Ontario looks to go ahead with three more small modular nuclear reactors – by Jeff Gray (Globe and Mail – July 7, 2023)


Ontario is charging ahead with its bet on small modular nuclear reactors, announcing that its electricity utility will seek approvals for three more of the units on the grounds of its Darlington power plant, where it has already applied to build one of the new and largely untested systems.

Energy Minister Todd Smith unveiled the province’s plan for the SMRs on Friday at the site next to the existing Darlington nuclear facility in Clarington, about 80 kilometres east of downtown Toronto. Preparatory work is already under way, with newly paved roads leading to a large expanse of sun-baked dirt that has been cleared and flattened by a fleet of bulldozers.

While called small, each 300 megawatt reactor is still set to be about the size of a football field: Together the four proposed units would provide 1,200 megawatts, enough to power 1.2 million homes. Some estimates have pegged the cost at as much as $3-billion each, but Mr. Smith and Ontario Power Generation officials would not provide a firm price tag, saying one will follow the design and regulatory approval process still under way. The plan is to have the first reactor online by 2029.

Provincially-owned OPG had always contemplated building a total of four of the new units, which are expected to be among the first SMRs to go into service for a full-sized power grid in North America or Europe.

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