Third of four Darlington units begins refurbishment
Massive clean energy project remains on plan past midway point
Clarington, ON – Work has begun on Darlington Nuclear Generating Station’s Unit 1, the third of four reactors to undergo mid-life refurbishment.
Ontario Power Generation (OPG), with the dedicated support of Ontario’s robust nuclear supply chain and other project partners, suppliers and contractors, has now passed the midway point in the 10-year execution of this $12.8 billion project, which will enable production of clean, safe, low cost and emission free electricity from Darlington for an additional 30-plus years. Project execution began, after extensive planning, in October of 2016.
The first refurbishment unit, Unit 2, was returned to service in June 2020. After a brief delay related to the COVID-19 pandemic, work on Unit 3 began in September 2020. Now, with Unit 3 in the midst of reassembly, refurbishment of Unit 1 begins. For the first time on the project, two units are being refurbished at once.
Unit 4, the final unit to be refurbished, is scheduled to begin in the third quarter of 2023.
The overall project remains on track for completion by the end of 2026.
- According to an independent report by the Conference Board of Canada, the Darlington Refurbishment Project and the subsequent 30 additional years of station operation are expected to generate a total of $89.9 billion in economic benefits for Ontario, create 14,200 jobs per year, and boost personal income by an average of $1.6 billion on an annual basis.
- With 96% of project costs spent in the province and a heavy reliance on Ontario-based contractors, for every $1 spent on the project, Ontario’s GDP will increase by an average of $1.40.
- Continued operation of the Darlington station is also key to meeting climate change goals. An independent report prepared by Intrinsik Environmental Sciences noted that the continued operation of Darlington Nuclear to 2055 will take the equivalent of two million cars off Ontario’s roads per year by avoiding significant greenhouse gas emissions. This is an important step in Ontario and Canada’s fight against climate change.
- In December, OPG announced it will work with GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy to deploy a Small Modular Reactor at the Darlington new nuclear site, the only site in Canada currently licensed for a new nuclear build.
“The Refurbishment team’s successful track record on Units 2 and 3, combined with detailed planning for Unit 1, position us well for continued success,” said Subo Sinnathamby, OPG Senior Vice President, Nuclear Refurbishment. “Continuous learning and working as a team with our vendor partners and Bruce Power have been key to our success to date. We continue to apply innovations and lessons learned to ensure even better performance as we move forward through this project.”
“Refurbishing Darlington Nuclear Generating Station is key to OPG’s Climate Change Plan,” said Ken Hartwick, OPG President and CEO. “This safe clean energy workhorse generates over 20% of Ontario’s electricity without greenhouse gas or carbon emissions each year. Thanks to this mid-life overhaul, Darlington will continue to cleanly power Ontario’s homes, hospitals and businesses for decades to come.”
“Through the Darlington Refurbishment Project Ontario is securing its supply of clean, reliable nuclear baseload power and the good jobs that come with it for decades to come,” said Ontario Minister of Energy Todd Smith. “This project is reinvigorating Ontario’s extensive nuclear supply chain for this and future projects, including the ability to support the deployment Small Modular Reactors in Ontario, across Canada, and around the world.”
As a global climate change leader and the largest, most diverse electricity generator in the province, OPG and its family of companies are helping lead the charge to a post-carbon economy.