OPG, BWXT to collaborate on heavy water recycling project

September 22, 2020, 9:29AMRadwaste Solutions

Pickering nuclear power plant. Photo: OPG

BWXT Canada Ltd. (BWXT) will work with Ontario Power Generation (OPG) subsidiary Laurentis Energy Partners in developing technology that will assist in the recycling of heavy water from OPG’s CANDU reactors, OPG’s Centre for Canadian Nuclear Sustainability (CCNS) announced on September 17.

The collaborative project will recycle heavy water used to cool Canadian pressurized heavy-water reactors such as those in OPG’s Pickering and Darlington nuclear power plants. Once recycled, the heavy water will be used in a growing number of non-nuclear applications that include pharmaceuticals, medical diagnostics, and next-generation electronics including fiber optics.

Background: OPG launched the CCNS in July of this year in an effort to integrate collaboration and research in the nuclear sector while also supporting work to prepare for decommissioning the Pickering plant. OPG has indicated that Pickering, an eight-unit CANDU reactor, will end commercial production in 2024, with decommissioning beginning in 2028. In 2016, OPG began a 10-year refurbishment project for the four-unit Darlington plant that will allow the plant to operate an additional 30 years.

Formed in 2012, Laurentis is a provider of inspection, maintenance, engineering, and project management services for the nuclear and hydroelectric power generation industries. The company has offices in Toronto, Ontario; Pickering, Ontario; Tiverton, Ontario; Saint John, New Brunswick, and Bucharest, Romania.

A CCNS member, BWXT Canada has more than 60 years of experience in the design, manufacturing, commissioning and service of nuclear power generation equipment. BWXT Canada’s sister company, BWXT ITG Canada, develops and manufactures medical isotopes and radiopharmaceuticals.

Quotes: Carla Carmichael, vice president of nuclear decommissioning strategies for OPG, said, “The Centre for Canadian Nuclear Sustainability provides the opportunity for industry leaders to combine their research and expertise to support innovative and sustainable solutions in nuclear lifecycle management. This agreement between Laurentis Energy Partners and BWXT is a great example of the CCNS in action.”

Jason Van Wart, vice president of Laurentis Energy Partners, said, “This made-in-Ontario solution for heavy water management will further bolster Laurentis Energy Partners’ reputation as a leading innovator in worldwide nuclear solutions. We look forward to continuing to build our strong relationship with BWXT.”

BWXT Canada President John MacQuarrie said, “We are excited to expand our collaborative relationship with LEP through development of sustainable technology for recycling of heavy water. As a CCNS member, we look forward to leveraging BWXT’s capabilities in combination with our industry partners to develop more innovative solutions in the nuclear sector.”

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