OPG launches Canadian hub for nuclear collaboration

Ontario Power Generation has officially opened its Centre for Canadian Nuclear Sustainability, the company announced on October 23. Located in Ontario’s Durham Region, the new center is intended to integrate collaboration and research in the nuclear life cycle while also supporting the work under way to prepare for the decommissioning of OPG’s Pickering nuclear power plant.

Progress being made toward Mo-99 production at Darlington

Darlington nuclear generating station. Photo: OPG

Ontario Power Generation, its subsidiary Laurentis Energy Partners, and BWXT ITG Canada and its affiliates announced on September 24 that the companies are making “significant progress” toward the production of molybdenum-99 at OPG’s Darlington nuclear power plant. Darlington will become the first commercial operating nuclear reactor to produce the medical radioisotope.

A precursor to technetium-99m, Mo-99 is used in more than 40 million procedures a year to detect cancers and diagnose various medical conditions.

OPG, BWXT to collaborate on heavy water recycling project

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.

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.

Record-setting run for Darlington-1

Unit 1 of Canada’s four-unit Darlington nuclear power plant, located in Clarington, Ontario, set a North American record on July 9 with 895 consecutive days of operation, according to Ontario Power Generation (OPG), the plant’s owner and operator.

The previous record of 894 days was held by Pickering-7, also part of OPG’s nuclear fleet. The reactors at the Darlington and Pickering plants are CANDU pressurized heavy-water reactors. Darlington-1, an 878-MWe PHWR, has been on line since January 26, 2018.

OPG terminates repository project

Ontario Power Generation (OPG) has officially canceled its plan to construct a deep geologic repository (DGR) for low- and intermediate-level radioactive waste at its Bruce site, withdrawing the project from Canada’s federal environmental assessment process. In a June 15 letter to OPG, Canada’s minister of Environment and Climate Change, Jonathan Wilkinson, accepted the company’s request to withdraw the project and end the environmental assessment.

OPG also informed the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission that the company was terminating the project and asked that its site preparation and construction license application be withdrawn.

Venture formed to build microreactor at Canada’s Chalk River Laboratories

Global First Power (GFP), Ultra Safe Nuclear Corporation (USNC), and Ontario Power Generation (OPG) have announced the formation of a joint venture to construct, own, and operate USNC’s Micro Modular Reactor (MMR) at Canadian Nuclear Laboratories’ Chalk River Laboratories site in Ontario. The venture, known as the Global First Power Limited Partnership, is owned equally by OPG and USNC-Power, the Canadian subsidiary of USNC.

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).