Bruce Power on Tuesday synchronized its Bruce Power Unit 2 to Ontario’s grid, marking a milestone in its program to refurbish Units 1 and 2 at the Bruce A nuclear generating station. The company, which synchronized the 750 MW Bruce A Unit 1 with the grid on Sept. 19, said that first synchronization of Unit 2 will allow it to carry out final planned commissioning activities at the plant.

The company owned by Canadian companies TransCanada, Cameco, Bruce Power employees and the Power Workers’ Union, among others, began its "revitalization" program at the nuclear plant in Tiverton, Ontario, almost a decade ago. Grid-synchronization of Unit 2 was delayed by months in May after an issue was identified with the electrical generator on the non-nuclear side of the plant.

Bruce Power consists of two generating stations (Bruce A & B) with each station housing four CANDU reactors. Six of those reactors are currently operational, accounting for a total capacity of more than 4,700 MW. Once the refurbishment is complete, Bruce Power will be one of the world’s largest nuclear facilities, capable of providing more than 6,200 MW, or about 25% of Ontario’s power. (See “Bruce A Proves There Are Second Acts in Nuclear Power” in POWER’s August 2010 issue for more about this project.

"The refurbishment of Units 1 and 2 is a first for Canada’s nuclear industry as it is the first time two CANDU Units had been fully renewed after being laid-up for nearly two decades," said Denise Carpenter, president and CEO of the Canadian Nuclear Association.

 “This gets us one step closer to the finish line and for the first time in nearly two decades we’re in the midst of returning the site to its full operational capacity,” said Duncan Hawthorne, President and CEO. “With this project in the final stages we can see a period of stable, steady operations ahead where Bruce Power plays a key role in keeping electricity costs low, the lights on and the air we breathe clean.”

The company said the revitalization program is “an essential element to Ontario’s plan to phase out coal generation in 2014. Coal output over the past decade has dropped by nearly 90 per cent annually, while Bruce Power has increased its output by 55 per cent. This increased clean generation from the Bruce Power site accounts for 40 per cent of the coal generation reduced to date in the province.”

Sources: POWERnews, POWER, Bruce

—Sonal Patel, Senior Writer (@POWERmagazine)