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BWXT Peterborough lands $50M contract for Darlington nuclear station refurbishment project

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BWXT Peterborough lands $50M contract for Darlington nuclear plant refurbishing project
Some big news for Peterborough BWXT technologies. The local manufacturer of Canada fuel bundles for Canada nuclear reactors has received a big contract for Ontario Power Generation’s Darlington nuclear power plant. – Nov 4, 2021

BWXT Nuclear Energy Canada’s facility in Peterborough has secured a $50-million deal to play a major role in the refurbishment of the Darlington Nuclear Generating Station, Ontario Power Generation announced Thursday.

At a media conference at BWXT’s facility on Monaghan Road, BWXT Nuclear Power Group president John MacQuarrie said the contract will see a team of more than 250 employees, engineers, skilled trades and other specialized personnel who will design and supply complex parts and assemblies to refurbish all eight fuelling machine (FM) heads at the Darlington plant in Bowmanville in Durham region.

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FM heads are part of the remote-controlled system that allows continuous on-power fuelling in CANDU reactors, like those at Darlington, according to the OPG.

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Engineering work began in 2020 with component supply to run from 2022 to 2026.

“Our team in Peterborough produces innovative fuel handling systems for CANDU nuclear plants around the world and is committed to supplying engineering services and components of the highest quality,” MacQuarrie said.

“We are excited to get started on this project that will again showcase BWXT’s engineering and manufacturing solutions that help our customers to operate their plants reliably.”

OPG president and CEO Ken Hartwick, also in Peterborough for the announcement, said the 30-year-old Darlington station is currently undergoing a planned midlife refurbishment. The first of four units shut down in 2016 and returned to service in 2020. A second unit is currently being refurbished with the four-unit project slated for completion in five years.

Subo Sinnathamby, OPG’s senior-vice president of refurbishment, said BWXT has the skillset to complete the task.

“Ontario’s nuclear supply chain is strong, allowing us to source much of what we need, both as we refurbish Darlington and also as we work toward small modular reactor deployment, right here at home,” Sinnathamby said.

“We know BWXT has the skilled workers and the same rigorous commitment to quality and safety we do at OPG, which is imperative as they provide key parts and knowledge to refurbish Darlington’s fuel machine heads.”

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The area’s MPPs also touted the agreement as a boost to the region’s economy as well as ensuring Darlington continues to provide economical and clean power.

“Good, family-supporting jobs in our community benefit and grow our local economy, with indirect jobs created across our region,” said Peterborough-Kawartha MPP Dave Smith. “This new $50-million contract will sustain these jobs and support our economic recovery for years to come.”

Northumberland-Peterborough South MPP David Piccini, Ontario’s Minister of the Environment, Conservations and Parks, said the contract will have “significant positive impacts” in the city and the surrounding region.

“Being a part of the Darlington Refurbishment allows our local skilled workers to showcase their talent by supplying high quality parts and services that will help power the province,” he said. “This is great news for the expansion of clean nuclear energy in Ontario, which is key to driving down carbon emissions and attracting green investment.”

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Added Ontario Energy Minister Todd Smith: “In addition to securing decades of safe, economical and clean power, Darlington Refurbishment is also enabling Ontario’s nuclear supply chain partners like BWXT to expand its capabilities and bolster its leading position in the global nuclear industry. As the Darlington refurbishment project shows, we are so fortunate and proud to have a world-class nuclear supply chain that is the envy of the global industry.”

OPG said more than 200 companies across Ontario are part of the refurbishment project at Darlington, creating an estimated 14,000 jobs annually for the life of the project.

The OPG has posted extensive details on the refurbishment project on its website.

— More to come

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