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April 27, 2012

Canadian regulators looking at two reactor designs for Darlington

Toronto Star- Ontario Power Generation, the owner of the Darlington nuclear plant, is looking to build up to four new reactors for an additional 4,800 MW of capacity.

It will be more than a year before a decision is made on which design to choose. The two designs reportedly in the running are the enhanced Candu 6 reactor made by Candu Energy Inc., a unit of SNC-Lavalin and Westinghouse’s AP1000 reactor.

These discussions are about building two new reactors, each of about 1,000 megawatts, at Darlington.





One of the big question for both reactors is cost.

Patrick Lamarre, who heads Candu Energy, told the Toronto Board of Trade last fall that his company could build reactors for $5,000 to $7,000 per kilowatt of capacity. That translates into $10 to $14 billion for 2,000 megawatts.

Lamarre said that means power from the reactors would cost 6 to 9 cents a kilowatt hour.

Published figures for Westinghouse reactors in the U.S. indicate a price $10.4 billion for a similar capacity.

A big question in any contract is who accepts the risk if the project runs over budget. In the past, provincial taxpayers and ratepayers have been stuck with paying for the overruns.

Asked about the possibility of Ontario choosing a non-Candu design, Ron Oberth of the Organization of Candu Industries said his members would adapt.

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