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Darlington Refurb Project News

New fuel successfully loaded into Unit 2 at Darlington Nuclear

Following the successful installation of feeder tubes in the Unit 2 reactor at Darlington Nuclear Generating Station, OPG and its project partners have now successfully completed new fuel load — another critical step toward restarting the unit as part of the Darlington Refurbishment project.

Workers load fuel into a nuclear reactor
Workers load fuel into the Unit 2 reactor at Darlington Nuclear Generating Station.

“Successful execution of new fuel load was due to teamwork and detailed planning,” said Matthew Moore, OPG Section Manager, Fuel Handling Projects. “We had strong contingency plans for scenarios we expected to encounter, and these allowed the team to move forward efficiently when faced with any challenges.”

OPG worked with BWXT Nuclear Energy Canada over a five-year span to develop a detailed plan for loading each of the 6,240 new fuel bundles into the reactor core in the correct location and sequence. The successful installation called on the support of various groups across OPG, including Renewable Generation.

The project team is now completing lower body tubing, a 35-day work series that began prior to new fuel load and involves connecting sections of stainless steel tubing with more than 3,000 welds. After this, they will begin to fill the primary heat transport system with heavy water, bringing the team another step closer to restarting the unit.

“The investment we made in planning and training have clearly paid off,” said Moore.

Unit 2 is scheduled to return to service in the second quarter of 2020.

Overall, the four-unit Darlington Refurbishment project remains on budget and on schedule for completion in 2026.