Darlington to get new nuclear reactor by 2028

OPG yesterday announced resumption of planning activities for Darlington New Nuclear, with the goal of hosting a Small Modular Reactor (SMR) as early as 2028.

It said the Darlington Nuclear station is an important part of Ontario’s clean energy future – the station provides close to 20 per cent of Ontario’s electricity, and the Darlington Refurbishment Project will ensure this world-class generator continues to provide reliable power for decades to come.

OPG currently holds a Site Preparation Licence, granted by the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC). To construct and operate a new reactor, further approvals, including additional CNSC licences, would be required. These licences must be obtained through an extensive regulatory process, which would include the opportunity for public input and a public hearing, said an OPG statement.

One of OPG’s current priorities is the successful renewal of the Site Preparation Licence, which was granted in 2012 and will expire in 2022. “Our application will be considered by the CNSC at a public hearing in June 2021. OPG will continue Indigenous and public outreach and communications in support of the licence renewal hearing and other project information as it becomes available,” said the statement.

What will it cost?

OPG is aiming to decide on an SMR technology by the end of 2021.

As no decisions have been made on the technology to be used, a precise estimate is not yet available. Any business case decision would be made with ratepayers in mind. The project would need to show benefit from an economic perspective, support the conclusions of the completed environmental assessment, and have the potential to be used by other Canadian jurisdictions, to achieve economies of scale and support the potential export market, said the statement.

A study undertaken by the Conference Board of Canada shows strong economic benefit to Ontario from construction and 60 years of operation of a single unit in the province. According to the report, direct, indirect and spin-off related employment would result in an annual average of approximately: 700 jobs during project development; 1,600 jobs during manufacturing and construction; 200 jobs during operations; and 160 jobs during decommissioning. It would have a positive impact on direct, indirect and induced Gross Domestic Product of more than $2.5 billion and result in an increase of provincial revenues of more than $870 million.

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