Unit 2 expected to be producing power in very near future
By Barb McKay
Last Wednesday was a very good day for Bruce Power.
After 15 years of being offline the nuclear power giant’s Unit 1 reactor successfully synchronized with the Ontario electricity grid and is now producing power. Bruce Power CEO Duncan Hawthorne praised his staff, who he said worked incredibly hard to get the unit operational.
“This is a really important milestone,” he said, “and I’m celebrating with the rest of the staff. This is tribute to dogged determination. People have worked through summer vacations to make this happen.”
Hawthorne said work on Unit 2 is finally nearing completion and the unit will return to service by the end of the fourth quarter, once testing is complete.
“We continue to make good progress on Unit 2 and I think we’ll have a similar announcement on it in the near future.”
Getting to this stage where Bruce Power’s eight nuclear reactor units will all be up and running, generating 6,300 megawatts of power, came with challenges. In May, Bruce Power encountered a setback when a stator in the turbine in Unit 2, shipped from the U.K., turned out to be faulty and was damaged when voltage was applied to it. Bruce Power filed a Force Majeure claim with the Ontario Power Authority (OPA),
indicating that it should not be faulted for the delay in getting Unit 2 synchronized with the Ontario power grid, and OPA agreed.
“Our original plan for 2012 would have been to bring Unit 2 online first,” Hawthorne said. “In terms of what was in our plan, we would have been on target had we not had the Force Majeure event.”
He noted that the level of investment into Bruce Power’s nuclear reactor units demonstrates a long-term commitment to produce power in Ontario. He added that the government is keen to have Bruce Power continue at its full 6,300-megawatt capacity for years to come. In a media release, Ontario Energy Minister Chris Bentley congratulated the company on its accomplishment.
“Ontario is building a modern, clean, reliable electricity system that families and businesses can count on,” he said. “This achievement by Bruce Power is an important step towards eliminating the use of coal fired electricity by the end of 2014.”
Hawthorne said he has received emails from around the world following the announcement.
“This has been the busiest site in North America for the past 10 years,” he said. “The whole challenge of bringing two units back simultaneously with so much new innovation has captured a lot of attention.”
Once Unit 2 comes online Bruce Power will turn its attention to Bruce B, Hawthorne said, and look to refurbish Units 5 and 6. He said the Bruce Power will need to take its case to potential investors and would approach this refurbishment quite differently. The units would most likely be taken offline one at a time.
“We might not do it as one big refurbishment,” he said. “We may do it in a series of stages rather than shutting the unit down for a number of years.”