Canada’s Darlington-3 refurbishment begins

Ontario’s Darlington nuclear power plant. Photo: OPG

The latest phase of the Darlington nuclear power plant’s refurbishment project began last week with the start of the defueling of Unit 3, according to Ontario Power Generation (OPG). Originally scheduled to begin in May this year, Unit 3’s refurbishment was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Located in Clarington, Ontario, Canada, the Darlington plant houses four 878-MWe CANDU pressurized heavy-water reactors, all of which entered commercial operation in the early 1990s. The 10-year refurbishment project—which was 10 years in the planning—commenced in earnest in October 2016, when Unit 2 was taken off line (NN, Dec. 2016, pg. 45). The refurbished Unit 2 was returned to service in early June, and in late July Unit 3 was shut down and disconnected from the grid in preparation for its refurbishment.

Refurbished Darlington unit returns to service

A fish-eye view of the refurbished Darlington-2. Photo: Ontario Power Generation

Ontario Power Generation’s (OPG) massive project to refurbish all of its Darlington nuclear power plant reactors has reached its first major milestone with the successful completion of Unit 2’s refurbishment and reconnection to Ontario’s electricity grid, the utility stated in a June 4 media release.

The Darlington plant, located in Clarington, Ontario, Canada, houses four 878-MWe PHWR CANDU reactors, all of which entered commercial operation in the early 1990s. The 10-year refurbishment project, which also was 10 years in the planning, began in earnest in October 2016, when Unit 2 was taken off line (NN, Dec. 2016, pg. 45).

Presenting Atucha III

Atucha I and II at right; artist's concept of Atucha III at left.  Courtesy Nucleoelectrica Argentina S.A.

Atucha I and II at right; artist's concept of Atucha III at left. RIght-most unit is Atucha I. Courtesy Nucleoelectrica Argentina S.A.

Nucleoelectrica Argentina S.A. announced in July that it had entered into a contract with China National Nuclear Corporation to build a Chinese-sourced version of the traditional Canadian CANDU reactor at its Atucha site. This 800-MWe plant will be the fourth at the site (already occupied by two Siemens pressurized heavy water reactor plants, and the just-begun CAREM Small Modular Reactor plant) and the nation's fifth nuclear plant overall (adding in the CANDU plant at Embalse.) This new unit will be Argentina's most powerful nuclear unit, topping Embalse by 200 MWe.