Nuclear power-plant operator Bruce Power said Friday it is considering construction of two new nuclear stations in Nanticoke, Ont., the site of a coal plant scheduled to shut down in 2014.

The private nuclear generating company announced Friday it had applied for a site preparation licence with the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission.

"Ontario needs affordable, reliable and clean energy as we move forward to address one of the greatest challenges of our time — climate change," said Bruce Power president and CEO Duncan Hawthorne in a statement.

"Examining new sources of generation in Haldimand-Norfolk will give us, and Ontario, a number of options to consider going forward," he said.

The company also said that if the safety commission accepts the licence application, the company would conduct an environmental assessment to gauge the impact of building two reactors in the Haldimand-Norfolk region of southern Ontario on the shore of Lake Erie, about 130 km southwest of Toronto.

The assessment could take as long as three years to complete, the company said.

The two reactors would generate between 2,000 and 3,000 megawatts of low-emissions electricity, the company said.

The Nanticoke Generating Station is the largest coal-firing power plant in North America. It is slated to close in 2014 as part of the Ontario government's push to eliminate the use of coal power by that year. The provincial government has said completely eliminating coal-fired power generation will have an environmental equivalent of removing seven million cars from the road.

Ontario currently has three operating nuclear plants: Bruce Power operates the Bruce site on Lake Huron while Ontario Power Generation operates the Pickering and Darlington sites, both east of Toronto.

Earlier this year Bruce Power filed an application nuclear safety commission for clearance to prepare another possible site in Alberta's Peace River district.