Bruce Power’s plan to add years to the operating life of Bruce A Unit 3 has received a significant boost thanks to the success of a complex maintenance program on the unit’s fuel channels.

Known as West Shift, this program sees crews move fuel channels that have elongated over years of high temperatures, radiation and pressure back into their original position. To do that, each channel must be cut free from the reactor, then pulled back and welded into place, which ultimately prolongs the reactor’s life.

When the 750 megawatt unit was taken offline on Sept. 15 for its current maintenance program, crews had planned to shift more than 60 channels during the approximately two month outage. However, the program has been so successful that Bruce Power bumped its target to 98 channels earlier this week, of which more than 80 have already been moved.

A recently completed boiler inspection program also allows Bruce Power to extend the expected operating life of Bruce A Unit 4 to 2015.

“We have always understood that the life-limiting items of these CANDU reactors designs are the boilers and the reactor pressure tubes. This year, through innovation, and sound engineering theory we have proven that the longevity of our units can be increased to provide an extended period of clean, safe and environmentally sound energy,” said Duncan Hawthorne, Bruce Power’s President and Chief Executive Officer.

“Without a successful West Shift, Unit 3 was facing the end of its operating life in 2009 and we had to prove that we could actually complete the fuel channel work we knew it required. I’m pleased to say we have now passed that test. Success of this complex field work is expected to extend the life of Unit 3 through 2010.”

Bruce Power also continues to successfully advance its work on Units 1 and 2 and it expects that these units will be placed back in commercial service in the first half of 2010.


About Bruce A

The Bruce A Limited Partnership is a partnership among TransCanada Corporation, BPC Generation Infrastructure Trust, the Power Workers’ Union and The Society of Energy Professionals.

For further information, please contact:

John Peevers                   519-361-6583