Contract awarded towards Darlington refurbishment

05 March 2012

A joint venture between SNC-Lavalin and Aecon Industrial has been awarded a contract by Ontario Power Generation (OPG) for work towards refurbishment of Canada's Darlington nuclear power plant to enable a further 25-30 years of generation.

Darlington (OPG)
Darlington (Image: OPG)
OPG plans to carry out the Darlington refurbishment project in two phases. The first 'definition' phase involves planning for the removal and replacement of the 480 pressure tubes and calandria tubes, and 960 feeder pipes for each of Darlington's four Candu reactors. The second phase will involve the execution of the plan.

OPG has now awarded a contract - worth more than C$600 million ($603 million) - to SNC-Lavalin and Aecon to carry out the definition phase of the refurbishment project. Aecon will now construct a full-scale reactor mock-up where key elements of the project can be simulated and tested prior to work beginning on the actual reactors. Meanwhile, SNC-Lavalin will develop specialized tooling required for the project. The two companies will also develop of a detailed scope, schedule and budget for the execution phase, as well as procure components for the first reactor unit to be refurbished.

"The Darlington nuclear generating station currently powers one out of every five homes in Ontario and is an important part of the energy mix in the province."

Albert Sweetnam
OPG vice president of nuclear projects

The joint venture between Aecon and SNC-Lavalin will see them concentrate respectively on construction and fabrication services, and tooling and engineering. Project management and procurement will be provided jointly and the firms will share equally the costs and profits from the 'execution' phase of the refurbishment. The definition phase is expected to run from 2012 to 2016 with completion of the refurbishment scheduled for 2023.

OPG vice president of nuclear projects Albert Sweetnam commented: "The Darlington nuclear generating station currently powers one out of every five homes in Ontario and is an important part of the energy mix in the province." He added, "After refurbishment the station will continue to provide safe, clean, reliable base load electricity for the next 25 to 30 years." The Darlington plant is OPG's newest Candu nuclear generating station. Its four reactors have a combined output of 3524 MWe.

In June 2011, an agreement was reached under which SNC-Lavalin acquired the Candu reactor division of Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd (AECL) from the Canadian government. It set up a subsidiary called Candu Energy to take control of the reactor vendor as well as the provision of services to the existing fleet of Candus, execution of life extension projects and reactor new builds. While the price of the business was just C$15 million ($15.1 million), the Canadian government will receive royalty payments from future new build and life extension projects and also retain ownership of all Candu intellectual property. The government will provide a licence to Candu Energy to grow the business. AECL retained its past liabilities.

Researched and written
by World Nuclear News