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Ontario announces plans for 6 gigawatts of new nuclear

July 7, 2023

Ontario’s nuclear renaissance is here.

This week, the Ontario government announced that it is beginning work on a combined six gigawatts of new nuclear energy at the Bruce and Darlington Nuclear Generating Stations. These decisions align with the Society’s advocacy over many years to expand the province’s nuclear capacity as part of a climate action program that delivers prosperity to tens of thousands of workers all across Ontario. According to the IESO, Ontario will need a total of 46GW of new electricity generation to electrify all sectors of the provincial economy, more than double the province’s current capacity.

Society President Michelle Johnston with Energy Minister Todd Smith and PWU President Jeff Parnell

Society President Michelle Johnston with Energy Minister Todd Smith and Power Workers' Union President Jeff Parnell

In an event at Bruce Nuclear Generating Station on July 5, Energy Minister Todd Smith announced that the government is supporting Bruce Power’s pre-development work to consult with local communities on the appropriate site for the new reactors and prepare for the environmental assessment and other regulatory processes. The government expects that this work will lead to up to 4,800MW of new nuclear capacity, which will almost double Bruce’s current output.

Society President Michelle Johnston and Bruce Local leaders attended the announcement.

“New large-scale nuclear power generation will create tens of thousands of good, unionized jobs in Ontario. It builds on the innovative supply chain and highly skilled workforce that has been developed through refurbishing Ontario’s existing CANDU fleet,” said Johnston. “Accelerating efforts to acquire new nuclear capacity is at the very top of the list of ‘no regrets’ policy recommendations in the IESO’s Pathways to Decarbonization report. As the Pathways report makes clear, in the fight against climate change the time to act is now, and so undertaking this feasibility study is a major step forward for Ontario in the race against climate catastrophe.”

Two days after the news of new nuclear at Bruce, the Minister held a second announcement to unveil plans for an additional three grid-scale small modular reactors (SMRs) at Ontario Power Generation’s (OPG) Darlington site. The world’s first grid-scale SMR is already in development at Darlington. In total, the four units will provide an additional 1,200MW of new nuclear.

Johnston was also present for the SMR announcement at Darlington.

“The Society of United Professionals commends the Government of Ontario for recognizing that small modular reactors are essential to decarbonizing Ontario and making the province a global leader in clean technology,” said Johnston. “By adding three additional SMRs at the Darlington site, the government is demonstrating its commitment to becoming a net-zero carbon emitting jurisdiction and confidence in the workforce that is building the world’s first commercial-grade SMR on time and on budget.”

Both of these announcements follow the government’s September 2022 announcement that it is supporting a life extension of Pickering Nuclear Generating Station’s Unit B while OPG prepares the business case to support a complete refurbishment in the coming years.

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