Commission amends Bruce Power’s operating licence for Bruce Nuclear Generating Stations A and B with respect to fitness-for-service requirements for pressure tubes
October 16, 2023 – Ottawa
Today, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) announced the Commission’s decision to amend Bruce Power’s power reactor operating licence for Bruce Nuclear Generating Stations (NGS) A and B, with respect to fitness-for-service requirements for pressure tubes. The nuclear generating stations are located in the Municipality of Kincardine, Ontario, and on the traditional territory of the Anishinabek Nation: the Peoples of the Three Fires known as Ojibway, Odawa and Pottawatomie Nations. Thanks are given to the Chippewas of Saugeen and the Chippewas of Nawash, now known as the Saugeen Ojibway Nation, as the traditional keepers of this land. The Bruce region is also homeland to the Historic Saugeen Métis and to the Métis Nation of Ontario. This decision follows a public hearing in writing with interventions.
The Commission decided to remove licence condition 15.3, related to pressure tube fracture toughness, and to include a new licence condition requiring an enhanced fitness‑for-service program for fuel channels in extended operation. The licence amendment reflects recent Commission decisions with respect to elevated hydrogen equivalent concentrations ([Heq]) in pressure tubes. The amended licence remains valid until September 30, 2028.
In making its decision, the Commission considered written submissions from Bruce Power, CNSC staff and 8 intervenors. The Commission also considered submissions from the Commission’s External Advisory Committee on Pressure Tubes.
After reviewing all submissions, the Commission concluded that Bruce Power remains qualified to carry on the activities that the amended licence will authorize. The Commission also concluded that the proposed licence amendment will not result in any changes to Bruce Power’s operations, nor will it result in any adverse impacts to any potential or established Indigenous and/or treaty rights.
The record of decision is available upon request to the Commission Registry at email@example.com. The decision will also be posted in both official languages on the CNSC website at nuclearsafety.gc.ca at a later date. All submissions are also available on the CNSC website.
The CNSC regulates the use of nuclear energy and materials to protect health, safety, security and the environment; to implement Canada’s international commitments on the peaceful use of nuclear energy; and to disseminate objective scientific, technical and regulatory information to the public. The Commission is a quasi-judicial administrative tribunal set up at arm’s length from government, independent from any political, government or private sector influence.
- Following a public hearing in May 2018, the Commission renewed Bruce Power’s power reactor operating licence for Bruce NGS A and B, and included licence condition 15.3 related to pressure tube fracture toughness. Licence condition 15.3 required Bruce Power to obtain authorization from the Commission before operating a unit with [Heq] in excess of 120 parts per million (ppm).
- In 2021, Bruce Power discovered elevated [Heq] in excess of the 120 ppm limit at Bruce NGS A Unit 3, which was operating, and Bruce NGS B Unit 6, which had been shut down for major component replacement.
- On July 26, 2021, a CNSC designated officer issued an order to Bruce Power in respect of the Bruce NGS following the reporting of elevated [Heq] in pressure tubes to the CNSC. The Commission confirmed the designated officer order following a public hearing held on September 10, 2021.
- Following a public hearing in writing on November 12, 2021, the Commission determined that Bruce Power had satisfied the terms of the order with respect to Bruce NGS Units 4, 5, 7 and 8.
- Following a public hearing in writing on February 22, 2022, the Commission determined that Bruce Power had satisfied the terms of the order with respect to Bruce NGS Unit 3. With this decision, the Commission considered all the requirements of the order to have been satisfied for all affected Bruce NGS units.
- Bruce Power submitted an application to amend its power reactor operating licence on October 11, 2022.
- The amended power reactor operating licence is valid until September 30, 2028.
- [Heq] is the concentration of hydrogen by weight that would be present in a pressure tube if the deuterium atoms were replaced by hydrogen atoms. [Heq] is expressed in parts per million by weight.
- The Commission removed licence condition 15.3 since the requirements it imposed are no longer applicable.
- The Commission accepted CNSC staff’s recommendation to include a new licence condition 6.2 requiring Bruce Power to implement and maintain an enhanced fitness-for-service program for fuel channels in extended operation. The External Advisory Committee on Pressure Tubes agreed with this recommendation.
- CNSC oversight of nuclear power plants
- Pressure tubes and the CNSC response to findings of elevated [Heq]
- Information about the Commission’s External Advisory Committee on Pressure Tubes
· Hearing submissions
Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission
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