Bruce Power gets nod to restart Ontario reactor

Fri Mar 16, 2012 3:53pm EDT
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TORONTO (Reuters) - Canada's nuclear regulator has given Bruce Power the green light to restart the Unit 2 reactor, which has been offline for more than 15 years, the Ontario power utility said on Friday.

The approval, from Canada's Nuclear Safety Commission, allows the utility to power up the refurbished reactor to complete final safety and operations tests. The next step will be to link the reactor, located on the eastern shore of Lake Huron, to Ontario's power grid.

Unit 2 is one of four reactors at Bruce Power's Bruce A plant. The 750-megawatt Candu reactor is expected to produce enough electricity to power 500,000 homes.

Bruce Power expects to have approval to bring Bruce A's Unit 1, also being refurbished, online in the coming months. Unit 1 and Unit 2 have been shut down since 1997 and 1995 respectively.

Once the two reactors are online, the Bruce A and Bruce B plants will be generating a combined 6,300 megawatts of power from eight reactors. Bruce Power currently generates about 4,700 megawatts from four units at Bruce B and two units at Bruce A.

Candu reactors are unique in that they are fueled with natural uranium instead of enriched uranium. Cameco Corp, Canada's top uranium producer, makes the fuel bundles for all the Bruce reactors. The miner holds a 31.6 percent stake in Bruce B, but no stake in Bruce A.

The Bruce Power partners also include TransCanada Corporation, the Power Workers' Union, the Society of Energy Professionals and Borealis Infrastructure, an investment firm backed by a retirement trust.

(Reporting by Julie Gordon; editing by Peter Galloway and Rob Wilson)