Partnership changes at Bruce Power good news for refurbishment

Borealis new majority owner


By Barb McKay


Partnership restructuring at Bruce Power marks a positive step forward for the planned refurbishment of Bruce Power’s remaining units, according to the nuclear power corporation’s president and CEO.


Bruce Power announced Friday that Borealis Infrastructure, on behalf of Ontario Municipal Employees Retirement System (OMERS), is acquiring Cameco’s 31.6 per cent interest in Bruce B for $450 million, increasing its share to 56 per cent.  


In a conference call with media Friday, Duncan Hawthorne said the acquisition provides Bruce Power with an opportunity to put plans for refurbishment, as outlined in the province’s Long-Term Energy Plan, into action.


“We have a financially-stable group of investors,” he said. “The financial capacity they have is strong.”


That capacity puts Bruce Power in a good position to approach other backers to invest in the planned refurbishment of its CANDU reactors and to advance discussions with the Ontario Power Authority to secure a contract. The next phase of refurbishment work is expected to begin in 2016, beginning with Unit 4 on Aug. 1 of that year. Hawthorne said he anticipates $8 billion will be invested in Bruce B alone and $15 billion for all remaining units in total.


In a media release, Hawthorne said Cameco was integral in the forming of Bruce Power in 2001 and has been a strong partner. With the move towards further refurbishment of the units, the company is now focusing on its role as a world leader in the nuclear fuel market.


“Cameco, at its core, is a mining company,” he told media Friday. “They want to focus their capital and energy on the things that their shareholders expect of them.”


The acquisition of Cameco’s interest by Borealis opens the door for other shareholders – TransCanada Corporation, Power Workers' Union and Society of Energy Professionals – to increase their ownership in Bruce Power if they choose. Hawthorne said he expects when all is said and done the partnership structure will look quite similar to that of Bruce A.


“We are very pleased with today's announcement that Borealis Infrastructure [the investment wing of the Ontario Municipal Employees Pension Plan (OMERS)], will acquire Cameco's 31.6 percent interest in Bruce Power's Bruce B nuclear generating Station,” PWO president Don MacKinnon said in a media release. “This news helps set the stage for a stable and sustainable future for the employees of Bruce Power and the communities near the Bruce site for decades to come.


“The PWU is strongly committed to the success of Bruce Power and we are looking forward to assessing our exciting new options in the ownership structure."