Unit 7 sets record of 646 consecutive days of reliable operation, delivering clean energy and cancer-fighting medical isotopes

Bruce Power’s Unit 7 was taken off-line April 18 for a planned outage, marking its historical record run of 646 consecutive days of providing safe, clean and reliable energy to the people of Ontario.

This improved on the strongly performing unit’s previous best of 487 days, achieved in 2016, and is the eight-unit Bruce site’s second longest after Unit 1’s post-refurbishment run of 694 days in 2020.

Unit 7 came online in 1986, becoming a top performer in the CANDU fleet shortly thereafter. Originally scheduled to be shut down in 2015, it has continued to operate reliably and the current maintenance and inspection outage will ensure it’s able to do so until its Major Component Replacement (MCR) outage in 2028.

“The excellent performance of Unit 7 after nearly 40 years of operation shows us that investing in our units to extend their lives is the right thing to do for the people, businesses and hospitals in Ontario, and it’s the right thing to do as the need for clean energy increases,” said Chris Mudrick, Bruce Power’s Chief Nuclear Officer and Executive Vice-President. “Operational performance like this is a testament to our people and demonstrates how well our teams are maintaining and operating these assets.”

The two-month Unit 7 planned outage represents an investment of $121.2 million into maintenance and inspection work. Days after the unit was brought off-line, the other Bruce B operating units will also be removed from service for a Vacuum Building Outage (VBO). A VBO must be performed approximately each decade to test the vital safety system, requiring all of the station’s units to be shut down simultaneously for 20 days to allow for maintenance and inspection.

“The Unit 7 outage and the VBO are huge undertakings,” said Adrian London, Vice-President, Bruce B. “Years of preparation and planning has gone into this and we have a dedicated team to carry out this work safely and successfully to bring the units back online to serve the people of Ontario as the demand for electricity ramps up for the summer months.”

The Unit 7 outage will also give a boost to the world market for cancer-fighting medical isotopes, including a harvest of cobalt-60 and upgrades to increase its production of lutetium-177.

The cobalt-60 harvested toward the end of the outage will be processed and distributed worldwide by Ottawa-based Nordion to sterilize billions of single-use medical devices, such as syringes, surgical masks, gowns and gloves, as well as in the specialized treatment of breast cancer and brain tumours.

In 2022, Unit 7 became the first commercial reactor to produce lutetium-177 along with partners Isogen (a Kinectrics and Framatome company), ITM, and Saugeen Ojibway Nation (SON). Lutetium-177 is produced with the unit online and regular shipments are made to ITM’s manufacturing facility in Germany for processing. ITM is a supplier of lutetium-177 to health care facilities around the world, and the isotope has been successfully used in various clinical and commercial radiopharmaceutical cancer treatments.

Bruce Power’s Life-Extension Program and MCR Project will see Units 3-8 refurbished over the coming decade to produce clean electricity until 2064 and beyond. Unit 6 was returned to service ahead of schedule and on budget after its MCR outage last year Unit 3’s MCR is progressing well, with Unit 4 scheduled to begin next year.

About Bruce Power

Bruce Power is an electricity company based in Bruce County, Saugeen Ojibway Nation Territory, 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 cancer-fighting 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, TikTok and YouTube.