Bruce Power’s Unit 6 Major Component Replacement (MCR) project reached a major milestone October 25 with the completion of fuel channel assembly installation, advancing Ontario’s largest clean-energy infrastructure project.

The installation of 480 fuel channels in the Unit 6 reactor core was completed by a team of dedicated and highly skilled tradespeople, putting Bruce Power on track to complete its first of six MCR outages.

“The fuel channel installation took a lot of teamwork and this sets us up for not only the successful completion of the Unit 6 MCR project next year, but also for our subsequent MCR outages over the next decade,” said Eric Chassard, Bruce Power Executive VP, Projects and Engineering. “We’re making huge investments into our site to continue to provide reliable, carbon-free electricity for decades to come while also stimulating Ontario’s economy.”

This privately funded investment into Units 3-8 will extend the life of the Bruce Power site through 2064 and will allow the company to continue to produce 30 per cent of Ontario’s energy and supply the world market with cancer-fighting medical isotopes.

A 2022 independent report by GHD Limited found that Bruce Power’s MCR Project will help prevent the predicted increase in the greenhouse gas emission intensity of the electricity grid as the demand for electricity grows, stating: “it is important to take advantage of the amount of existing low and zero carbon energy generation capacity assets that currently exist and extend the life of these assets to maximize the increased demand that will be met with zero carbon electricity.”

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“Bruce Power’s Life-Extension Program and Major Component Replacement Project are securing decades of clean power to grow and electrify our economy while also creating and sustaining good-paying jobs in Ontario,” said Minister Smith. “The world is watching Ontario, and the continued on-time and on-budget delivery of life extension at Bruce Power is a demonstration of the incredible skill of Ontario’s world-class nuclear operators.” said Ontario’s Minister of Energy, Todd Smith.

The primary scope of the MCR project is the removal and replacement of large nuclear components such as steam generators, all reactor internal parts and the vault pipework. During this multi-year campaign, upgrades are also made to electrical, the cooling water system, steam turbines, and safety systems, among others. With the fuel channel assembly work complete, the team will now focus its effort on installing the remaining vault reactor components.

The fuel channel installation was a joint effort between the Unit 6 MCR construction team and Shoreline Power Group, a joint venture between Aecon, SNC-Lavalin and United Engineers & Constructors, that will also execute the replacement of fuel channels and feeders for the Unit 3 MCR, allowing it to carry over its experience and expertise. This work will be funded completely by Bruce Power and will continue on successive units based on safety, quality, cost and overall performance.

“Our members take great pride in our partnership with Bruce Power to help provide the people of Ontario with safe, reliable and carbon-free nuclear power,” said Marc Arsenault,  Secretary-Treasurer of the Provincial Building and Construction Trades Council of Ontario. “We are committed to leveraging our knowledge, skills and experience to help make sure that these projects are completed safely and successfully.”

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The Unit 3 MCR project is scheduled to begin next March and will build off successes of Unit 6, which is set to return to service in 2023.

Featured image: The Unit 6 reactor face showing the newly installed fuel channel assemblies. (Bruce Power)

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