Milestone Reached as Darlington Renovation Ahead of Schedule : Corporate

August 16, 2022

Installation of the fuel channel at Darlington Block 3 has been completed and the block is now expected to be back online by the end of 2023 – several months ahead of schedule – Ontario Power Generation (OPG) has announced. The unit is the second of four Darlington units to undergo a mid-life overhaul.

The Darlington 3 reactor wall (Image: OPG)

Workers completed installation work on the fuel channel on July 18, the company said in its quarterly project update, meaning assembly of the reactor core is complete.

“The installation of fuel channels and the planning and coordination required for an efficient and high-quality completion is an extraordinary challenge,” said Subo Sinnathamby, OPG Senior Vice President, Nuclear Refurbishment. “We are literally rebuilding a reactor core to the highest safety and quality standards.”

The process required the precise installation of 480 penstocks, 960 end fittings and thousands of other components. Retube and Feeder Replacement – of RFR – Work on Unit 3 and associated systems is progressing ahead of schedule thanks to the incorporation of more than 4000 lessons learned from the previous refurbishment of Unit 2 Darlington, the first Darlington reactor to be fully renovated.

“This milestone is not unique to Darlington Nuclear and OPG,” said Sinnathamby. ‚ÄúThis is also symbolic for the nuclear industry as a whole. We have once again demonstrated our careful oversight and expertise to complete this work with quality – a testament that we can and will successfully complete the rehabilitation of the remaining Darlington reactors… by the end of 2026.”

Feeder installation is now proceeding with the lower segments and connection to each channel and fuel loading is expected to take place later this year. The remainder of the project will then focus on bringing systems back into service and testing until they can produce power in mid-2023, the company said.

The Darlington units will be renovated as part of a CAD 12.8 billion (US$10.1 billion) project that will allow the station to operate for another 30 years. Unit 2 returned to service in June 2020 and after a brief delay related to the COVID-19 pandemic, work on Unit 3 began in September 2020. Renovation of Unit 1 began earlier this year and is expected to last 39 months. Work on Block 4, the last block to be rehabilitated, is scheduled to begin in the third quarter of 2023.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News

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