Ontario Power Generation (OPG) and Electricité de France (EDF) plan to assess the feasibility of deploying EDF’s large nuclear reactor technology in Canada.

A letter of interest was signed between the two utilities as stakeholders of the nuclear industry gathered in Paris for the World Nuclear Exhibition.

OPG and EDF will initially explore the technical and licensing requirements for EPR technology deployment within Canada’s regulatory landscape. Any deployment efforts would leverage Ontario and Canada’s nuclear supply chain should an EDF reactor be deployed there.

EPR stands for European Pressurized Reactor and is also known as the Evolutionary Power Reactor. It is a third-generation pressurized water reactor.

In partnership with Framatome, EDF began to develop the EPR starting in the early-2000s. The French utility’s aim was a design and operation that would allow a more efficient use of fuel and a reduction in the amount of waste produced. The EPR received French design approval in 2004.

According to the World Nuclear Association (WNA), it is a four-loop design derived from the German Konvoi types with features from the French N4 and was expected to provide power about 10% cheaper than the N4.

The ERP has double containment with four separate, redundant active safety systems, and boasts a core catcher under the pressure vessel, according to WNA. The safety systems are physically separated through four ancillary buildings on the same concrete raft, and two of them are aircraft crash protected.

The first EPR unit began construction at Olkiluoto in Finland, the second at Flamanville in France and the third European one was to be at Penly in France. However, the first EPR to be grid connected was at Taishan in China. It entered commercial operation at the end of 2018.

While the EPR design has been implemented in several nuclear power plants worldwide, these projects have faced challenges, including delays and cost overruns.

A U.S. version was submitted for design certification in December 2007 but the process was suspended.

Ontario has called for almost 18,000 MW of new nuclear capacity by 2050. OPG also plans to build North America’s first fleet of small modular reactors (SMRs) at its Darlington New Nuclear site. OPG says the first of four 300 MW SMRs will be completed by the end of 2028, and online by the end of 2029.

“The world is watching what is happening in Ontario when it comes to new nuclear development including our first-of-a-kind SMR program at Darlington and pre-development work for the first large-scale nuclear build In Ontario in more than three decades,” said Ontario Minister of Energy Todd Smith.

“This letter of interest between OPG and EDF demonstrates the continued international interest in Ontario and Canada’s robust nuclear supply chain.”

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