28 October 2012

Canadian Nuclear Power at Full Capacity for the First Time in Nearly Two Decades

Two events in October have led to all twenty reactors in Canada operating simultaneously for the first time for nearly twenty years. Firstly, the second unit at the Bruce A nuclear power plant started operation in mid-October 2012 following a shutdown period and extensive refurbishment that started in 1995. The cost to the Bruce Power corporation to update units 1 and 2 has been enormous — $4.9 billion, almost double the original estimate. During this period engineering works included the replacement of all the pressure tubes and calandria tubes, electrical system upgrades, and the first ever replacement of a steam generator at a Canadian nuclear plant. Then on 26 October 2012 the life extension program of Point Lepreau was completed. This controversial refurbishment project to extend the plant’s operational life to 2025 was three years behind schedule and $1 billion over its $1.4-billion budget.