OPG working to deploy SMR fleet to help power Ontario’s clean energy future
At a glance
- OPG is advancing North America’s first commercial, grid-scale Small Modular Reactor (SMR) at the Darlington site.
- In July, the Ontario government announced it will work with OPG to commence planning and licensing for three additional SMRs as part of the project.
- Once completed, these four SMRs could provide enough clean electricity to power about 1.2 million homes.
Building on OPG’s work to advance North America’s first commercial, grid-scale Small Modular Reactor (SMR), the Ontario government announced on July 7 that it will work with OPG to commence planning and licensing for three additional SMRs, for a total of four BWRX-300 reactors at the Darlington new nuclear site.
A fleet of SMRs at this site would be a first in the Western world.
Pending regulatory approvals, the completion of these new units in the mid-2030s would provide an additional 1,200 megawatts of new, clean, reliable electricity, or enough to power about 1.2 million homes. This would advance Ontario’s net-zero goals, support the province’s growing economy, and help meet the expected increased demand from electrification.
“OPG has proven its large nuclear project expertise through the Darlington Refurbishment project, which remains on track. We will take a similar approach to building a fleet of SMRs to deliver cost and schedule savings,” said Ken Hartwick, OPG’s President and CEO. “We know all eyes are on us now. But we are ready to deliver, beginning with the commercial operation of our first SMR in 2029.”
OPG is working with industry partners to advance the development of the 300-megawatt BWRX-300 SMR designed by GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy, which is capable of powering 300,000 homes.
Due to their size, SMRs can provide a lot of clean power from a small footprint, lessening impact to the environment and capital costs. Since they are modular, these units can also be manufactured, shipped, and installed on site, and deployed incrementally.
OPG has proven its large nuclear project expertise through the Darlington Refurbishment project. We will take a similar approach to building a fleet of SMRs to deliver cost and schedule savings.Ken HartwickPresident and CEO, OPG
By building multiple units at the same site, OPG will be able to leverage common infrastructure, such as shared roads, utilities, and water intake, which will help to drive down regulatory, construction, and operating costs. In July’s media announcement, Hartwick said OPG’s success with the Darlington Refurbishment project will serve as a model for deploying future SMR units.
“As we have learned on our Darlington Refurbishment project, we get better and faster with experience,” he said. “The same will apply with our SMRs here, as we use our learnings from the construction of the first unit to future units to make them more economical.”
Developing a fleet of SMRs at the Darlington site will help strengthen and grow Ontario’s strong nuclear supply chain and position the province’s companies to become SMR specialists. This knowledge could then be exported around the world to help other jurisdictions deploy similar technology to decarbonize their economies.
This latest news reaffirms the important role nuclear power will continue to play in Ontario’s future to help fight climate change while supporting the province’s future growth and electrification.
How can you get involved and learn more?
The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) has announced they will hold a public hearing in January 2024 to consider the applicability of the Darlington New Nuclear Project’s existing Environmental Assessment to our selected SMR technology, the BWRX-300 SMR.
Members of the public, Indigenous groups, and other stakeholders who have an interest or expertise in the matter being considered, or who have information that may be useful to the CNSC in coming to a decision, can formally participate as intervenors in public hearings. For more information around how to get involved, visit the CNSC’s website.
Leading up to the hearing, members of the project team will continue to attend various community events across Durham Region to answer your questions and share more information about the Darlington New Nuclear Project.
If you don’t catch us at a community event, you can contact us directly or drop by the Darlington Nuclear Information Centre, located at 1855 Energy Drive, Courtice, Ont. Our doors are open Monday to Friday (excluding holidays) from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Supporting new SMR development and investing in nuclear power is part of Ontario’s larger plan to prepare for increasing electricity demand in the 2030s and 2040s. The plan will build on the province’s clean electricity advantage and ensure Ontario has the power it needs to support future economic growth.
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