Bruce Nuclear Generating Station

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Bruce Nuclear Generating Station is a Canadian nuclear power station located on the eastern shore of Lake Huron, in the communities of Inverhuron and Tiverton, Ontario. It occupies 932 ha (2300 acres) of land. The facility derives its name from Bruce County in which it is located, in the former Bruce Township. It is the second largest nuclear generating station in the world by net electrical power rating. Formerly known as the Bruce Nuclear Power Development (BNPD), the facility was constructed in stages between 1970 and 1987 by the provincial Crown corporation, Ontario Hydro. In April 1999 Ontario Hydro was split into 5 component Crown corporations with Ontario Power Generation (OPG) taking over all electrical generating stations. In June 2000, OPG entered into a long term lease agreement with private sector consortium Bruce Power to take over operation of the Bruce station. In May 2001, Bruce Power began operations. The lease is for 18 years (until 2019) with an option to extend a further 25 years (to 2044). The Bruce station is the largest nuclear facility in North America, and second largest in the world (after Kashiwazaki-Kariwa in Japan), comprising 8 CANDU nuclear reactors having a total output of 6,232 MW (net) and 7,276 MW (gross) when all units are online. Current output with 6 of the 8 reactors on line is 4,640 MW. The Bruce station has two 500 kV transmission lines going out of it to feed the major load centres in southern Ontario, in addition to three 230 kV lines serving the local area. The station is the largest employer in the county, with 3800 workers. In November 2009, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission renewed Bruce Power’s operating licences for 5 years (until 2014), as well as giving permission to refuel units 1 and 2.

The 8 reactors are arranged into two plants (A and B) of 4 reactors. Each reactor is within a reinforced concrete containment, with eight steam generators. The steam generators are 12m tall, and weigh 100 tonnes each. Reactors share fueling machines which travel in a duct traversing the entire plant. The duct is cut through solid rock beneath the reactors, and doubles as part of the pressure relief system, connected to the vacuum building. Each reactor has its own turbine generator. The turbine hall (about 400 m long) at each plant houses the four turbines. Cooling water is taken from Lake Huron.

Bruce A
  • BRUCE A 1
    • construction begins 1969
    • in service 1977 (approximately 8 years to build)
    • out of service December 1997 (after about 20 years);
    • currently being refurbished (as of December 2010 idle 13 years)
    • expected retirement 2043
  • BRUCE A 2
    • in service 1977
    • out of service October 1995 (18 years)
    • currently (Feb 2011) being refurbished, expected restart 2012
    • expected retirement 2043
  • BRUCE A 3
    • in service 1978
    • out of service April 1998
    • returned to service March 2004
    • limited to 92.5% of power
  • BRUCE A 4
    • in service 1979
    • out of service January 1998
    • returned to service November 2003
Construction of Bruce A began in 1969, making it the successor to the Pickering A plant. Bruce A units are rated at 750MW of electricity net, and 805MW gross. Another source gives the figures of 769 MW and 825 MW. Each reactor requires 6240 fuel bundles that weigh 22.5 kg each, or about 140 tonnes of fuel. There are 480 fuel channels per reactor, containing 13 bundles each. There is storage capacity for about 23000 bundles. About 16 bundles are discharged per reactor per day. The Bruce A steam generators have a separate, horizontal steam drum (one steam drum common to four steam generators). This design had been dropped in most other plants at the time. Issues related to the (AECL requested) design of the tube supports caused repair and delay costs which exceeded the net worth of the builder Babcock & Wilcox Canada. Bruce A demonstrated an "excellent" early operating history. Together with Pickering A, the eight units achieved an overall average capability factor of 83% over the initial five year period. In 1982, Unit 3 set a (then) world record of 494 days of continuous operation. Bruce A was the most reliable multi-unit station in the world in 1984. In 1986 maintenance workers accidentally left a protective lead blanket in the steam generator of Bruce A 2. By the time the mistake was discovered six years later, the blanket had melted, severely damaging the boiler. At the time Bruce Power took the lease (2001), all Bruce A units were laid-up

