Canada Celebrates 50th Anniversary of Nuclear Power Generation

The Canadian nuclear industry today celebrates the 50th anniversary of nuclear power generation in Canada!

On June 4th, 1962, in Rolphton, Ontario, the Nuclear Power Demonstration (NPD) reactor began supplying electricity to the Ontario grid, producing enough electricity to power 10,000 homes.  Today, nuclear power generation supplies 15 % of Canada’s safe, clean, and reliable electricity, and almost 60% in Ontario alone.

Birds-eye view of NPD

“This historic achievement marks an important milestone in Canada’s leadership in nuclear energy and technology,” said Denise Carpenter, Canadian Nuclear Association President and CEO. “The NPD was made possible through the combined expertise and innovation of several companies we know today, such as AECL, and with the support and direction of the National Research Council.”

One of NPD’s essential roles was as a prototype for Canada’s homegrown CANDU technology as it was the first heavy-water power reactor in the world. It used Canadian natural uranium and assumed the horizontal pressure-tube arrangement, which is characteristic of all CANDU units to this day. This made NPD the first commercial power reactor to have a completely replaceable core, and the first to refuel while operating at full power – both signature CANDU traits.

In the five decades since, Canada’s CANDU nuclear fleet has grown to include 20 reactors with two more planned at Darlington in Ontario to help the province achieve its clean energy goals – similarly, this was the goal when nuclear energy was developed 50 years ago to compete with coal.

“Today also marks the kick-off of Canadian Environment Week,” added Carpenter. “This is particularly significant since nuclear energy provides a clean and reliable source of power that is an important part of Canada’s clean energy portfolio.”

The role of nuclear in Canada goes far beyond being a safe, clean, affordable, available, and reliable source of energy. Nuclear has an important role to play in medicine, research, food safety, highly-skilled jobs, and makes crucial contributions to other industries across the Canadian economy.

The women and men who worked to give us the gift of the clean, reliable, affordable nuclear power generation we enjoy today. Thank you!

The NPD was shut down in 1987 after having exceeded its operational goals. Our thanks to the women and men who brought us this strong symbol of Canadian innovation for a powerful, clean energy future.

For more information about nuclear in Canada and around the world, please visit CNA’s Factbook.

 

Additional Info:

AECL marks 50th anniversary of nuclear power in Canada – June 4, 2012

50th anniversary of nuclear power in Canada observed at UOIT – April 9, 2012

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