OPG applies for licence to construct SMR at Darlington site

Ontario Construction News staff writer

Ontario Power Generation has submitted an application for a licence to build a small modular reactor (SMR) at its Darlington nuclear plant.

The licence from the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) must be approved for construction work to begin on the SMR at Darlington can begin.

Site preparation work, including clearing and grading a portion of the site to build roads, utilities and support buildings, began last month and will continue through 2025.

The project is a collaboration with OPG and GE Hitachi, which designed BWRX-300 SMR. To be approved for construction, OPG must show that the design of the proposed facility “conforms to regulatory requirements and will provide for safe operation over the proposed plant life, and responsibility for all activities pertaining to design, procurement, manufacturing, construction and commissioning.”

Indigenous Nations and the public will have opportunities to provide input and ask questions and a public hearing will be hosted by the CNSC. This is likely to take place in 2024.

Work will include site prep, construction, operation, decommissioning and abandonment of up to four new nuclear reactors at the existing Darlington site, with the goal of generating approximately 1,200 megawatts of electricity.

Darlington is the only site in Canada currently licensed for a new nuclear build, with an approved environmental assessment and site preparation licence.

The BWRX-300 is a 300 MWe water-cooled, natural circulation SMR with passive safety systems that leverages the design and licensing basis of GEH’s ESBWR boiling water reactor. It is currently undergoing a CNSC pre-licensing Vendor Design Review.

The Canada Infrastructure Bank recently committed $970 million towards the Darlington New Nuclear Project. The investment is the CIB’s largest in clean power to date, providing financial certainty and signalling federal support for the project.


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