With the monumental construction phase of the Major Component Replacement portion of its Unit 6 refurbishment now substantially complete, Bruce Power is turning its attention to the process of returning the unit to service.
Unit 6, which provides enough electricity to power a city the size of Hamilton, is on track to resume providing clean, reliable energy to Ontario homes and businesses later this year, and for decades to come.
Despite the pandemic, the company reached a major milestone this week with the substantial completion of the construction phase of its Unit 6 MCR Project on-time and on-budget and has shifted focus to returning the unit to service later this year as Bruce Power progresses Ontario’s largest clean-energy infrastructure project.
Bruce Power Operations staff will now begin refueling the unit with 5,760 fuel bundles in May, while other lead-out activities and regulatory inspections will be completed to return it to Ontario’s electricity grid in the fourth quarter of this year.
Unit 6 was the first of six units Bruce Power and its partners will refurbish between 2020 and 2033, a privately funded investment into Units 3-8 that will extend the life of the site through 2064.
“Nuclear energy is crucial to powering our growing province and thriving economy and the completion of construction on Bruce Power’s Unit 6 Major Component Replacement Project is a critical step as we ensure the province can meet the demand for clean, low-cost electricity,” said Hon. Todd Smith, Minster of Energy. “Our strong nuclear industry has enabled one of the cleanest electricity systems in the world and, as a leader in nuclear refurbishment, we’re ensuring this carries forward for the people, businesses and hospitals in Ontario.”
Unit 6 was removed from service in January 2020 and Bruce Power and its construction partners (including Aecon, United Engineers & Constructors, SNC-Lavalin, BWXT, ES Fox, ATS, Black and MacDonald, Makwa Cahill, Highland Nuclear, SGT, Framatome, Kinectrics and all our subvendors) overcame a major hurdle as it wrestled with the impacts and uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic to progress the project toward completion.
The second unit to undergo major component replacement is Unit 3 which was taken offline March 1 for defueling, with bulkhead installation and the Primary Heat Transport system ‘drain and dry’ as the next steps in the project prior to starting construction activity, which begins with major component disassembly later this quarter. Each successive outage over the next decade will build off the successes and innovations of the Unit 6 MCR.
In 2022, The Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) released the Pathways to Decarbonization (P2D) study to develop a strategy to achieve zero electricity sector emissions that considers reliability, cost and impacts on broader electrification efforts.
The report maintains that a range of clean energy solutions will be required to meet climate targets and that nuclear energy has and will continue to play a crucial role in a clean energy transition.
As the world’s largest operating nuclear facility and a key strategic asset for the province, Bruce Power is investing in securing our future through our Life-Extension Program that enables operation to 2064 and beyond, in support of climate change targets and future clean energy needs.
The construction phase of the Unit 6 MCR, completed with execution partner Shoreline Power Group and a multitude of talented and dedicated tradespeople from the Ontario Building Trades, included the removal and replacement of 960 feeder tubes, 480 fuel channels, and 480 calandria tubes. Steam generator work was completed earlier this year by SGRT a 50/50 joint venture between Aecon and SGT (a partnership between Framatome and United Engineers & Constructors).
“The Unit 6 MCR outage wasn’t without its challenges for Bruce Power and our construction and supply chain partners,” said Mike Rencheck, Bruce Power’s President and CEO. “I am proud of how we all worked together, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, to finish construction building activities, and set ourselves up for success in our subsequent MCRs. We learned a lot, and new innovations will be implemented on future MCRs making them faster and less expensive.”
Shoreline Power Group, a joint venture between Aecon, SNC-Lavalin and United Engineers & Constructors, executed the fuel channel and feeder replacement work on Unit 6 and will continue with the remaining MCR units.
“Shoreline brings considerable nuclear technical knowledge and years of experience and expertise,” said Jean-Louis Servranckx, President and CEO, Aecon Group Inc., on behalf of Shoreline. “We’re proud of the entire team’s work partnering with Bruce Power to substantially complete the Unit 6 project and we look forward to working alongside Bruce Power in the remaining MCR outages over the next decade.”
A 2022 independent report by GHD Limited found that Bruce Power’s MCR Project will help prevent the predicted increase in the greenhouse gas emission intensity of the electricity grid as the demand for electricity grows.
Bruce Power’s Life-Extension Program and MCR Project will extend the operational life of each reactor by 30 to 35 years and, as a result, help mitigate the predicted increase in GHG emissions intensity of the electricity grid. Bruce Power’s MCR and Asset Management investments will be closely coordinated with Project 2030, a program that leverages innovation and new efficient technology to increase site capacity, targeting upwards of 7,000 Megawatts net peak output in the early-2030s, once all units have completed their MCRs.
It will also ensure a steady supply of cancer-fighting medical isotopes for the world market for decades to come.
“The refurbishment of Unit 6 is a demonstration of Bruce Power’s dedication to being a leader in Ontario’s nuclear energy sector. Because of this commitment, Bruce Power is able to generate significant economic impacts by way of clean, reliable and afford energy, in addition to creating good jobs, community support and medical advancements through the production cancer fighting isotopes,” said Lisa Thompson, MPP for Huron-Bruce.
Bruce Power’s Life-Extension Program will generate billions in annual economic benefits in communities throughout the province. It directly and indirectly supports 22,000 jobs annually and injects $4 billion into the province’s economy.
“We’ve seen the economic impact that the Bruce Power MCR Project has brought to our area, both through well-paying jobs for members of our communities and through suppliers locating to the area and through investments in charities and infrastructure,” said Rick Byers, MPP Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound. “The ripple effect of the nuclear industry can be felt all across the province through a strong Made-in-Ontario supply chain and we’re showing our strength and making a strong case for nuclear when it’s needed most through projects such as Bruce Power’s MCR.”
About Bruce Power
Bruce Power is an electricity company based in Bruce County, Ontario. We are powered by our people. Our 4,200 employees are the foundation of our accomplishments and are proud of the role they play in safely delivering clean, reliable nuclear power to families and businesses across the province and life-saving medical isotopes around the world. Bruce Power has worked hard to build strong roots in Ontario and is committed to protecting the environment and supporting the communities in which we live. Formed in 2001, Bruce Power is a Canadian-owned partnership of TC Energy, OMERS, the Power Workers’ Union and The Society of United Professionals. Learn more at www.brucepower.com and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and YouTube.