By reaching commercial operation on October 19, the Watts Bar 2 unit became the first nuclear power plant to come on stream in the US in 20 years. The new reactor program, which includes four other large reactors under construction, and another five planned, is part of a quiet nuclear renaissance that’s taking shape in the US today. Nuclear energy production in the US continues to be near all-time highs with recent developments indicating that it is likely to grow in the coming years.
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Ontario has shown its further commitment to carbon-free, nuclear energy with the approval of a 30-year life extension program for the four reactors at the Darlington site announced in early January. Ontario’s Minister of Energy was quoted as saying: “Proceeding with the refurbishment at Darlington will ensure that nuclear continues to be Ontario’s single largest source of power.” Hot on the heels of the Darlington news was the green light for an application to be made for the four reactors at the Pickering site to continue operating beyond the originally planned closure date of 2018: the application will be for two of the reactors to continue producing electricity until 2022 and for the other two to continue until 2024.
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