The first major milestone of Canada's largest clean energy project has been safely completed almost one month earlier than anticipated with the safe removal of fuel from the reactor core on Unit 2.
The Darlington refurbishment project began on October 15, 2016 when Unit 2 was disconnected from Ontario's power grid to allow refurbishment work to commence. Over 87 days, 6,240 fuel bundles were removed from 480 fuel channels and safely discharged and stored. This was done safely and with quality ensuring the highest standards of nuclear safety.
This success was a direct result of years of detailed planning and preparation, and the dedication of employees and project partners such as BWXT Nuclear Energy Canada (formerly GE-Hitachi) putting safety and quality first. BWXT's work included engineering and manufacturing components used in defuelling, as well as software changes.
OPG made significant investments in the fuel handling equipment to ensure reliable defuel operations during the project while maintaining the three operating units at full power. Additional Operations and Maintenance staff were hired and trained and, contingency plans were developed for when things might not go as expected to maintain schedule adherence.
The next phase of the project will be to "island" the reactor, which will involve isolating the defuelled Unit 2 from the three operating units by installing physical safety barriers. This will provide a safe work environment for the project to then proceed with removing the reactor's major components.
To learn more about this important achievement please visit the Refurbishment Website and visit the projects update page.
Read more on how both BWXT and OPG worked toward achieving defuelling success.
The $12.8 billion Darlington Refurbishment project is scheduled to be completed by 2026. Studies by the Conference Board of Canada have found the refurbishment project, together with Darlington's additional 30 years of operation, will boost Ontario's GDP by almost $90 billion and create an average of 14,200 new jobs per year over the same period.
On behalf of:
OPG Senior Vice President