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Students get a close-up look at the Darlington Refurbishment project

 Students get a close-up look at the Darlington Refurbishment project

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About 200 students from area high schools got a first-hand look at Canada’s largest clean energy project – the Darlington Nuclear Refurbishment.

Doors opened for the inaugural Student Day open house event on Friday, Nov. 17. The event ran in conjunction with a Trades Indigenous Career Open House that took place later the same day and the project’s public open house held Saturday, Nov. 18.

A student takes a selfie in front of a nuclear reactor mock-up
Taking a selfie in front of the full-scale nuclear reactor mock-up.

​It was an opportunity for high-schoolers to meet with people from some of the 60 companies from across Ontario involved in the mega-project. The students learned about high-tech jobs, trades and workforce involved in the refurbishment and in the nuclear industry in general.

Attendees were also treated to a bus tour of the Darlington Nuclear Generating Station and got a chance to check out the world’s first-ever nuclear reactor mock-up, which is located in the Darlington Energy Complex and used for training purposes.

“It was really fun to experience everything the workers do on a daily basis,” said Bowmanville High School student Ella Jones. “The station is such a massive place.”

The event presented students with a chance to learn more about both refurbishment and the types of careers that are available in nuclear.

“Student Day was very educational and fun. It didn’t feel like learning,” said Bowmanville High School student Jaime Boychuk. “The refurbishment project is such an important part of the community and our lives.”

Though this was the fourth open house at the Darlington Energy Complex, it was the first time students were specifically incorporated into the event.

“Refurbishment is a 10-year project which allows Darlington to continue providing low-cost energy for the next three decades,” said Ted Gruetzner, Vice President, Stakeholder Relations with OPG. “This provides students not only a great opportunity to learn more about a massive and high tech project taking place in their own community, but about the many career options that might be available to them in the future.”

Later the same day, the Trades Indigenous Career Open House was held to promote the development of trades for members of Ontario’s Indigenous communities.

About 50 Indigenous participants from the Williams Treaties First Nations and the Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte were on hand to learn more about construction and skilled trades careers, as well as large infrastructure projects.

Participants had an opportunity to speak with trade union representatives, employers, contractors, and mentors to understand paths to success.
Refurbishment of the Darlington Nuclear power plant began in October 2016 when Unit 2, the first of four reactors to be overhauled, was taken offline after six years of detailed planning and preparation. Over the 10 years of the project, OPG and its more than 60 project partners will complete thousands of tasks to extend the life of the plant for another 30 years.