts of a new facility on the environment, the public, and Indigenous communities. It will take several years to complete, and is a prerequisite for the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission’s multi-stage licensing process for new large-scale nuclear stations.

“Ontario’s electricity system is already cleaner than California or Germany, and the Bruce Power nuclear site was instrumental in helping to phase out coal and establishing Ontario’s clean energy advantage,” said Dave Butters, president, Association of Power Producers of Ontario (APPrO).

The Bruce Nuclear Generating Station is the largest operating nuclear generating station in the world, says the ministry, with the capacity to produce 6550 MW of electricity.


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