Bruce B
  • BRUCE B 5
    • in service 03/01/1985
  • BRUCE B 6
    • in service 09/14/1984
  • BRUCE B 7
    • in service 04/10/1986
  • BRUCE B 8
    • in service 05/22/1987
The Bruce B plant stands somewhat to the south of the original Douglas Point and Bruce A plants. Construction began in 1977. Bruce B units are slightly larger capacity: 817 MW net, 840 MW gross. The slightly higher value is attributed to an improved steam generator design, where the steam drum is integral to each steam generator in a "light bulb" arrangement, eliminating the horizontal cross-drum. With the completion of Bruce B in 1987, Bruce was the largest nuclear site in the world. In 2007 Bruce 7 was the top performing nuclear reactor in Ontario with 97.2% performance. In 2009, Bruce 5 was first with 95.4%

Electrical Output
By year, the station (A and B combined) produced the following amounts of electricity:
  • 2001 20.5 terawatt hours (TWh);
  • 2003 24.5 TWh;
  • 2004 (planned) 34 TWh.
  • 2007 35.47 TWh
  • 2008 35.26 TWh
In 2006, OPA proposed increasing transmission line capacity from the plant, at a cost of between $200”“600 million, described as "the largest electricity transmission investment in Ontario in the last 20 years." In 2010, Bruce Power was paid approximately $60 million for contracted, but unused power.

Comparison with Pickering
Compared to the Pickering station, the Bruce reactors have higher power output, achieved by: increasing the number of fuel channels, increasing the number of bundles channel, and a change in the fuel bundle itself. The number of steam generators and coolant pumps was reduced, thereby simplifing the piping. The fueling equipment is shared by the four reactors of each plant. The design of the safety system was modified, Bruce use a liquid "poison" injection method, whereas at Pickering the moderator water is dumped. The Bruce system also has a high-pressure emergency cooling system. The design of the reactor buildings differs. Each Bruce "4 pack" has its own Vacuum Building, while Pickering has one per eight reactors.

Retubing of Bruce A units was planned in 1992, although this was deferred, as Ontario Hydro had a surplus of generation at the time. In late 2005, Bruce Power and the Government of Ontario committed to return units 1 and 2 to service, in order to help meet increasing energy demand in the province of Ontario. The project was originally estimated to cost $4.25 billion. It was determined that while Units 1&2 could have been restarted without refurbishment, it was believed to be economical advantageous to do so, since refurbishment would have been required shortly thereafter. The goal is to keep units 1&2 in service until 2043, 66 years after original commissioning. The refurbishment required:
  • Pressure tube and calandria tube replacement
  • Steam generator replacement
  • Shutdown System 2 (SDS2) enhancement
  • Significant other work and maintenance (for example, 30 transformers containing PCBs will be replaced.)
A new fuel bundle design (Low Void Reactivity Fuel, LVRF) is being considered, which uses slightly enriched (1% U-235) fuel pellets, within a CANFLEX 43-element bundle (compared to the existing 37-element bundle). In 2006 and 2007, the restart project was judged to be the largest infrastructure project in Canada by ReNew Canada magazine. Estimated cost for the project later grew to $5.25 billion when Bruce Power decided to replace all 480 fuel channels in Unit 4, which will extend its working life to 2036, in line with the other 3 units of Bruce A. In 2008, due to difficulties developing the necessary robotics, the estimated cost of restarting Units 1 and 2 was raised between $400 and $700 million. The project, however, remained on schedule. The auditor general reviewed the refurbishment deal in 2007 In January 2010, up to 217 workers were potentially exposed to radiation during the refurbishment. 27 workers may have received 5 mSv. Only one lab in Canada (at Chalk River ) was qualified to do the testing. Bruce Power had to seek permission to use alternative labs. In 2010, a plan to ship decommissioned, low-level radioactive steam generators to Sweden via the Great Lakes caused controversy. The CNSC approved the plan in February 2011. In 2011, it was reported that Unit1 and 2 refurbishment, originally scheduled for 2009, is now predicted to be in commercial operation in 2012. Cost is $3.8 billion so far; the final cost is expected to be $4.8 billion. The original 2005 estimate was $2.75 billion. As of January 2011, fuel channel installation in Units 1 and 2 was complete.

