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Ontario Power Generation

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Overview

Ontario Power Generation strongly supports the Statement of Principles outlined in the SMR Action Plan. 

OPG is Ontario’s largest clean power generator, 100 per cent owned by the Province of Ontario and backed by over $55 billion of assets. Over the past five years, OPG has returned more than $4 billion in net income to the province, which helps fund essential programs and Ontario’s growth. As one of Ontario’s largest employers, OPG employs more than 10,700 skilled and dedicated people and puts thousands more to work across the province through its clean energy projects and supply chain. The company’s current in-service generating capacity is 18,876 MW.

OPG has been a leader in climate change action with an ongoing set of initiatives to reduce carbon emissions. This change began in 2014 when OPG closed the last of its coal stations. This remains the world’s single largest climate change action. Since then, the company has been focused on the future and is investing in innovative technologies that will drive clean economic renewal – from transportation electrification to energy storage, micro grids, and medical isotopes, along with our leadership role in advancing the first small modular reactor project proposals in Canada.

In the years ahead, the Darlington Refurbishment and Pickering Nuclear GS’s continued operation will help reduce carbon emissions in Ontario. Continued operation of Darlington Nuclear GS to 2055 will take the equivalent of two million cars off Ontario’s roads per year. And extending operations of the Pickering Nuclear GS to the mid-2020s will avoid a minimum of 17 million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions.

Ontario Power Generation (OPG) is leading the development and deployment of the first wave of SMRs in Canada both on and off grid. This chapter will cover the specifics of OPG activities with its partners to ensure that the next generation of emissions-free, safe and sustainable nuclear energy benefits Canadians. 

First of a Kind

OPG has two First-Of-A-Kind (FOAK) project proposals underway that are consistent with several of the SMR Roadmap recommendations. One of these projects, located at Chalk River, is Canada’s first SMR with an active Environmental Assessment and CNSC license application:

FOAK GFP MMR Commercial Demonstration Project at Chalk River Laboratories

OPG has partnered with Ultra Safe Nuclear Corporation, a technology company based in Seattle, Washington, on a joint venture called Global First Power (GFP) that is proposing to build a 15 MW Thermal (5 MW Electrical) Micro Modular Reactor (MMR) at Chalk River Laboratories, which is owned by Atomic Energy of Canada Limited (AECL) and operated by Canadian Nuclear Laboratories (CNL). The GFP project at CNL is designed to demonstrate the commercial viability of MMRs as an alternative to diesel generation of electricity in parts of Canada that are      not served by provincial electricity transmission grids. The project is currently undergoing an Environmental Assessment and has started the licensing process for the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC)’s “License to Prepare Site”, the first of three licences that will be required before the MMR first produces power in the mid-2020s.

The economic benefits have been estimated for a representative Northern Ontario mine site utilizing four MMRs totalling 60 MW thermal (20 MW electrical) to power a remote off-grid mine site.  On average during the project’s manufacturing and construction phases approximately 600 jobs per year would be created in Canada, of which about 500 jobs per year would be in Ontario.  The operation of such a four MMR module site is expected to generate about 200 jobs per year in Ontario.  While the demonstration unit at CNL would have a smaller economic impact, the study is indicative of the long term economic benefits of very small modular reactors (vSMR) in Canada.

FOAK Grid-Scale SMR at Darlington

OPG is collaborating with SaskPower and Bruce Power on an SMR technology review process designed to identify technology partners who could work with us to establish a fleet approach to grid-scale SMR deployment across Canada. Using the existing site license and EA at Darlington, OPG proposes to build a FOAK grid-scale SMR of ~300-400MW. The technology chosen will not only meet OPG’s needs but also SaskPower’s. In this way, SaskPower can benefit from the lessons learned in a FOAK project at Darlington, should they decide to build SMRs in Saskatchewan in order to meet that province’s ambitious climate targets and phase out coal-fired generation. 

The manufacturing and construction phase of a FOAK Grid-Scale SMR at Darlington are expected to contribute more than 1900 jobs per year in Canada of which approximately 1600 jobs per year will be created in Ontario.  The long term operation of an SMR at Darlington is expected to result in approximately 300 jobs per year in Canada of which over 200 would be in Ontario.

Benefits from the fleet approach could include efficiencies related to training, operations and maintenance, engineering and licensing.

Strategic Partnerships

OPG is collaborating with Bruce Power and SaskPower to develop potential joint ventures and/or business models for the deployment of SMRs in different jurisdictions in Canada. In addition, OPG has held discussions with mining and resource companies about the potential deployment of SMRs to provide emissions-free power to their operations. Front and centre in OPG’s thinking has been the opportunity for the Canadian supply chain to be partners, maximizing opportunities for growth. The demonstration projects that we describe above are examples of how those partnerships could work, and we expect to significantly advance these partnership models in the next 24 months.

