Bruce County Warden Paul Eagleson [left] and Bruce Power President & CEO Mike Rencheck sign an agreement extending their economic development partnership through 2021. (Photo by Jordan Mackinnon)

Nuclear Innovation Institute Coming To Bruce County

Bruce Power and Bruce County council are coming together to create a centre of excellence for the nuclear industry.

The pair announced they will be extending their economic development agreement through 2021, and in the process, will be constructing Ontario’s Nuclear Innovation Institute in Southampton.

Bruce Power President and CEO Mike Rencheck says it’s an opportunity to harness the extensive nuclear knowledge in the area, which has grown with the arrival of dozens of nuclear suppliers in recent months.

He says exact specifics are still being worked on, but the institute will focus on developing new technology as well as training the next generation of skilled workers for the nuclear industry.

“We’ll be able to look forward through the next generations and really look at some of the breaking technologies,” says Rencheck. “Having that in our community, having that available to our youth to get experience in before they go off to college, university, or before they begin a career in the trades will certainly be helpful.”

Rencheck says the institute will focus on artificial intelligence, medical isotopes, environmental protection, Indigenous economic development, as well as overall nuclear operational excellence.

He adds they are looking at land adjacent to the Bruce County Museum and Cultural Centre as a preferred location, but adds dialogue with the local community will help determine an exact location for the facility.

Bruce County Warden Paul Eagleson says it has been a whirlwind of development since the county and Bruce Power began their partnership two years ago, but says talk of building the institute has only been on the table in the last several months.

“The partnership to bring all the [nuclear] companies here has been absolutely fantastic, signing a memorandum of understanding today to move it on to 2021 is great,” says Eagleson. “This innovation centre is obviously pretty exciting and fantastic, but we’ve moved pretty quickly on this.”

Eagleson says the next steps in developing plans for the institute will be announced following next month’s provincial election, but adds they hope to have ground broken by no later than 2020.