BWXT facility to design and supply fuelling machine components at Darlington station

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Ontario Construction News staff writer

Ontario Power Generation (OPG) has awarded a $50 million contract for fuelling machine parts relating to the Darlington Nuclear Generating Station refurbishment to BWX Technologies, Inc.

The team of more than 250 engineers, skilled trades and other specialized personnel will design and supply complex parts and assemblies to enable refurbishment of all eight FM heads at Darlington. Engineering work on this project began in 2020, with component supply occurring 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,” said John MacQuarrie, president of BWXT’s Nuclear Power Group.

“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.”

Darlington is in the midst of a midlife overhaul – the first of four units was 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 2026.

Beyond extending the life of the station by 30 or more years, OPG says the project is a boon to Ontario’s economy. Approximately 96 per cent of construction costs are being spent in the province, drawing on Ontario’s significant and skilled nuclear supply chain. More than 200 companies across Ontario are part of the refurbishment project.

Darlington’s refurbishment is expected to help Ontario’s meet climate change goals: a study points out continued operation of Darlington to 2055 is equivalent to taking two million cars off Ontario’s roads in terms of greenhouse gas avoidance.

“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,” said Subo Sinnathamby, OPG’s Senior Vice President, Refurbishment. “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.”

OPG contracting BWXT Nuclear Energy Canada will have significant positive impacts in Peterborough and the surrounding regional economy.

“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. 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,” said Environment Minister and Peterborough South MPP David Piccini.

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