British Energy PLC said the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) has confirmed that the two regulatory hearings to consider the case for the restart of Bruce A's units 3 and 4 can take place in December this year and February next year.
As a result, Bruce Power now expects the restart of Bruce A's unit 4 to be brought forward to April 2003, with the restart of unit 3 shortly afterwards. In both cases this is ahead of the previous target to restart the units in summer 2003.
Bruce Power chief executive Duncan Hawthorne said: "We're pleased to receive confirmation from the CNSC that those hearing dates can be achieved. We understand our case will have to be made at the hearings. However, the fact that we have provided the regulator, in a timely fashion, with all of the materials necessary to justify our restart - and have conducted our own thorough reviews of the project - gives us high confidence for a successful outcome."
British Energy said Bruce Power is well advanced with the restart programme for the two units. The estimated cost of the project has been increased to 160 million ponds from 140 million originally.
The return of the two units will increase the total operational capacity of Bruce Power by 1,500 MW to 4,700 MW.
British Energy said the expected earlier restart of the two units underpins its confidence that Bruce Power will deliver an average of 25 million pounds for each of its six reactors in the financial year ending March 2004.