TransCanada Corporation (TSX: TRP) (NYSE: TRP) (TransCanada) announced it is pleased Bruce Power has received authorization from the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission to power up the Unit 2 reactor, effectively ending the construction and commissioning phases of the project.
"This positive development represents the final major step necessary toward bringing the reactor into service," said Russ Girling, TransCanada's president and chief executive officer. "When we committed to additional investments in Bruce A, we said the re-start project was an attractive, long-term growth opportunity for TransCanada. With this milestone being reached, we move further toward realizing the sustainable earnings we expect Bruce Power to generate."
Bruce Power will now complete final safety checks for the Unit 2 reactor as preparations begin to synchronize the unit to Ontario's electricity grid. The company anticipates the unit will start commercial operations in the second quarter of this year. Refurbishment of the Unit 1 reactor at Bruce Power is progressing as well and it is expected to begin operations in the third quarter of 2012.
TransCanada's share of the net capital cost of the refurbishment is expected to be $2.4 billion. Once the work is complete, Bruce Power will be the world's largest nuclear power facility, generating more than 6,200 megawatts (MW) or about 25 per cent of Ontario's power.
Bringing Bruce Power Unit 2 into service further complements TransCanada's significant and growing energy investments in Ontario. The company currently owns and operates the 683 MW Halton Hills Generating Station, has a 50 per cent interest in the 550 MW Portlands Energy Centre (PEC) on the Toronto waterfront and we recently announced a $470 million agreement to purchase nine Ontario solar power generation projects. The Bruce re-start project, Halton Hills, PEC and the solar projects represent an investment in Ontario energy infrastructure of approximately $4 billion to produce low emission and emissions-free power.
Bruce Power consists of two generating stations (Bruce A & B) with each station housing four nuclear reactors. Six of those reactors are currently operational, producing more than 4,700 MW of power. TransCanada owns 49 per cent of Bruce A and 32 per cent of Bruce B.