OPG selects GE Steam Power for $120M turbine, control upgrade at Darlington nuclear plant

Ontario Power Generation has signed up GE Steam Power to play a significant role in the Canadian utility’s massive refurbishment of its 3-GW Darlington Nuclear Generating Station.

The $120 million project agreement between OPG and GE Steam Power includes turnkey installation and commissioning of steam turbine and excitation control system upgrades. The work also will include generator and auxiliary upgrades for three of Darlington’s four units.

The nuclear facility provides carbon-free electricity for more than 20 percent of Ontario demand, equivalent to about two million homes. All four units were originally commissioned in the 1990s.

“GE Steam Power has enjoyed a strong, long-standing partnership with OPG in showcasing nuclear energy’s role as a critical pillar of a carbon-free future,” said Lance Hall, General Manager, GE Steam Power Americas. “We’re proud to support OPG as a single-service provider for the entire steam turbine and generator refurbishment scope at Darlington to help them continue to deliver reliable, carbon-free power generation for Canada for the next 30 years or more.”

OPG first embarked on its long-term refurbishment of Darlington in 2013. GE Steam Power has played a recurring role in that ongoing work, supplying a 400-ton generator stator in 2019, as well as supporting contributions with maintenance outages and engineering services.

Last September, the 878-MW Darlington Unit 1 set a record for continuous operation of a nuclear power reactor when it went 963 days without a stoppage. Refurbishment work on Unit 1 will start next year.

Units 2 and 3 were the first to be taken offline for a refurbishment expected to take about three years each.

Under the plan, the Darlington units are shut down, defueled and islanded to disconnect the reactor from the rest of the plant. What follows include containment pressure testing, disassembly of feeder tubes, the fuel channel and the Calandria tube, which is made of zirconium and surrounds the pressure tube to form a tight leak seal of the vessel.

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