OPG resumes planning for new nuclear at Darlington

November 25, 2020, 6:57AMNuclear News

Darlington nuclear power plant. Photo: OPG

Ontario Power Generation (OPG) recently announced the resumption of planning activities for future nuclear power generation at its Darlington site, with a goal of hosting a grid-size small modular reactor as soon as 2028. Originally, plans for the Darlington new nuclear project were focused on the construction of traditional large reactors.

Located in Clarington, Ontario, Darlington is the only site in Canada currently licensed for new nuclear. OPG was granted a license from the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) in 2012 to allow site preparation activities for the project. The company has applied to renew the license, which is set to expire in August 2022. The CNSC will hold a public hearing on June 9–10, 2021, to consider the license renewal.

Early last month, OPG announced that it was working with three grid-scale SMR technology developers—GE Hitachi, Terrestrial Energy, and X-energy—to advance engineering and design work, with the goal of identifying options for future deployment.

Benefits: A study undertaken by the Conference Board of Canada showed a strong economic boost to Ontario from the construction and 60 years of operation of a single reactor in the province, according to OPG on November 13. Direct, indirect, and spin-off related employment, the study said, would result in an annual average of approximately 700 jobs during project development, 1,600 jobs during manufacturing and construction, 200 jobs during operations, and 160 jobs during decommissioning.

In addition, the study found that the project would have a positive impact on direct, indirect, and induced gross domestic product of more than $2.5 billion and would result in an increase of provincial revenues of more than $870 million.

The next generation: “OPG is paving the way on the development and deployment of the next generation of nuclear power in Canada,” said Ken Hartwick, OPG’s president and chief executive officer. “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.”

Greg Rickford, Canada’s minister of energy, mines, northern development, and indigenous affairs, said, “Our government is proud to support OPG’s efforts to develop cutting-edge SMR technology right here in Durham at the Darlington nuclear station by the end of this decade. Ontario and our provincial partners in Saskatchewan, New Brunswick, and Alberta are leading the charge on SMR deployment in Canada and showcasing our nuclear expertise and made-in-Ontario technology to the world.”

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