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Nanticoke powerhouse set to come down this summer

The stage is almost set for the demolition of the old Nanticoke Generating Station (GS) powerhouse.

OPG has been busy clearing existing equipment and all the lower cladding from the Nanticoke GS powerhouse in preparation for its demolition.
OPG has been busy clearing existing equipment and all the lower cladding from the Nanticoke GS powerhouse in preparation for its demolition.

The decommissioned coal plant’s twin smokestacks came tumbling down on Feb. 28, 2018. Now, the project moves its sights to the main powerhouse building, which will be demolished as early as Aug. 19 if weather conditions are favourable.

“As it has been through the entire Nanticoke Demolition Project, public and employee safety will be the top priority,” said Mike Martelli, President of Renewable Generation at OPG.

Nanticoke GS, once North America’s largest coal generating station, helped meet Ontario’s electricity needs for more than 40 years before burning its last piece of coal in 2013. In March, the new 44-megawatt Nanticoke Solar facility went into service on lands near the shuttered plant, symbolizing the transition from coal to clean power at Nanticoke. To this day, OPG’s coal generation closure remains the world’s single largest climate change action.

Since it was built in 1972, the station and its towering smokestacks served as a landmark along Lake Erie in Haldimand County. Now, with the smokestacks erased from the skyline, OPG has been busy clearing existing equipment and all the lower cladding from the powerhouse structure in preparation for its demolition, which will be conducted by experienced contractors Delsan-AIM Environmental Services. The same firm oversaw last year’s successful smokestack drop.

The view from inside the Nanticoke GS powerhouse.
The view from inside the Nanticoke GS powerhouse.

Prior to blasting, an exclusion zone will be established around the site, including parts of Lake Erie, which will restrict road and water access. A perimeter check will be conducted and a series of sirens will be sounded to alert bystanders. A non-electric shock tube will be used to detonate the charges, which will prevent any premature detonations from lightning or radio interference.

A floating membrane has already been installed to cover the water intake on the lake side of the powerhouse to prevent any dust or debris from landing in the water and affecting Haldimand County’s water supply.

All told, it should take around 30 seconds for the powerhouse to drop. After the blast, contractors will check the site and give the all clear when the area is deemed safe.