Bruce Power and the County of Bruce have partnered to establish the Ontario Nuclear Innovation Institute as an international centre of excellence for applied research and training.
With over 30 nuclear companies opening offices and other facilities regionally in the past two years, Bruce Power and the County of Bruce will harness this strong foundation by establishing a hub for nuclear innovation through applied research and training.
“Ontario’s Nuclear Innovation Institute will bring together technological leaders to share collective expertise and knowledge, while identifying opportunities to advance nuclear applications and technologies, as well as people skills through training,” said Mike Rencheck, Bruce Power’s President and CEO. “Ontario is advancing nuclear technologies through refurbishment of its nuclear fleet, and much of it has found a long-term home in the region. The Institute will harness this collective knowledge, skill and expertise to create opportunities for Ontario’s citizens and businesses, while we continue to deliver safe, clean, reliable, low-cost electricity, ensuring Ontario’s businesses remain competitive and families prosper.
“We look to a bright future where these businesses and entrepreneurs collaborate to establish new, locally based entities to sell the applications and technologies being advanced and applied within the Institute,” said Rencheck, adding these new local businesses can attain opportunities within Canada or from international sales.
The key focus areas of the Institute will include:
- Artificial intelligence and cyber security;
- Medical and industrial isotopes;
- Health and environmental excellence in the Lake Huron and Georgian Bay areas;
- Indigenous economic development; and
- Nuclear sector, operational excellence.
The Institute will also include a Skilled Trades and Training Secretariat, consisting of industry leaders who will be responsible for coordinating and increasing employment in the skilled trades to support building a strong, sustainable regional labour force, said Paul Eagleson, Warden of Bruce County.
“To have the expertise and knowledge of those who develop the research alongside the industry that applies this technology is essential to ensuring we have the labour force needed to support skilled trades demand across the province,” Warden Eagleson said. “We will engage industry partners to establish a Secretariat made up of key leaders and players – to be coordinated out of this facility – creating a hub for skilled trades, enabling us to utilize community resources and assets, and collectively prepare tomorrow’s labour force.”
The Institute may also offer practical classes, training, and/or materials to inform and engage the youth in the area on technologies and opportunities available through technical fields and craft trades. It will also evaluate applications for new nuclear technologies including Small Modular Reactor (SMRs), which will be an essential component to future carbon-free electricity needs.
The Institute will be established in Southampton and the project has now commenced with a development phase where key partners will be established, a formal business plan developed, operating structure put in place, along with the physical planning of a facility. The goal is to complete this development and break ground for a facility no later than 2020. The institute will work hand-in-hand to advance the skills needed in Bruce Power’s new refurbishment training centre already under construction in Kincardine.
The initial location being considered for the Institute is adjacent to the Bruce County Museum & Cultural Centre. A local dialogue through the project development phase with neighbours and the community will occur around this, or potentially other, options within Southampton.
A new Oversight Committee for Ontario’s Nuclear Innovation Institute is also being established and will be chaired by Frank Saunders, Bruce Power’s vice president, nuclear oversight and Regulatory Affairs, who previously has served as the director of nuclear operations for McMaster University. This group will solicit expertise from key partners and domestic and international organizations to guide the formation of the Institute and work closely with a team between Bruce Power and the County of Bruce, which has been jointly established to guide the development phase of the project.
Bruce Power and the County of Bruce also announced the joint Economic Development and Innovation Initiative – initially slated to run from 2016-18 – will be extended to 2021, with a focus on further expanding the nuclear supply chain in the region. Eight additional companies – AECOM, Alberici Constructors, BIRD Construction, GE, Lakeside Process Controls, Nuvia Canada, PTAG and WorleyParsons – were also recognized for recently investing in Bruce County.
An upcoming website will track progress and keep the public informed on the development of Ontario’s Nuclear Innovation Institute.