Darlington Unit 3 in Clarington back online – 169 days ahead of schedule

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Published July 18, 2023 at 3:34 pm

Darlington Nuclear’s Unit 3 has been re-connected to the grid and supplying power to Ontario once again, 169 days ahead of schedule.

Unit 3 is now the second Darlington unit to undergo complete refurbishment and is operating at 100 percent capacity, providing reliable energy for Ontarians in time for the peak summer months. The early return of Unit 3 will produce an extra three terawatt-hours of energy, enough to power 350,000 homes for an entire year.

The ’green’ energy produced will also reduce up to one megatonne of greenhouse gas emissions, or the equivalent of taking 300,000 cars off the road for an entire year.

“Through this project, OPG is demonstrating that with detailed planning and preparation, large nuclear projects can be completed not only on-time, but ahead of time and with great quality,” said OPG CEO Ken Hartwick. “This would not be possible without the performance, expertise, and commitment from our refurbishment project team, project partners, industry experts, energy professionals, and skilled tradespeople.”

Unit 2 was completed in early June 2020 and has experienced a record 529-day continuous run since then – an industry-leading performance for a CANDU reactor post-refurbishment.

Overall generation was also 10 plus per cent better than target.

Unit 1 refurbishment, expected to be completed mid-2025, is about 60 percent complete and is currently in the reassembly phase. Unit 4, the last of Darlington’s four reactors, will come offline shortly to begin its refurbishment.

“This is a beautiful example of how big things can get done. Worthy of study and emulation,” said Dr. Chris Keefer, the President of Canadians for Nuclear Energy advocacy group. “New-build nuclear in Ontario is in good hands with OPG.”

The station’s four-unit, $12.8 billion refurbishment, which began in 2016, is expected to be complete by the end of 2026, providing carbon-free power for thirty more years. The refurbishment project, together with the station’s North America’s first fleet of grid scale small modular reactors now under construction, will generate approximately $90 billion in economic benefits for Ontario and create an average of 14,200 jobs annually across the province.

Meanwhile, an assessment for refurbishing the Pickering Nuclear Generating Station will be complete later this year.

“The successful refurbishment of Darlington’s Unit 3 ahead of schedule and on-budget will help power the next major international investment in Ontario, the new homes we are building, and industries as they grow and electrify,” said Ontario Energy Minister Todd Smith. “It’s also proof that this province can deliver the major energy projects we have planned to power Ontario’s growth on-time and on-budget.”

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