The Bruce nuclear station near Tiverton Ontario will soon have an eighth operating reactor unit, and a total operating capacity of 6,300 megawatts. The refurbished CANDU unit 2, laid up since the late 1990s, began putting power into the Ontario grid at ten-thirty on Monday night. Bruce Power, the private company that runs the plant (the reactors are owned by Ontario Power Generation and leased to Bruce) has begun final commissioning of the unit. This gives the Bruce station an even bigger margin as by far the biggest nuclear plant in North America..
Unit 2 had an original nameplate capacity of 750 megawatts, though I think it will be able to generate more than that (around 787 MW, if you divide 6,300 by 8). This is zero-carbon capacity, so the return of this unit to grid service is huge good news for Ontario, Canada, and the world.
The return-to-service was greeted by a grateful Ontario energy minister Chris Bentley, who is quoted in the Bruce Power press release as saying
Bruce Power’s revitalization program is an important step towards eliminating the use of coal fired electricity by the end of 2014.
The refurbishment of this unit was performed by a crack team that has cut its teeth on some of the most intensely scrutinized infrastructure projects in Canadian history. These highly skilled and highly motivated men and women performed literally thousands of closely choreographed and mind-bendingly complex tasks, day after day over a period of years—all the while subject to close media scrutiny and unrelenting criticism from anti-nuclear environmentalists who would rather Ontario generate power with fossil fuels like natural gas.
The refurbishment team—workers and their managers—are a shining example of excellent technical planning and performance under pressure. They got it done. Olympic athletes, and the rest of us, should take inspiration from them.