Boilers, Coal, Nuclear, Reactors

Candu nuclear plant restart cost goes up

18 April 2008 — Ontario-based Bruce Power estimates the cost of returning two idle reactor units to service at between C$3.1 billion and C$3.4 billion (US$3.06 billion to US$3.36 billion), up from an original 2005 cost projection of C$2.75 billion (US$2.72 billion).

The consortium said that after a “comprehensive review” it remains confident that units one and two can be returned to service “close to the planned dates of 2009 and early 2010,” adding 1,500 MW to the Ontario power grid.

The project to restart the two units, idle since the mid-1990s, is about 60 percent complete, said Duncan Hawthorne, Bruce Power’s president and CEO.

He reported “significant progress” on complex reactor refurbishment work by Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd., which has had to develop new tools and robotic equipment to remove and replace internal components without endangering workers.

“It would be fair to say that this work has been, by its very nature, discovery work since many of the robotic designs had to be tested in place,” Hawthorne said.

“As a result, unit two, which is the lead unit, has borne many of the first-of-a-kind risks which has impacted our overall costs for the project. We do, however, see many examples of performance improvements on our second unit.”

Babcock & Wilcox Canada and SNC Lavalin Nuclear installed 16 new steam generators at the Candu facility.

Bruce Power is a privately owned nuclear power company and supplies more than 20 percent of Ontario’s electricity. The company operates six reactor units on the eastern shores of Lake Huron is a partnership of TransCanada Corp., uranium producer Cameco Corp., the Ontario Municipal Employees Retirement System, the Power Workers’ Union and the Society of Energy Professionals.