Bruce Power refurbishment to pick up in 2016


By Barb McKay


The next phase of refurbishment work at Bruce Power will begin August 2016.


Bruce Power’s president and CEO, Duncan Hawthorne, made the announcement last Wednesday during an employee and stakeholder luncheon at the site. The province has committed to refurbishing the remaining six CANDU nuclear reactors at Bruce Power as part of its new Long-Term Energy Plan. Hawthorne said work will begin with Unit 4 on Aug. 1, 2016, but the planning process needs to start now.


“It’s important that we spend time to plan out the project and make sure that the schedule we put together and the vendors we get (lead to success).”


Hawthorne said Bruce Power’s completion of the Bruce A restart project, which saw the refurbishment of Units 1 and 2, has provided valuable experience for what lies ahead.


“We have learned a lot of lessons,” he said. “They were expensive lessons, but there is nothing that we have not done before.”


The first step towards the next refurbishment is to work with the Ontario Power Authority to secure a contract, said Hawthorne. Then will come the challenge of gaining investors for the project. Bruce Power is looking at a $15 billion investment over the next 10 years.


“It will take convincing that we will do what we say we will do, when we say we will do it at the cost we say,” Hawthorne stressed.


He recalled saying in 2005 that the project would come in on time and on budget, he said. Instead, it took twice as long and cost twice as much.


“We can’t do that again,” Hawthorne said. “We won’t be allowed to do that again. The lessons we learned and the condition of the assets and the scale of the project give us the confidence that we will succeed.”


This year, he added, Bruce Power had a strong operational year and will need to perform well in 2014.

Bob Delaney, parliamentary assistant to Ontario Energy Minister Bob Chiarelli, was on hand for the announcement and said that nuclear plays a key role in Ontario’s Long-Term Energy Plan. While the province has cancelled any immediate plans to build two new nuclear reactors, Delaney said the project could be considered in the future. The province’s current goal is to refurbish the six remaining units at Bruce Power and four units at Darlington to extend their life. The combined refurbishments are expected to create a total of 9,000 new jobs.


“We have a clean, safe, affordable way to generate electricity,” he said. “We have something in Ontario that the rest of the world envies.”


Delaney said Bruce Power’s refurbishment of Units 1 and 2 make it possible to eliminate coal power by the end of next year.


“It wouldn’t be possible, it would be flat out impossible, without the work done at Bruce Power.”


Delaney said the units would be refurbished in sequence; Unit 3 starting in 2019, Unit 5 in 2022, Unit 6 in 2024, Unit 7 in 2026 and Unit 8 in 2028.