OPG picks fuel suppliers for first Darlington SMR

December 1, 2023, 12:01PMNuclear News
Representatives of OPG and its partners announced new contracts at the World Nuclear Exhibition in Paris. (Photo: X/@urencoglobal)

At the World Nuclear Exhibition in Paris this week, Ontario Power Generation announced contracts with Canadian, French, and U.S. companies to ensure a fuel supply for the first of four GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy BWRX-300 small modular reactors planned for deployment at OPG’s Darlington nuclear power plant.

In January of this year, Wilmington, N.C.–based GEH, along with OPG and fellow Canadian firms SNC-Lavalin (now AtkinsRéalis) and Aecon, announced the signing of a contract for the deployment of a single BWRX-300 at the Darlington site. This summer, however, the project quadrupled in scope, when the government of Ontario announced that it was working with OPG to bring an additional three BWRX-300 SMRs to the plant.

The suppliers: According to the November 29 announcement, contracts have been signed with four firms:

  • Canada’s Cameco will supply natural uranium hexafluoride. Cameco has uranium mines in Saskatchewan and a UF6 conversion facility in Port Hope.
  • Urenco USA will provide uranium enrichment services from its operations in Eunice, N.M.
  • France’s Orano will provide additional enriched uranium product.
  • Global Nuclear Fuel–Americas, a GE-led joint venture, will provide fuel fabrication and related technical services and fuel assemblies.

Official words: “Access to clean energy at large scale is becoming a key determinant of a country’s competitiveness and security,” stated OPG president and chief executive officer Ken Hartwick. “Because of our leadership in nuclear generation and supply chains, Ontario and Canada are well positioned to work with companies from like-minded ally nations to send an important message to the world that a safe, secure, clean, global energy system is achievable through nuclear power.”

Tim Gitzel, Cameco’s president and CEO, said that “with growing recognition of the critical role nuclear power will play in supporting the clean energy transition, partnerships such as this will help strengthen and expand the nuclear fuel supply chain needed for the generation of reliable, carbon-free electricity.”

Orano Group CEO Nicolas Maes applauded “OPG’s determination to deploy first-of-a-kind technology to assist in meeting Canada’s climate goals,” adding that “the development of SMR technologies is key to the production of low-carbon electricity, essential in the fight against global warming.”

Urenco’s chief commercial officer Laurent Odeh said that his firm “has the knowledge and experience to play a leading role in the supply of enriched uranium for the reactors of tomorrow and is proud to be a supplier for this innovative and exciting project in Canada with our newest customer, OPG.”

Mike Chilton, executive vice president of Global Nuclear Fuel, commented, “We are proud to manufacture the fuel that will power the first grid-scale SMR in North America. This collaboration with our industry colleagues allows us to support OPG in delivering clean generation to Ontario.”

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