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Unit 1 at Darlington Nuclear GS sets generation record

It just keeps going and going.

A view of the Unit 1 turbine hall at Darlington Nuclear GS. Unit 1 recently set a generation record for the station.
A view of the Unit 1 turbine hall at Darlington Nuclear GS. Unit 1 recently set a generation record for the station.

For nearly two consecutive years, the Unit 1 reactor at OPG’s Darlington Nuclear Generating Station has been producing clean, affordable electricity for Ontario.

On Sunday, Dec. 15, the unit hit 688 days of consecutive operation, setting a generation record for the 3,512-megawatt station located in Clarington. It is now at 690 days and counting.

That’s a lot of time running without the need to take the unit out of service for maintenance or repair. It’s a testament to the reliability of the Darlington station, which produces clean electricity 24 hours a day, seven days a week, said Sean Granville, OPG’s Chief Nuclear Officer.

“This record-setting performance is a remarkable achievement for OPG and for Darlington,” said Granville. “It’s a reflection of the strong dedication and commitment from our employees at Darlington, who continue to drive strong, reliable performance from the station for the benefit of all Ontarians.”

Darlington’s three other units have performed admirably as well. Unit 3’s best run was set at 687 days, a close second to Unit 1’s record performance, while Unit 4 previously set a high of 675 days and Unit 2 recorded 454 days of continuous operation.

An aerial view of Darlington Nuclear Generating Station.
An aerial view of Darlington Nuclear Generating Station.

The latter unit was taken offline in 2016 to undergo a mid-life refurbishment. Work on Unit 2 is now 90 per cent complete, with new fuel recently loaded into the reactor. It is expected to be back in service in June 2020. Unit 3 is next up in the Darlington Refurbishment project.

Aside from generating clean, affordable power, Darlington’s four reactors will also soon produce Cobalt-60, a life-saving medical isotope used to sterilize single-use medical devices around the world.

A new agreement between OPG and Nordion, an Ottawa-based life sciences company, will see Cobalt-60 harvested at Darlington in the future.