Bruce Power announced it reached a major milestone with the substantial completion of the construction phase of its Unit 6 MCR Project on-time and on-budget and has shifted focus to returning the unit to service later this year as Bruce Power progresses Ontario’s largest clean-energy infrastructure project. (No. 3 on ReNew Canada’s Top100 Projects report.)

Bruce Power Operations staff will now begin refueling the unit with 5,760 fuel bundles in May, while other lead-out activities and regulatory inspections will be completed to return it to Ontario’s electricity grid in the fourth quarter of this year.

Unit 6 was the first of six units Bruce Power and its partners will refurbish between 2020 and 2033, a privately funded investment into Units 3-8 that will extend the life of the site through 2064.

“Nuclear energy is crucial to powering our growing province and thriving economy and the completion of construction on Bruce Power’s Unit 6 Major Component Replacement Project is a critical step as we ensure the province can meet the demand for clean, low-cost electricity,” said Todd Smith, Minster of Energy. “Our strong nuclear industry has enabled one of the cleanest electricity systems in the world and, as a leader in nuclear refurbishment, we’re ensuring this carries forward for the people, businesses and hospitals in Ontario.”

Unit 6 was removed from service in January 2020 and Bruce Power and its construction partners (including Aecon, AECOM, SNC-Lavalin, BWXT, ES Fox, ATS, Black and MacDonald, Makwa Cahill, Highland Nuclear, SGT, Framatome, Kinectrics and all our subvendors) overcame a major hurdle as it wrestled with the impacts and uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic to progress the project toward completion.

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The second unit to undergo major component replacement is Unit 3 which was taken offline March 1 for defueling, with bulkhead installation and the Primary Heat Transport system ‘drain and dry’ as the next steps in the project prior to starting construction activity, which begins with major component disassembly later this quarter. Each successive outage over the next decade will build off the successes and innovations of the Unit 6 MCR.

The construction phase of the Unit 6 MCR, completed with execution partner Shoreline Power Group and a multitude of talented and dedicated tradespeople from the Ontario Building Trades, included the removal and replacement of 960 fee­der tubes, 480 fuel channels, and 480 calandria tubes. Steam generator work was completed earlier this year by SGRT a 50/50 joint venture between Aecon and SGT (a partnership between Framatome and United Engineers & Constructors).

“The Unit 6 MCR outage wasn’t without its challenges for Bruce Power and our construction and supply chain partners,” said Mike Rencheck, Bruce Power’s president and CEO. “I am proud of how we all worked together, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, to finish construction building activities, and set ourselves up for success in our subsequent MCRs. We learned a lot, and new innovations will be implemented on future MCRs making them faster and less expensive.”

Shoreline Power Group, a joint venture between Aecon, SNC-Lavalin and United Engineers & Constructors, executed the fuel channel and feeder replacement work on Unit 6 and will continue with the remaining MCR units.

“Shoreline brings considerable nuclear technical knowledge and years of experience and expertise,” said Jean-Louis Servranckx, president and CEO, Aecon Group Inc., on behalf of Shoreline. “We’re proud of the entire team’s work partnering with Bruce Power to substantially complete the Unit 6 project and we look forward to working alongside Bruce Power in the remaining MCR outages over the next decade.”

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Bruce Power’s Life-Extension Program and MCR Project will extend the operational life of each reactor by 30 to 35 years and, as a result, help mitigate the predicted increase in GHG emissions intensity of the electricity grid. Bruce Power’s MCR and Asset Management investments will be closely coordinated with Project 2030, a program that leverages innovation and new efficient technology to increase site capacity, targeting upwards of 7,000 Megawatts net peak output in the early-2030s, once all units have completed their MCRs.

“The refurbishment of Unit 6 is a demonstration of Bruce Power’s dedication to being a leader in Ontario’s nuclear energy sector. Because of this commitment, Bruce Power is able to generate significant economic impacts by way of clean, reliable and afford energy, in addition to creating good jobs, community support and medical advancements through the production cancer fighting isotopes,” said Lisa Thompson, MPP for Huron-Bruce.

Featured image: (Bruce Power)

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