Ontario Breaks Ground on World-Leading Small Modular Reactor
CLARINGTON – Site preparation is now underway for Canada’s first grid-scale small modular reactor (SMR) at Ontario Power Generation’s (OPG) Darlington nuclear site. This work marks another milestone in the province’s plan to build the reliable, affordable and clean electricity grid needed to enable electrification and attract more investment in the province’s economy.
“With global businesses looking to expand in jurisdictions with clean and cost-effective electricity, small modular reactors will help compete for and attract more game-changing investments in Ontario’s economy,” said Premier Doug Ford. “Our government is getting it done and building the future of nuclear energy right here in Ontario to support the needs of our growing province.”
In March of 2022, Niagara-based E.S. Fox was awarded the contract to deliver early site preparation work, including water supply, electrical power, information technology and road services, paving the way for the SMR to be constructed by 2028. This work, valued at $32 million, will support over 100 new jobs in the Durham region.
“Ontario is clearly leading the world when it comes to new nuclear technologies,” said Todd Smith, Minister of Energy. “The Darlington SMR, part of our larger plan to ensure a reliable, affordable and clean electricity system, will ensure that we have the electricity we need to support our success in driving electrification and attracting new jobs to the province including unprecedented investments, from electric vehicles and battery manufacturing to clean steelmaking.”
The new SMR at Darlington will be Ontario’s first nuclear reactor build in a generation. This project alone will deliver 300 MW of electricity, which is enough to power 300,000 homes. Canada’s first grid-scale SMR at Darlington is part of the Ontario government’s larger plan to meet emerging energy needs and ensure a reliable, affordable and clean electricity supply including:
Procuring 4,000 MW of new electricity generation and storage resources, which includes the largest procurement of clean energy storage in Canada’s history.
Rolling out $342 million in new and enhanced energy efficiency programs while helping families and businesses reduce their electricity use so they can save money on their energy bills.
Supporting OPG’s continued safe operation of the Pickering Nuclear Generating Station and tasking OPG to update their refurbishment feasibility assessment for the station.
Directing the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) to recontract clean generation at existing forest biomass and hydroelectric facilities.
Conducting a successful Medium-Term Request for Proposals to recontract existing electricity generation resources at a 30 per cent discount, keeping costs down for ratepayers.
SMRs have the potential to drive job creation, economic growth and export opportunities and would allow Ontario to leverage its highly skilled nuclear industry and workforce to be a potential supplier of products, services and expertise in the global SMR market.
Minister Smith recently completed a successful trade mission to Czech Republic, Poland and Estonia to discuss nuclear energy and SMRs, strengthen existing relationships and support our allies in Europe looking to build their energy independence. This mission included the signing of new agreements with major European energy companies ČEZ and Synthos Green Energy.
In December 2021, GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy was named as OPG’s technology development partner to deploy a BWRX-300 SMR at the Darlington new nuclear site.
Ontario currently has 15 nuclear reactors in operation – and three reactors under refurbishment – at three sites, providing over 50 per cent of the province’s clean electricity. The Darlington SMR will be the first new reactor in the province since 1993.
"This project leverages OPG’s decades of experience in providing reliable, safe and affordable electricity as well as Ontario’s strong nuclear supply chain to develop the next generation of nuclear power. The electricity produced by the SMR at Darlington will help ensure we meet Ontario’s growing energy needs, as electrification drives demand."
- Ken Hartwick OPG President and CEO
Learn more about small modular reactors Read A Strategic Plan for the Deployment of Small Modular Reactors