Tri-county region to lead Canada’s next generation of nuclear technology

On Friday, November 13th, the Province of Ontario announced an ongoing commitment to nuclear power – including development of new nuclear technologies – and a continuation to expand the range of future opportunities for the Bruce Power site and also aligns with the company’s strategy to contribute to a Net Zero Canada by 2050.

The Clean Energy Frontier Region, including Bruce, Grey and Huron counties (tri-county), is home to Bruce Power, more than 60 nuclear companies, Ontario’s Nuclear Innovation Institute (NII) and key electricity transmission lines that are connected to the fastest growing parts of the province, all bolstered by strong community support.

“Our Life-Extension Program is a fundamental contributor to providing Ontario’s residents and businesses with clean, affordable electricity and life-saving medical isotopes for the long term, which includes advancing new technologies that leverage our current infrastructure,” said Mike Rencheck, Bruce Power’s President and CEO. “We have established a capability in this region that will allow us to be home to new technologies including small modular reactors (SMRs), and hydrogen production.”

Along with New Brunswick Power, SaskPower and Ontario Power Generation, Bruce Power has been moving forward on developing a strategy for the use of SMRs since the Ontario, New Brunswick and Saskatchewan provincial governments signed a Memorandum of Understanding last year. The MOU will put in place a framework for action on the deployment of SMRs in their respective jurisdictions. Bruce Power will continue to play a part in this important work and is supportive of the work being advanced by OPG, SaskPower and NB Power in the regions they operate.

“Bruce Power has been and continues to be at the forefront of innovation while providing reliable, affordable energy to Ontario consumers,” said Bill Walker, Associate Minister of Energy, and MPP, Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound. “Our government supports the development of small modular reactors in Ontario and supports the efforts of Bruce Power in its pursuit of next generation nuclear technologies to power a clean and prosperous future for our province and beyond.

“This has the potential to build on the life extension project underway at Bruce Power with a host community and champion that will bring these technologies forward in the years to come.”

In order to advance this future opportunity, the ‘Bruce Power Centre for Next Generation Nuclear’ was launched in August with Ontario Premier Doug Ford, Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe and Greg Rickford, Ontario’s Minister of Energy, Northern Development and Mines, and Minister of Indigenous Affairs, to explore paths to develop innovative energy sources such as SMRs and hydrogen power.

“Our government, alongside our provincial and industry partners, is leading the charge on SMR deployment in Canada,” said Rickford. “We are leveraging our nuclear expertise and bringing our made-in-Ontario technology to the forefront to lead the world in the next generation of nuclear innovation.”

The announcement by the province aligns with Bruce Power’s Net Zero 2050 strategy, launched in October which will see the Bruce Power Centre for Next Generation Nuclear at the Nuclear Innovation Institute carry out the following activities in 2021 to expand opportunities for the region.

These include:

· A study into the next 50 years of the Bruce Power site – as the world’s largest operating nuclear facility, expanded transmission capability with assets that can be optimized, enhanced, leveraged and life extended, Bruce Power can have a profound impact on Canada’s clean energy future.

· Examining the role of new nuclear and fusion energy technology as part of a clean energy future alongside existing Bruce Power nuclear production. This will include grid-scale SMRs with Ontario-based Terrestrial Energy and micro reactors.

· A Hydrogen Unity Project. At a time when there are divisions in Canada on energy issues, we need solutions for all provinces. The Centre will evaluate mass production of hydrogen using nuclear technology and opportunities for alignment with the oil and gas, transportation and electricity generation sectors. This work will explore economic benefits and regional opportunities for greenhouse gas reduction.

· The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world, placing greater importance on global human health along with retooling and economic recovery need to be integrated with achieving net zero. The Bruce Power Retooling and Economic Recovery Council will launch a Panel Review to determine opportunities for enhancing global health through medical isotopes, leveraging the nuclear supply chain to be self-sufficient with PPE and further opportunities to expand sterilization using Cobalt-60.

“I’m proud Huron-Bruce is home to the world’s largest nuclear facility and Canada’s largest private-sector infrastructure project,” said Huron-Bruce MPP Lisa Thompson, also the Minister of Government and Consumer Services. “We have the opportunity to build on the infrastructure and expertise at the Bruce Power site to become home to these new technologies, and will truly be Canada’s Clean Energy Frontier for decades to come.”

The Grey, Bruce, Huron region is well-positioned to advance these initiatives and has developed a program called the Clean Energy Frontier program which was launched recently by the Nuclear Innovation Institute with funding from Bruce Power and Bruce County.

“Today’s announcement from Bruce Power is yet another example of the positive role our region continues to play in developing new and innovative clean energy technologies,” said Bruce County Warden Mitch Twolan. “Bruce County welcomes this announcement and we look forward to advancing SMR technologies right here in Ontario’s Clean Energy Frontier.”

“The innovative work taking place at Bruce Power is having a positive impact on communities in Huron County,” said Jim Ginn, Warden of Huron County. “We commend Bruce Power, the Nuclear Innovation Institute and Terrestrial Energy for collaborating on this important project and look forward to its future success.”

“Grey County is pleased to see Bruce Power’s continued to commitment to advancing cutting-edge, innovative, and made-in-Ontario clean energy technology. This project, yet again, showcases the ingenuity and innovative spirit that exists right here in our region,” said Paul McQueen, Warden of Grey County.