Ontario Power Generation (OPG) said unit 3 of the Darlington Nuclear Generating Station’s has been reconnected to the electricity grid, 169 days ahead of schedule. As a result, OPG says it expects to complete the station’s four-unit refurbishment “safely, with quality and on budget, by the end of 2026”. Refurbishment of Darlington 3 began in September 2020 and was originally slated for completion in the first quarter of 2024.

Unit 3 is the second Darlington unit to undergo complete refurbishment. Unit 2’s refurbishment was completed in early June 2020 and since its return to service, it has experienced a record 529-day continuous run, while its overall generation was more than 10% 10 above target. Unit 1’s refurbishment, expected to be completed mid-2025, is approximately 60% complete and is currently in the reassembly phase. Unit will come offline shortly to begin its refurbishment. Darlington Refurbishment is a CAD12.8bn ($9.7bn) clean energy project that began in 2016 after nearly a decade of planning and preparation. It will enable the station to operate for an additional 30 years.

"Through this project, OPG is demonstrating that with detailed planning and preparation, large nuclear projects can be completed not only on-time, but ahead of time and with great quality,” said OPG President & CEO Ken Hartwick. “This would not be possible without the performance, expertise, and commitment from our refurbishment project team, project partners, industry experts, energy professionals, and skilled tradespeople."

OPG said an assessment for refurbishing its Pickering NPP will be complete later this year.

Image: Darlington's unit 3 turbine hall (courtesy of OPG)