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Candu raises bar in nuclear safety, clean energy

Discovery Reports

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 04 October, 2012, 5:00pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 04 October, 2012, 5:01pm

With the global clean energy race in full swing, Canada is emerging front and centre as it finds itself a winner in Candu Energy.

Candu Energy, a wholly-owned subsidiary of SNC-Lavalin, was the commercial reactor division of Atomic Energy of Canada, and it has been a leader in nuclear technology for 60 years.

"We bring authority in nuclear design development and a vision of becoming a world-class organisation," says Candu president and general manager Kevin Wallace. "Our goal is to be a cost-competitive, efficient and reliable partner as we grow in the international marketplace."

Nearly half of Ontario's electricity and 16 per cent of Canada's overall electricity requirements are supplied by CANDU (CANada Deuterium Uranium) reactors. They represent about 10 per cent of the global reactor fleet, and fill a vital role in clean air energy programmes on four continents with more than 22,000MW of installed capacity.

CANDU heavy water reactors use natural uranium, as opposed to enriched uranium used by light water reactors. They can be refuelled on power and have some of the highest lifetime capacity factors among the world's reactors. The company's Enhanced CANDU 6 (EC6) passed the second phase of the Canadian regulator's pre-project design review, making it the only generation III reactor that has completed the key step for licensing consideration for nuclear power plants in Canada.

The 700MW generation III reactor is better suited for small and medium electric grids than larger 1,000MW reactors. Candu is further developing EC6 to run on multiple fuel types, including recovered uranium, and is working with the mainland government to explore the use of the more abundant thorium.

"Candu's technology can help leverage China's thorium-rich nuclear profile to provide greater energy independence," Wallace says. "We are likewise looking at licensing our technologies to Asian clients that can manufacture the reactors locally so we can maintain intellectual property rights while catering to the competitive market."

Candu has installations in Romania, Argentina, South Korea and India and is targeting Turkey and Britain among other new destinations.