Ontario Power Generation (OPG), along with its project partners and vendors, have now completed construction on Darlington Nuclear Generating Station’s Unit 2 reactor. The unit will now begin the restart process before being connected to the electricity grid, subject to regulatory approvals from the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission and OPG’s ability to do so safely given the current COVID-19 crisis.
This marks a significant milestone on the Darlington Refurbishment Project, one of Canada’s largest clean energy projects, which will extend the life of the station for an additional 30 years.
“On behalf of all OPG employees, project partners and vendors, I want to thank our refurbishment team on completing the final steps of construction on Unit 2 under unprecedented and extraordinary circumstances,” said Ken Hartwick, OPG’s President and CEO. “The project team continued to work safely and diligently while managing changes required as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.”
OPG is also taking steps to ensure a stable supply of clean electricity during the COVID-19 crisis to keep the lights on for hospitals, families, and essential businesses. This includes protecting the well-being of workers and supporting public safety through physical distancing at work sites and prioritizing work to limit the number of people at OPG stations.
As part of these measures, OPG will continue operating the Darlington Nuclear Generating Station’s Unit 3 reactor, temporarily delaying the planned start of its refurbishment, which was scheduled to begin in May. In the coming weeks, the Darlington Unit 3 project team will determine the best time to restart the project, ensuring the required critical resources and materials are available. Critical initiatives, such as completion of Darlington’s Unit 2 refurbishment and preparations for the spring freshet, continue as planned.
In addition to powering the province, OPG also supplies one of the most valuable medical isotopes, Cobalt-60. Currently, almost half of the world’s Cobalt-60 is supplied by Ontario’s nuclear reactors to irradiate and sterilize about 40 per cent of the world’s single-use medical devices such as syringes, gloves, implants and surgical instruments.
“I want to thank our 9,000+ employees and union leadership for their patience, cooperation and dedication,” added Hartwick. “Because of your efforts, our generating units are operating normally and frontline health-care workers across Ontario have access to sterilized devices and reliable electricity. I also want to thank Ontarians for staying home and doing your part. OPG will do our part, and together, we will power on.”