Team forms to build North America's first SMR

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Team forms to build North America's first SMR

Canada NewsWire

Four companies to advance new reactor at Darlington site

CLARINGTON, ON, Jan. 27, 2023 /CNW/ - Ontario Power Generation (OPG) has partnered with GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy, SNC-Lavalin, and Aecon to construct North America's first Small Modular Reactor (SMR) at the Darlington New Nuclear Project site.

The agreement represents an innovative contracting approach for a nuclear project in North America. Under terms of the agreement, GE Hitachi, SNC-Lavalin, Aecon, and OPG will provide a diverse range of expertise and services as part of an integrated project delivery model to develop, engineer and construct a BWRX-300 SMR, with construction to be complete by late 2028.

All parties will manage the project as an integrated team and each company will play a specific role in successfully completing the Darlington New Nuclear Project:

  • OPG: The license holder; OPG will maintain overall responsibility for the project, including operator training, commissioning, Indigenous engagement, stakeholder outreach and oversight.
  • GE Hitachi: The technology developer; responsible for design, procurement of major components, and engineering and support.
  • SNC-Lavalin: The architect engineer; provides design, engineering and procurement support.
  • Aecon: The constructor; will provide construction planning and execution.

The Darlington SMR is expected to spearhead similar projects in Saskatchewan, New Brunswick and Alberta, with interest also growing in the U.S. and Europe. Site preparation is now underway at the Darlington site and OPG has applied to the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission for a License to Construct. 

Quick facts
  • The Darlington site is the only Canadian location licensed for new nuclear, with an accepted Environmental Assessment and a Site Preparation Licence.
  • OPG is currently working with project partners SNC-Lavalin and Aecon on the Darlington Refurbishment, one of Canada's largest clean energy projects. More than half-way through its 10-year execution, the project remains on time and on budget.
  • In December 2021, OPG announced it will work with GE Hitachi to deploy the BWXR-300 at the Darlington site.
  • A 2021 Conference Board of Canada study shows strong economic benefit to Ontario from construction and 60 years of operation of a single SMR facility, including:
    • Direct, indirect and spin-off related annual average employment of: 700 jobs during project development; 1,600 jobs during manufacturing and construction; 200 jobs during operations; and 160 jobs during decommissioning.
    • The estimated positive impact on Gross Domestic Product (GDP) could reach more than $2.5 billion and increase provincial revenues by more than $870 million.
  • The project will also support Canadian efforts to become a global SMR technology hub in a market estimated to be $150 billion per year by 2040.

"Working with these three companies, OPG is leveraging decades of nuclear energy and large project experience to deliver much-needed new, reliable electricity generation to Ontarians," said Ken Hartwick, OPG President and CEO. "Construction of the Darlington SMR will create jobs and help ensure we meet Ontario's growing energy needs as electrification and a growing economy drive demand."

"With today's announcement, Ontario is one step closer to securing our legacy as a world leader in cutting-edge nuclear technology," said Todd Smith, Minister of Energy. "Canada's first grid-scale SMR at the Darlington site will help ensure a reliable, affordable and clean electricity system, increase export opportunities and support our success in driving electrification and attracting unprecedented investments in Ontario."

"This innovative project agreement is a significant milestone for the deployment of the BWRX-300 small modular reactor at the Darlington site," said GE Hitachi President and CEO, Jay Wileman. "The strong and experienced team that has been assembled will work together to ensure the successful delivery of the first SMR in North America." 

"Following our on-time, on-budget success working with OPG on the refurbishment of Darlington's existing CANDU reactors, we are very pleased to contribute our expertise with our alliance partners on this exciting new build," said Joe St. Julian, President, Nuclear, SNC-Lavalin. "Canada was the second country in the world to ever generate commercial nuclear power. Together with our alliance partners, we will ensure Canada again leads the way to advance an exciting new frontier in nuclear energy."

 "As the preeminent nuclear constructor in Canada, Aecon is proud to bring our proven, full spectrum of expertise to deliver this exciting new nuclear build – leading the way in deploying the next generation of plants and guaranteeing the production of clean, reliable and affordable electricity in Ontario," said Jean-Louis Servranckx, President and Chief Executive Officer, Aecon Group Inc. "Nuclear power and SMRs are integral to Aecon's growth strategy in Canada, the US and internationally, and will play a significant role in advancing global progress towards achieving sustainability targets and a net-zero economy by 2050."

SOURCE Ontario Power Generation Inc.

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