A crate of shield plug assemblies manufactured by Brotech Precision CNC for Bruce Power’s Major Component Replacement.
A company that marked a major milestone by making its first shipment of parts to Bruce Power for its Major Component Replacement, also hopes to have its facility up and running in Owen Sound in the coming months.Brotech Precision CNC announced last week that it had shipped its first field plug assemblies to Bruce Power in preparation for the start of the MCR at Bruce Power, which begins on Unit 6 in January. The company, whose main manufacturing facility is located in Barrie, has plans to operate a 10,000-square-foot facility in the former PPG glass-making plant, which is now Andpet Realty’s Peninsula Pro Growth Business Park. The Brotech facility, which is to be located next to BWXT Canada Inc., another Bruce Power supplier, is expected to eventually employ 10 to 15 people there.Jerome Horowitz, vice-president of Brotech, said Tuesday they are first proving their components at their Barrie location before transferring some of their production to Owen Sound.“I believe in the next three or four months we should start there,” he said.Brotech’s plans to expand into Owen Sound were announced last August, and Horowitz said those plans haven’t changed.“Every time we engage with Bruce Power or other members of the supply chain it is reinforcing the concept that the investment in Owen Sound is a good investment and that we need to continue developing skills there,” he said. “There is a lot of opportunity and there is a lot of need.”Horowitz said the Owen Sound site will start with two or three employees, with the plan to increase to 10 to 15 in the long term.He doesn’t expect concerns of a skilled trades shortage in the area to be an issue for the company. He said there may be opportunities for former employees of nearby Tenneco, which is closing its doors in stages by next year.“I believe that, yes there is a skills shortage, but there are ways that the skills shortage is being tackled,” said Horowitz. “Some of those include working with Georgian College to develop more apprentices and working with school boards to promote the skilled trades as a very viable opportunity.”Horowitz said the first shipment of shield plug assemblies announced last week is a big step for the company.“This is the start of several more milestones because we have other assemblies we are also working on developing,” said Horowitz. “We are proceeding fairly quickly with those as well in order to help make sure the reactor is going to be on time and on budget.”The assemblies are a critical part of the fuel channel in the nuclear reactor. Each channel requires an inlet and outlet shield plug assembly, with the first shipment including about 100 of the inlet assemblies, Horowitz said.Brotech has a $20.5 million contract with Bruce Power, which will see the company manufacture 1,028 assemblies per unit, for a total of 6,168 over the life of the six-unit MCR.Brotech also has a two-unit $5.4 million contract to manufacture 1,833 tools which will be used to remove and replace components of the reactors’ fuel channels.Horowitz said the outlet shield plugs and the tools will also be ready very shortly, as they are all critical for the MCR.The 16-year MCR will extend the life of Units 3 to 8 at Bruce Power. It is all part of the company’s life-extension program, which began in 2016, will continue until 2053 and will allow Bruce Power’s units to safely operate through to 2064.Bruce Power president and CEO Mike Rencheck said the shipment is a milestone for both Bruce Power and Brotech.“Every day we get closer to the start of the Unit 6 Major Component Replacement, and it is important to celebrate with our supplier partners as they realize the potential of good-paying jobs and Ontario-made products,” Rencheck said in a news release. We all enjoy success when we work together to build a carbon dioxide-free, low-cost energy future through nuclear power, and I congratulate Brotech on this achievement, and wish them continued success as they expand into Owen Sound and help power Ontario.”