Durham Chair says adding to nuclear fleet in Clarington will have “lasting impact”

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Published July 12, 2023 at 11:19 am

The expansion of the small modular reactor fleet at Darlington will “be felt across the country,” said Durham Chair John Henry.

The Regional CEO couldn’t attend last week’s announcement in Clarington that the Ontario government is investing in three additional small modular reactors – each capable of powering 300,000 homes – for the Darlington nuclear site.

But his support for the announcement was clear.

“The benefits of the expansion of OPG’s SMR fleet at its Darlington site will be felt across the country. It will help to meet growing electricity demands; achieve climate change goals; and create high quality jobs that will have a lasting impact on our local economy for generations to come,” Henry said. “This investment will continue to attract some of the largest and most innovative companies in the energy industry (as well as) some of the brightest and most talented students in Canada.”

Ontario Power Generation (OPG), along with its corporate partners, is already building a single pre-approved SMR on the site, which is also more than two-thirds of way through a $12.8 billion refurbishment.

Subject to Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) regulatory approvals on construction, the additional SMRs could come online between 2034 and 2036, explained Ontario Energy Minister Todd Smith. This timing would allow OPG to apply knowledge from the construction of the first unit to deliver cost savings on subsequent units.

Smith also announced last week the Province will build a new plant at Bruce Nuclear on the shores of Lake Huron – already the world’s second largest nuclear station – that will be the first new, large-scale nuclear plant in Ontario in 30 years.

At the same press conference Smith declared the hoped-for refurbishment of Pickering Nuclear would also be a go, which was all great news for Henry.

“We are – and will continue to be – at the forefront of decarbonizing waste and energy systems; breaking ground and leading the way in innovation to build a healthy and prosperous tomorrow,” Henry said, adding that the recent news was a “celebration” of the work being done in the region to “drive advancements in nuclear energy (that are) not just for Durham, but for Canada.”

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