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Darlington’s retired emergency power generator set to help train future millwrights

A retired backup emergency power generator that served OPG’s Darlington Nuclear Generating Station for 30 years has found a second life in training future millwrights.

Employees with OPG and E.S. Fox stand in front of a retired emergency power generator that will be used to train future millwrights.
Employees with OPG and E.S. Fox stand in front of a retired emergency power generator that will be used to train future millwrights.

Under one of Darlington’s life-extension projects, OPG is replacing a pair of the station’s backup emergency power generators – EPG 1 and EPG 2 – with more modern gas-turbine generators. These generators play a key role in the station’s safety as they provide reliable backup power in case of an emergency.

Today, one of these workhorses is set for a second round of duty with the Millwright Regional Council of Ontario (MRCO). Recognizing the importance of skilled trade continuous training, OPG and project partner E.S. Fox, with the help of contractors Mammoet and Aecon Industrial, provided Millwright Local 2309 with the former EPG 2 diesel generator and gas-turbine generator set.

Recently, the equipment was prepared for shipment and will soon be installed at the MRCO’s new Port Hope Millwright Training Centre, which is currently under construction. Once in place, millwright apprentices and journeyperson members will get a chance to ply their trade on the unit.

In particular, Indigenous participants of OPG’s Indigenous Opportunities Network (ION) and recent Indigenous graduates of MRCO’s new Introduction to Millwrighting (ITM) program will benefit from skills development on the repurposed equipment.

Last fall, the ITM training program welcomed its first eight Indigenous candidates for a specialized, six-week training course at OPG’s Darlington Energy Complex. All eight candidates successfully graduated, officially becoming millwright apprentices.

“This project will enable millwrights to train on equipment that is representative of the equipment they will work on at OPG and other utility sites across Ontario, both today and in the future,” said James Philipps, Project Manager in Darlington Projects.

The repurposed generator could aid in training courses focused on safety and productivity such as advanced rigging, foreign material exclusion, and correct component verification.

Highly trained MRCO millwrights install, maintain, diagnose and repair various industrial and mechanical equipment – from pumps and conveyors to the steam turbines that produce electricity at OPG’s nuclear stations. It is a trade currently in high demand, particularly with the ongoing Darlington Refurbishment project and other refurbishment projects currently underway.

Back at Darlington, the new EPG 2 generator was successfully put into service in December 2020, and OPG is now working with E.S. Fox to install the new EPG 1 backup generator, with a completion date set for May 2023.

These two new emergency generators will provide reliable backup power to the Darlington Nuclear station to the end of the plant’s life. This project and the ongoing Darlington Refurbishment will provide 30 more years of low-cost, clean power and help OPG and the province meet its climate change goals.