The Government of Ontario announced the completion of the first phase of site preparation for Ontario’s first Small Modular Reactor (SMR) at the Darlington Nuclear station.

The Government announced that Ontario Power Generation has now completed the early works for the first SMR in the G7 on time and on budget. The site has now been transitioned into the care of the Darlington New Nuclear Project’s construction partner, Aecon, to allow for main site preparation to begin. This work includes excavation, the construction of shoring walls, as well as land clearance for three additional units.

“I’m pleased to officially announce today that the first phase of site preparations work for the small modular reactor has been completed again on time and on budget,” said newly appointed Minister of Energy and Electrification, Stephen Lecce. “To maintain this forward momentum, I am officially announcing the start of the next phase, phase two, as we work to build small modular reactors to energize our province, our country and literally the world.”

And in April, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) delivered a decision concluding the DNNP’s already completed environmental assessment is applicable and remains valid to OPG’s selected SMR technology – the GE Hitachi BWRX-300.

“The thousands of jobs being created to support Ontario’s international position as a supplier of nuclear technology and the thousands more supporting nuclear power generation in Ontario will help drive the provincial economy for years to come. The nuclear supply chain provides jobs and economic prosperity across Ontario,” said Jeff Parnell, President of the Power Workers’ Union. “Nuclear power is the backbone of our clean electricity system, providing secure, affordable and zero emission baseload electricity to Ontario. The construction of the new SMRs at Darlington, the proposed large-scale reactors at the Bruce and the refurbishment of four reactors in Pickering will continue to serve Ontarians into the future.”

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Pending CNSC regulatory approval, the project will be ready for nuclear construction work to begin in early 2025. The first unit is expected to be in commercial operation by 2029, with the rest of the units coming online by the mid-2030s.

OPG is now preparing for a second regulatory hearing, expected in the fall, to review the company’s application for a Licence to Construct the first SMR unit.

“The world is watching Ontario as we deliver multi-billion-dollar nuclear refurbishments on-time and on schedule and build the first small modular reactor in the G7,” said former Energy Minister, and newly appointed Minister of Education Todd Smith. “Now countries around the world want to benefit from our expertise, opening up new doors, including for our students who will have even more opportunities to find rewarding jobs that help deliver the clean energy our province and the world needs.”

Featured image: Site of SMR project, Darlington Nuclear Station. (OPG)

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