New Energy minister in Clarington Thursday for major nuclear announcement

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Published June 12, 2024 at 3:18 pm

Darlington
Darlington Nuclear refurbishment

Newly minted Energy Minister Stephen Lecce makes his first official pilgrimage to the Darlington nuclear plant Thursday, exactly a week after being bumped from the education portfolio to the newly named Energy and Electrification ministry.

There is no official word on the nature of his visit but Lecce just returned from a 36-hour visit to Romania, which is home to two Canadian-designed CANDU nuclear reactors and is preparing for a refurbishment of one of the units. Romania has also signed agreements to build a 12-module small module reactors (SMR) plant, with a similar project now underway in Clarington.

Lecce (along with former energy minister Todd Smith, who is now serving in Lecce’s post in Education) met with his counterpart in Romania Monday to “sign a major deal to export Ontario nuclear expertise” and “further solidify our position” as a global clean energy leader.

Romania’s two CANDU 6 reactors – the first plant came online in 1996 and the second, thanks in part to a 218 million (Euro) finance package from Canada, in 2007 – supply 20 per cent of the country’s power.

Each plant generates 650 megawatts.

Romania made the decision in 2017 to refurbish Unit 1 and hired Candu Energy, Canadian Commercial Corporation and Italy’s Ansaldo Nucleare to jointly carry out the work; a project worth about $800 million.

Refurbishing CANDU 6 units involves the replacement of all calandria tubes, steam generators and instrumentation and control systems to extend the operating lifetime by at least 25 years.

The country also signed a memorandum of understanding with NuScale power in 2019 to evaluate the development, licensing and construction small modular reactors. The agreement to build the 12-module SMR plant in 2021.

At this point Canadian technology is not involved, with Romania using public-private partners from the USA, Japan, South Korea and the United Arab Emirates on the $275 project.

Lecce will be speaking at about 10:30 a.m. Thursday.

Lecce, Smith in Romania for energy deal

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