SNC-Lavalin to build historic nuclear energy project

The small modular reactor is a first for Canada and will help Ontario reach its emissions goals.

A rendering shows what the reactor could look like when complete. – Ontario Power Generation

Key Takeaways:

  • SNC-Lavalin is partnering with Ontario Power Generation to build Canada’s first grid-scale small modular reactor. 
  • The project will be built using an alliance contracting model that includes Aecon and GE-Hitachi.
  • Officials say projects like this are critical for reaching Ontario’s zero-emission power goals. 
  • It will be Canada’s first new nuclear reactor in 30 years. 

The Whole Story:

Candu Energy Inc. a member of the SNC-Lavalin Group has entered into an agreement with Ontario Power Generation (OPG) to deliver the Darlington New Nuclear Project.

The project is spearheading the deployment of the GEH BWRX-300 Small Modular Reactor (SMR) before the end of the decade. It will be the first grid-scale SMR deployed in Canada.

“SNC-Lavalin is a strong proponent for the necessary role of nuclear power in the Net Zero energy mix,” said Ian L. Edwards, president and CEO, SNC-Lavalin. “As we’ve laid out in our Engineering Net Zero report, Canada’s 2050 Net Zero commitments will require large-scale electrification of transportation, buildings and heavy industrial processes. That electricity needs to be generated from clean, reliable, and cost-efficient sources, whose employment in the energy mix will not weaken energy security. Our involvement in what will be Canada’s first SMR to come to market, and its first nuclear new build in roughly 30 years, reaffirms SNC-Lavalin’s leading position in the nuclear energy market, for both existing and new nuclear technologies.”

The project will be delivered using a six-year alliance agreement approach. SNC-Lavalin said this in itself is an innovation for a nuclear project in North America. As part of an alliance with Aecon and GE-Hitachi, SNC-Lavalin will provide OPG with a diverse range of expertise for the engineering and build of the Darlington Nuclear Generating Station’s SMR. This is expected to include deploying project management, licensing, engineering, design, procurement, construction support and commissioning, as well as digital delivery capabilities in both the nuclear island and balance of plant scopes for the project.

Darlington Nuclear Generating Station
Darlington Nuclear Generating Station. – Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission

“Following our on-time, on-budget success working with OPG on the refurbishment of Darlington’s existing CANDU reactors, we are very pleased to contribute our expertise with our alliance partners on this exciting new build,” said Joe St. Julian, president, nuclear, SNC-Lavalin. “Canada was the second country in the world to ever generate commercial nuclear power. Together with our alliance partners, we will ensure Canada again leads the way to advance an exciting new frontier in nuclear energy. We continue to work with SMR vendors in Canada and around the world to bring more of these reactors online, coinciding with a rise in interest from jurisdictions looking to use nuclear power to decarbonize their energy mix, while maintaining their energy self-sufficiency.”

SNC-Lavalin says it plans to leverage its Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission licensing expertise and experience as a reactor developer. As the original equipment manufacturer of CANDU reactors, SNC-Lavalin is the only company to have a technology pass all three phases of the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission’s pre-project design review, and will leverage its extensive nuclear new build expertise to drive a successful outcome for this first of a kind project.

“SMRs will play a key role in helping to reinvigorate Ontario’s economy and further support the province and Canada as we work toward meeting our climate change targets of zero-emission electricity,” said Ken Hartwick, president and CEO of OPG. “Canada’s ability to lead in global SMR deployment is enabled by our strong nuclear supply chain, as evidenced by the on time, on budget delivery of the existing Darlington Refurbishment Project. Building on our relationship as part of that refurbishment, we are pleased to welcome SNC-Lavalin and its expertise to the team that is deploying the BWRX-300 as the first SMR to be commissioned in North America.”


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