* Unit 2 reactor to be powered up for operational tests
* Will eventually produce electricity for 500,000 homes
* Unit 1 reactor nearing approval
TORONTO, March 16 (Reuters) - Canada’s nuclear regulator has given Bruce Power the green light to restart its Unit 2 reactor, which has been offline for nearly 20 years, the private Ontario power utility said on Friday.
The approval, from Canada’s Nuclear Safety Commission, allows the utility to power up the refurbished reactor to complete final safety and operations tests. The next step will be to link the reactor, located on the eastern shore of Lake Huron, to Ontario’s power grid.
Unit 2 is one of four reactors at Bruce Power’s Bruce A plant. The 750-megawatt Candu reactor is expected to produce enough electricity to power 500,000 homes.
Bruce Power expects to have approval to bring Bruce A’s Unit 1, also being refurbished, online in the coming months. Unit 1 and Unit 2 have been shut down since 1997 and 1995 respectively.
Once the two reactors are online, the Bruce A and Bruce B plants will be generating a combined 6,300 megawatts of power from eight reactors. Bruce Power currently generates about 4,700 megawatts from four units at Bruce B and two units at Bruce A.
Bruce Power is a partnership between uranium producer Cameco Corp and pipeline company TransCanada Corp. A retirement trust, the Power Workers’ Union, and the Society of Energy Professionals all have a smaller share.