Fleet Deployment

Since 2019, the nuclear utilities of OPG, Bruce Power and New Brunswick Power, along with SaskPower (collectively the CEO SMR Forum) have been developing a fleet approach, including the “three Stream approach” (Stream 1 on-grid deployable by about 2028; Stream 2 on-grid advanced reactors ready by the early to mid 2030’s; Stream 3 off-grid very small reactors).  The utilities have worked collaboratively on market analysis, economics, and the funding required to deploy reactors across Canada. Under the terms of the SMR Memorandum of Understanding of Dec. 1, 2019, signed by the Premiers of Saskatchewan, Ontario, and New Brunswick, OPG has been working with SaskPower, NB Power and Bruce Power on a “fleet approach” to pan-Canadian deployment of reactors both on-grid and off-grid, allowing for efficiencies in terms of training, maintenance, manufacturing, etc.

In addition to these partnerships, OPG believes that Federal Government risk-sharing on innovative FOAK technology, like GFP and the on-grid fleet, is critical to achieving investor confidence in major infrastructure projects that benefit the national interest, like SMRs.

Indigenous Engagement

OPG understands that the Aboriginal and treaty rights of Indigenous communities must be recognized and respected and that benefits need to accrue to Indigenous communities consistent with these rights. OPG is committed to helping Indigenous communities build capacity for meaningful, informed engagement. At the same time OPG will engage in constructive dialogue with Indigenous communities and the public about the role that nuclear power – and SMRs in particular – play in fighting climate change and meeting social and community priorities related to the environment, economic prosperity, and energy sovereignty. The GFP project will help OPG develop preferred practices for Indigenous and community engagement on the first new nuclear generation project in three decades.

OPG believes that engagement should include building capacity in Indigenous communities by stimulating Indigenous businesses through the nuclear supply chain. This would be achieved by having Indigenous firms act as suppliers at all tiers where possible in addition to sub-contracting and joint-venture opportunities. Such proactive procurement will generate jobs for Indigenous people, wealth for Indigenous communities, and inform social license for the nuclear industry.

Collaboration on other chapters of the SMR Action Plan

In addition, OPG is a member of, and supports the chapters submitted by, the CEO SMR Forum, COG SMR-Technical Forum, and the Canadian Nuclear Association.

ACTIONS

DEMONSTRATION AND DEPLOYMENT
SMR demonstration projects
STATUS: IN PROGRESS
OPG01

Responds to SMR Roadmap recommendation(s): 40

ACTION

In response to the recommendation of engaging in SMR demonstration projects OPG has two First-Of-A-Kind (FOAK) projects or proposals underway that are consistent with this recommendation:

  • At Chalk River, our GFP MMR project, Canada’s first SMR with an active Environmental Assessment and CNSC license application would serve as a commercial demonstration
  • A grid-scale project proposal at Darlington that is meant to be the first SMR in a fleet approach for pan-Canadian on-grid deployment

EXPECTED RESULTS

  • These FOAK projects and proposed projects will enable the ability to share risks, bring expertise and project experience to future proposals and business plans
  • The technology-readiness of one or more SMR technologies is advanced to the pre-commercial stage
  • Canada is positioned to capture research benefits and value for the domestic supply chain from the deployment of these SMR technologies
DEMONSTRATION AND DEPLOYMENT
Strategic partnerships and business models
STATUS: IN PROGRESS
OPG02

Responds to SMR Roadmap recommendation(s): 41

ACTION

In support of strategic partnerships and business models, OPG will continue to collaborate with Bruce Power, SaskPower, and/or NB Power to develop potential joint ventures and/or business models for the deployment of grid-scale SMRs in different jurisdictions in Canada.

EXPECTED RESULTS

  • Projects have a clearer and more compelling path to commercialization, as project proposals represent the full breadth of essential enabling partners needed to bring SMRs to market
  • Projects represent more value by enabling greater sharing of operational experience and lessons learned among partners, with projects benefiting from the perspectives of multiple enabling partners
DEMONSTRATION AND DEPLOYMENT
Fleet deployment pathways
STATUS: IN PROGRESS
OPG03

Responds to SMR Roadmap recommendation(s): 42

ACTION

In support of fleet deployment pathways, OPG will continue to support the Provincial Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the Premieres of Saskatchewan, New Brunswick, and Ontario. An output of this MOU is the publication of a feasibility report on SMR Deployment across Canada. This report and the significant progress made in advancing the Fleet Approach to date has replaced the need for a white paper described in Recommendation 42.

EXPECTED RESULTS

  • Key considerations for the transition to a fleet are identified
  • Key enablers understand the pathways that could be undertaken to enable a fleet-based approach for SMR deployment in Canada
CAPACITY, ENGAGEMENT, AND PUBLIC CONFIDENCE
Indigenous Engagement
STATUS: IN PROGRESS
OPG04

Responds to SMR Roadmap recommendation(s): 43

ACTION

In response to this recommendation, OPG believes strongly in meaningful engagement and partnership with Indigenous peoples and communities and strives to be the partner of choice for communities.

OPG will continue to conduct Indigenous Engagement which is built upon OPG’s Indigenous Relations policy, the key components of which are:

  • community outreach/engagement-community capacity building
  • employment/training initiatives
  • procurement opportunities
  • employee education on Indigenous history/culture

OPG also has experience in facilitating Indigenous community equity ownership on its Renewable Generation assets which can inform the approach on SMRs.

EXPECTED RESULTS

  • Positive relationships are built with Indigenous groups
  • Governments and industry have a greater understanding of Indigenous views, concerns, and priorities related to SMRs
  • Indigenous groups have capacity to engage with governments and industry on SMRs