Douglas Point Reactor
The Douglas Point reactor is a shutdown prototype nuclear power reactor owned by AECL and located in Kincardine, Ontario. It operated from 1966 to 1984. AECL and Ontario Hydro collaborated to design Douglas Point as a steam condenser power reactor.
At the time, it was the largest steam condenser in Canada. As a prototype reactor, Douglas Point provided a valuable operating experience to Ontario Hydro and AECL in advancing reactor development. Prior to its shutdown in 1984, the reactor provided electricity to the grid and served as a source of steam for a heavy-water extraction plant.
The Douglas Point reactor is currently in a ‘safe shutdown state’. This means that the reactor is not operating, fuel has been removed and the facility is being left in place to allow for radioactive decay. Maintenance activities continue to ensure that the buildings and support facilities are kept in good working order.
Douglas Point is operated by CNL on behalf of AECL. Current activities undertaken by CNL are focused on decommissioning, where appropriate, non-nuclear facilities.
In July of 2019, CNL submitted an application to the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, Canada’s independent nuclear regulator, to proceed with some decommissioning activities, including the removal of non-nuclear buildings and structures and removing some waste. If permission is granted, this would only allow for partial decommissioning activities to proceed. Indeed, many additional detailed decommissioning plans and environmental reviews will be required to fully decommission the reactor. These additional requirements will involve public and Indigenous engagement and participation in the regulatory decision process. The removal of the reactor building and the spent fuel canisters is not scheduled to occur until after 2030.
It should also be noted that the current high-level decommissioning strategy does not involve in situ decommissioning as the reactor vessel is located above ground. Full decommissioning plans for the reactors have not yet been determined. Any decommissioning activities will have to be approved by the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission.