Ontario taps four firms for nuclear proposals

TORONTO (Reuters) - Ontario, keen to close its remaining coal-fired power plants, said on Friday it has asked four nuclear firms for proposals to replace the Canadian province’s aging nuclear facilities with new reactors.

Canada’s most populous province said it was a step in its 20-year plan, announced in August, to spend C$26.5 billion ($26.8 billion) on nuclear power supply.

The province is eyeing AREVA’s US evolutionary pressurized reactor, Atomic Energy of Canada’s ACR 1000 advanced CANDU reactor, GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy’s economic simplified boiling water reactor, and Westinghouse Electric Co’s AP 1000 nuclear power plant.

AECL is a government-owned nuclear technology company; Westinghouse is a unit of Toshiba Corp.

A spokesman for Ontario’s energy ministry said it expects to select a proposal by the end of the year.

The plan by Ontario Power Authority, the power system’s operator, calls for a total of C$60 billion in spending in a conservation-focused effort to ensure adequate supply, and shutter the province’s four remaining coal stations by 2014.

Ontario -- unique in the country in that peak season comes in the summer -- wants to double renewable power sources and reduce some 6,300 megawatts of demand from consumers by 2025.

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Reporting by Jonathan Spicer; Editing by Peter Galloway