Home > CANDU Reactors > CANDU History

CANDU History

1941 

George C. Laurence builds one of the world’s first nuclear reactors at the National Research Council laboratories in Ottawa.

1944 

National Research Council builds nuclear research facility at Chalk River, Ontario. 

1945 

Canada becomes the second country to control nuclear fission in a reactor – the ZEEP (zero energy experimental pile) at Chalk River.

1952  

Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd. (AECL) is created to develop peaceful uses of nuclear energy. 

1954  

Wilfrid B. Lewis initiates the development of the CANDU reactor through cooperation between AECL, Ontario Hydro and Canadian General Electric Company. 

1962 

The NPD (Nuclear Power Demonstration) reactor – Canada’s first electricity-producing reactor – comes online feeding power to the Canadian electricity grid for the first time. The 20 MWe reactor successfully demonstrates the feasibility of the CANDU concept with on-power refuelling and heavy water moderator and coolant. 

1968  

The Douglas Point facility – Canada’s first full-scale nuclear generating station – comes online. Operated by Ontario Hydro, the reactor uses the CANDU design. 

1971  

The first CANDU reactor begins commercial operation (at Pickering A Unit 1) in Ontario. It produces more electricity than any other nuclear power facility at the time.        

1983  

In Canada, Point Lepreau and Gentilly-2 begin commercial operation. Two more CANDU 6 units in Argentina and Korea begin commercial operation this year as well. CANDU reactors hold seven of the top 10 places for lifetime performance.

1984-1987  Four 915 MWe reactor units begin operation at Ontario Hydro’s Bruce B site. 
1987  

The CANDU reactor is ranked as one of Canada’s top 10 engineering achievements of the century in celebrations marking Canada's engineering centennial. 

1993  

With final (of four) Darlington units in operation, Canada has 22 nuclear power reactors in Ontario, Quebec and New Brunswick. 

1996  

Two CANDU reactors are sold to China in what is the largest commercial contract between China and Canada in the 20th century.

1996  

Romania’s Cernavoda 1 station begins commercial operation. 

1996  

Bruce Unit 3 becomes the first CANDU reactor in the world to reach 100 million MWh of lifetime gross energy production, which is enough to supply a city the size of Thunder Bay for 90 years.  

1997-1998  

Korea's Wolsong 2 and 3 units begin commercial operation. 

2001  

First tests of mixed oxide fuel (MOX) underway at Chalk River. 

2002  

China's Qinshan III unit reaches full power. 

2003  

Two CANDU units in China are delivered under budget and four months ahead of schedule, which is the fastest construction of a nuclear power facility in China. 

2008  

New Brunswick Power begins refurbishing the Point Lepreau generating station. 

2009  

KHNP begins retubing the Wolsong 1 generating station. 

2010  

Nuclear energy generates over 58% of Ontario's total electricity. 

2011  

Wolsong 1 returns to the grid after a successful retube project extends the life of the station by up to 30 years.

2011  

Candu Energy Inc. is created.  

 2012 

 Bruce Units 1 & 2 returned to the grid after successful retube project.

Point Lepreau generating station returned to commercial operation following successful retube project.