CNSC okays renewal of site preparation license for Darlington SMR project

October 15, 2021, 7:02AMNuclear News
The Darlington nuclear power plant.

The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission has approved the renewal of the site preparation license for Ontario Power Generation’s Darlington new-build nuclear project. First granted in 2012, the license is now valid until October 11, 2031.

In making its decision, the CNSC considered submissions from OPG and 61 intervenors, as well as recommendations from commission staff. A public hearing on the matter was held in June.

OPG announced in October of last year that it was working with three grid-scale small modular reactor technology developers—GE Hitachi, Terrestrial Energy, and X-energy—to advance engineering and design work, with the goal of identifying options for future deployment. The following month, the utility announced that it was resuming planning activities for future nuclear power generation at Darlington—located in Clarington, Ontario, and currently home to four 878-MWe CANDU pressurized heavy water reactors—with a goal of hosting a grid-size SMR as soon as 2028. (Original plans for the project had been focused on the construction of traditional large reactors.)

What they’re saying: “Nuclear energy will play a key role in meeting net-zero goals, and SMRs are the flexible, scalable answer to some of today’s most complex energy questions,” said Ken Hartwick, OPG’s president and chief executive officer. “OPG has the experience and expertise to lead the way on this next generation of clean energy, and we look forward to having an SMR in place in time to help meet future energy demands. We are pleased to receive CNSC approval to take the next steps in this direction.”

In case you missed it: According to a report from the Conference Board of Canada, released in March, a 300-MWe grid-scale SMR built in Ontario and operated for 60 years would result in the following economic benefits to the province:

  • Create direct and related employment on an average annual basis as follows:
  • Close to 700 jobs during project development.
  • More than 1,600 jobs during manufacturing and construction.
  • Over 200 jobs during operations.
  • About 160 jobs during decommissioning.
  • Have a positive impact on gross domestic product of more than $2.5 billion.
  • Result in an increase of provincial revenues of more than $870 million.

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