Ontario Power Generation commits over $25 million for estimate on two new nuclear reactors at Darlington as layoffs loom

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Ontario Power Generation (OPG) has agreed to pay two prospective reactor builders $26 million to come up with an estimate on how much two new nuclear reactors at the Darlington Generating Station would cost, Energy Minister Chris Bentley told a Queen’s Park committee Wednesday.

OPG signed agreements with Westinghouse and SNC-Lavalin/Candu Energy Inc. (where a  labour dispute is currently playing out) this week, further developing plans for new nuclear reactors at the Darlington Nuclear Power Plant.  Each company will spend the next year developing detailed construction plans, schedules and the cost for two reactors next to Darlington.

The designs are for an enhanced Candu 6 reactor by Candu Energy, a unit of SNC-Lavalin, and the AP 1000 reactor by Westinghouse.

Paying prospective builders for coming up with a cost estimate is normal practice for massive projects such as nuclear reactors, OPG spokesman Ted Gruetzner said in an e-mail.

“This is common in large projects like this, as there is recognition that firms will incur expenses in order to provide the level of detail we require,” Gruetzner wrote.

The utility also has contracts in place for the refurbishment of the four existing reactors at the Darlington nuclear station, equipped with Candu reactors.

Canadu Energy’s sister firm SNC-Lavalin Nuclear has won part of the first contract – $600 million of preparation and design work.

Meanwhile, Ontario Power Generation’s has been pushing efforts to reduce costs in other areas, including plans to terminate at least a thousand jobs from the company payroll by 2014.

The cost-cutting strategy has prompted other changes at OPG, which is owned by the Ontario government and generates about 70 per cent of the province’s electricity.

More cuts may also be coming, as Ontario’s minority Liberal government announced in its spring budget that it would undertake a cost-savings review of the province’s energy sector.

Source: CBC

Source: Cnews

Source: The Star

Source: Durham Region

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