OPG to Kick Off Construction of Its First SMR in Canada Next Year

Ontario Power Generation (OPG) is set to begin construction on its inaugural Small Modular Reactor (SMR) project in Canada next year, signaling a significant step forward in the nation’s nuclear energy development.

In a pivotal announcement made in April 2024, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) confirmed that the existing environmental assessment for the Darlington New Nuclear Project (DNNP) is suitable for the BWRX‑300 SMR technology selected by OPG. This technology, developed by GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy, marks a critical advancement in nuclear reactor design.

The project has now moved into the site preparation phase, which involves excavating the initial segment of the SMR site. Subject to regulatory and shareholder approval, the construction of the nuclear facility is expected to commence in 2025.

Ken Hartwick, President and CEO of OPG, expressed confidence in the CNSC’s decision, emphasizing its role as a crucial step in OPG’s application process to license the construction of the first of four planned SMRs at the DNNP site.

The ongoing site preparation lays the groundwork for a fleet of four reactors, which will collectively generate enough clean electricity to power approximately 1.2 million homes in Ontario. Hartwick highlighted the strategic approach to the initial works and the overall project, noting the benefits of leveraging common infrastructure such as shared roads, public utilities, and water intakes. This strategy is anticipated to significantly reduce regulatory, construction, and operational costs.

Currently, OPG operates two nuclear power stations at Darlington with a combined capacity of 4,850 MW, reinforcing its robust presence in the nuclear energy sector.