New Station/Future Development
As part of a plan submitted to the Ontario Energy Board for approval, the Ontario Power Authority recommended building a new nuclear power station consisting of at least two reactors. The leading candidate is AECL's Advanced CANDU Reactor. Environmental assessments are currently underway both at Bruce and at Ontario Power Generation's Darlington Nuclear Generating Station. In 2009, Bruce Power withdrew its application to the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) for the Bruce C plant

Also On Site

Douglas Point
Encompassed by the Bruce site is the shut-down Douglas Point reactor, an earlier version of the CANDU design. Construction began in 1960; was operational in 1967; and was shut down in 1984. The present Bruce reactors each are roughly 4 times the capacity of the 200MW Douglas Point unit.

Bruce Heavy Water Plant
At one time the Bruce Heavy Water Plant (BHWP) also occupied the site. Atomic Energy of Canada Limited contracted the Lummus Company of Canada Limited in 1969 to design and construct the first phase of the plant, while Ontario Hydro was responsible for commissioning and operating. It was planned to consist of four sub-plants, A through D:
  • A was in production in 1973, shutdown in 1984, and demolished in 1993
  • B was in production in 1979, partially shutdown in 1993, completely closed in 1997, and scheduled for demolition in 2003
  • C was cancelled, and never built
  • D was 70% completed when cancelled, and subsquently demolished in 1995
During its lifetime, BHWP produced 16,000 megagrams (Mg) of reactor grade heavy water. Capacity of each sub-plant was planned to be 800 Mg/annum. The plant size was approximately 960 m by 750 m. The heavy water was 99.75% pure. The production of a single pound of heavy water required 340,000 pounds of feed water. ===Bruce Bulk Steam System (BBSS)=== Steam from Bruce A could be diverted to the bulk steam system to provide energy for the production of Heavy Water (750 MW thermal), to heat buildings within the development (15 MW th), or to provide energy (72 MW th) for the adjacent Bruce Energy Centre (BEC). The BEC supported industries such as greenhouses and plastic manufacturers. As one of the largest bulk steam systems in the world, this system could produce 5,350 MW of medium-pressure process steam, and had over 6 km of piping. It was demolished by the end of 2006. Because of the requirement to provide steam, the Bruce A turbines are undersized relative to the reactor power.

Waste Storage
The Bruce station area is also the site of OPG's Western Waste Management Facility (WWMF). The WWMF stores all the low and intermediate level nuclear waste from the operation of OPG's 20 nuclear reactors, including those leased to Bruce Power. In addition, the facility provides dry fuel storage for the Bruce reactors. As of 2009, there are 11 Low level storage buildings. One of these buildings is built on the WWMF site about every two years. OPG has contracted the Nuclear Waste Management Organization (NWMO) to seek regulatory approval for construction of a proposed Deep Geologic Repository (DGR). The proposed DGR would manage about 160,000 cubic metres of low and intermediate level waste in underground emplacement rooms.

At one point in time three Greenpeace activists canoed into the site to demonstrate the lack of security. The pre- 9/11 mandate of the security team was to delay attackers for 17 minutes, until local police could respond. Reliance was on passive measures such as fencing and locks. The "transformed" post 9/11 security team is described as being larger than the police force of the city of Kingston, i.e. equivalent to the force of a city of 100,000. Force members are permitted to carry firearms, and have powers of arrest. The force possesses armoured vehicles, water craft, and the plant is now triple-fenced. In May 2008, the Bruce Nuclear Response Team (NRT) won the U.S. National SWAT Championship (USNSC), defeating 29 other teams from 4 countries, the first time a Canadian team won an international SWAT event. They won again in 2009 and 2010 In 2010, about 40 contract workers were fired for inappropriate internet usage, raising questions about the security of the plant. Post 9/11, tours of the plant area were discontinued, although a visitor center remains. According to the Bruce County emergency plan, "The Municipality of Kincardine will coordinate the emergency response concerns of a nuclear emergency situation resulting from an accident at the Bruce Power Site in the Municipality of Kincardine.". Kincardine is required to maintain a warning system within 3 km of the plant, and has a network of 10 warning stations equipped with sirens and strobes. A variety of radiation monitoring measures are in place. Milk samples from local farms are sampled weekly. Drinking water at treatment plants in Kincardine and Southhampton is sampled twice daily, and tested weekly. Ground water is sampled from several surface water, shallow and deep well locations. Aquatic sediment and fish are analysed, as well as livestock feed, honey, eggs, fruits and vegetables.

Building Activity

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