An environmental assessment is being undertaken at Canada’s Bruce Power plant as part of a bid to get two idle reactors up and running at the site near Kincardine in Ontario. Proposals have been announced to return Units 1 and 2 of Bruce A to service and extend their life through to 2043. One of the 770 MW units was shut down in 1995 and the other in 1997 and although Bruce Power has already restarted two units of the mothballed Bruce A generating station, the remaining units are in much worse condition and will cost about three times as much to repair. Bruce Power chief executive Duncan Hawthorne has said he can’t commit to completing the project, which is expected to cost well over $2 billion, without getting some long-term assurance of its potential revenue. However, no agreement has been reached with the Energy Ministry on how to move the generators’ power to market.

Overshadowing the Bruce A situation is a growing energy crisis in the province with all of the operating nuclear plants in the province due to reach the end of their normal lives before 2020 and plans to close all the coal-fired stations by 2007. Together, nukes and coal already provide close to 70% of the province’s power while demand is set to grow at 1.7% annually.