Energy Minister Gerry Phillips announced a two-phase competitive Request For Proposal (RFP) process to select a nuclear reactor vendor.
"This step will give us extra capacity and reduce the need for coal-fired plants," Northumberland-Quinte West MPP Lou Rinaldi said. "Some of the existing nuclear reactors at Pickering, Darlington and Bruce are not working to their full potential, so the decision was made to invest in new ones."
The move is part of the province's 20-year energy plan, originally announced in June 2006, to reduce the need for coal-fired electrical generating plants and replace some of the old and inefficient nuclear generating plants.
It's been rumoured that OPG's site in Wesleyville, near Port Hope, may be in the running to host a reactor but OPG communications officer John Earl said in an interview that "the minister was asked directly what sites were being considered and he said Darlington and Bruce."
The plan involves nuclear generation supplying 50 per cent of Ontario's electrical power. The balance of power will come from green energy such as windmills, solar farms, energy from waste, and the new tunnel that is currently being constructed at Niagara Falls, Mr. Rinaldi said.
"One of our biggest challenges is right now there are so many businesses wanting to get into the power business, but the infrastructure is not there to harness it," Mr. Rinaldi said. "But all this is coming in line, and this proposal for new nuclear reactors is adequate for our needs."
According to Mr. Rinaldi, Infrastructure Ontario, which is made up of OPG, Bruce Power, and the ministries of energy and finance will manage the RFP process. A two-member decision review board will review the competitive process, and it will be monitored for fairness.
"The OPG is pleased the ministry has begun the process, and it's one we will watch with interest," Mr. Earl said. "OPG will be able to offer some input, but Infrastructure Ontario will lead the process." Four internationally recognized vendors are being invited to participate in the first phase of the proposal process, Mr. Rinaldi said.
AREVA NP will submit an RFP on the US Evolutionary Pressurized Reactor, Atomic Energy of Canada Limited on the ACR 1000 Advanced CANDU Reactor, GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy on the Economic Simplified Boiling Water Reactor, and Westinghouse Electric Company on an AP 1000(TM) nuclear power plant.