As the province confirmed its commitment to refurbish the second of Darlington Nuclear Generating Station’s four reactors, planning was already well underway to ensure this next phase of the project is a success.

The Ontario government gave the green light to proceed on Unit 3’s refurbishment at an event in February, which also marked the mid-point of the Unit 2 refurbishment. The current project is tracking on time and on budget, and this played a big role in the approval, said Jeff Lyash, OPG President and CEO.

“The go-ahead on the next unit is a testament to the hard work and dedication of the Darlington Refurbishment team,” said Lyash.

Planning has already begun for Unit 3, with a robust process in place to capture, assess and incorporate lessons learned from Unit 2 to create efficiencies with subsequent reactor refurbishments.

“This is a great opportunity,” said Bill Owens, Vice President, Unit 3 Refurbishment Execution. “We expect and plan to get better for the next unit. We’re continuously improving.”

Regular workshops, bringing together a cross-section of those involved in the project, are held to “brainstorm on what went well, and how we can do better,” Owens said.

Already, a number of areas for improvement – and related cost-savings – have been identified, based on innovations, tooling reliability and performance improvement, or simplifying processes.

As an example, on Unit 2, 113 days was scheduled for defuelling the reactor. But better-than-anticipated tooling reliability and performance meant the work series was completed ahead of schedule. For Unit 3, a similar plan is in place to ensure the same high level of reliability that should result in a savings of approximately three weeks.

“At OPG, we are continuous learners,” said Owens. “That means constantly striving to find better ways to do what we do. And in turn, that means better value for the province as we move forward on Canada’s largest clean energy project.”


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