An Innovative Approach
Replacing the fuel channels and feeder pipes inside each of Darlington’s four CANDU reactors is a critical part of the refurbishment project. To accomplish this work properly and effectively, highly trained workers will use uniquely designed and carefully calibrated tools. Much of this work will be performed in tight spaces and under challenging conditions. Using remote-controlled and highly precise tools will ensure the workers are safe and the work is accurate.
The Training Facility
OPG constructed a world-class training facility featuring a full-scale reactor mock-up, warehouse space for equipment, and training classrooms, inside the Darlington Energy Complex, located in Clarington, Ontario. The training facility:
- Allows staff to practise their refurbishment work tasks, to perfect their techniques and perform full “dress rehearsals” using real tools and wearing full protective equipment long before they begin actual work inside the station; and
- Ensures all workers are thoroughly trained and tested in a safe, realistic and controlled environment with all the obstacles, constraints and potential challenges they may face in the station.
The facility offers multiple full-scale mock-ups using actual reactor components including a replica of a Darlington reactor vault. It houses a full-size replica reactor suitable for tool performance testing and integration, as well as training workers on correct procedures.
Thirteen other mock-ups provide challenging and varied training experiences.
The refurbishment has required developing over 400 specially-designed tools for component removal and installations, and inspections and repairs. Utilizing state-of–the art technology and automated robotic technology, manufactures in Ontario have developed quality tooling sets that workers are using to safety rebuild Darlington. Work tasks are carefully practised to determine the correct timing and precise sequence needed for each activity. This helps establish the critical path for the project, reduce uncertainty and increase worker safety.
High-quality training with the right tools in the right environment helps maximize efficiency and minimize costs. This type of up-front investment is key to OPG’s project management approach.