Ontario considers installing small modular reactors at its Darlington site

State-owned energy company Ontario Power Generation (OPG) has announced that it may substitute small modular reactors (SMRs) for a conventional nuclear unit on its Darlington site.

OPG, which generates more than half of the province’s electricity, has a licence from the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission to carry out preparation activities at the Darlington site.

World Nuclear News reports that the licence allowed preconstruction activities to be carried out at the company’s existing four-unit Darlington station, and that OGP was in discussions with SNC Lavalin and Candu Energy over its Enhanced Candu 6, and with Westinghouse over its AP1000 design.

Ken Hartwick, the president of OPG, commented: "A new SMR development on this site as early as 2028 would benefit all Ontarians while further cementing Durham Region and Ontario as the clean energy capital of the world."

No decision has yet been taken on which nuclear reactor to install, however a number of politicians have expressed enthusiasm for the SMR option. Bill Walker, the province’s associate minister of energy, was quoted in OGP’s press release as saying SMR technology would allow Ontario to capitalise on its nuclear supply chain "to ensure good jobs, clean and affordable energy, and economic prosperity".

Image: Ken Hartwick speaking at OGP’s Darlington site (OGP)

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