One year in, the Darlington Refurb remains on track
At the one-year mark, Canada’s largest clean energy project, the Darlington Refurbishment, remains on schedule and on budget as work focuses on removing reactor components.
Refurbishment of all four reactors at Darlington Nuclear Generating Station began Oct. 15, 2016, when Unit 2 was taken off line. Refurbishment of Unit 2 is now 35 per cent complete. The project will allow the power plant to continue to provide safe, clean, reliable baseload power for 30 more years.
Leading up to this point, workers opened the Unit 2 airlock doors for the first time since plant construction in the early 1990s to remove fuel handling equipment and other items from the vault. In September, the team severed the last of the unit’s 960 feeder pipes, which carry the coolant required to cool nuclear fuel, in preparation for reactor disassembly.
“It’s been an exciting year,” said Dietmar Reiner, Senior Vice President, Nuclear Projects. “We’ve removed fuel handling equipment and other items from the vault, and now we’re into the meat of the project: removing the components that will be replaced to allow for continued operation of Darlington.”
Sixteen of 18 major projects required to support Unit 2 refurbishment are now complete, with another scheduled for completion in early November. While the final project, the Heavy Water Storage Facility, has faced challenges, OPG is managing these issues within the overall scope of the project and has factored them into the total cost.
It’s expected Unit 2 will take approximately 40 months in total to refurbish before re-joining Ontario’s power grid. Planning for refurbishment of Unit 3, the next to undergo the mid-life update, is underway.
"We have a long way to go yet, but we’re confident we have the right people in place to deliver this project safely and to plan,” said Jeff Lyash, OPG President and CEO. “Refurbishing Darlington is about investing in one of the world’s top-performing nuclear stations, ensuring a safe and reliable energy supply for Ontarians for the next 30 years.”