Fuel channel installation on Darlington Nuclear’s Unit 2 reactor is now complete, the culmination of a lengthy and complex work series that finishes the rebuilding of the reactor core.

“Fuel channel installation, and the planning and coordination necessary to complete it in an efficient way, was extraordinarily challenging,” said Mike Allen, OPG Senior Vice President, Nuclear Refurbishment. “We literally had to rebuild the reactor core to the highest safety and quality standards. We couldn’t have done this without a strong and integrated OPG-CanAtom team.”

This work series was one of the most complex phases on the project. It required the precise installation of 480 pressure tubes, 960 end fittings and thousands of component fittings. Early on, the project team experienced some difficulties with work proficiency and coordination. But they tackled those challenges head-on, keeping OPG’s Darlington Refurbishment on track.

“The entire focus of our trade workers and project partners was on quality precision work and sustaining production safely and with quality,” said Jamie Higgs, Fuel Channel Installation Director with CanAtom. “I’ve installed fuel channels on three previous refurbishment projects, and I can say the level of determination, focus and teamwork I witnessed at Darlington is truly world-class.”

This milestone is not just significant to Darlington Nuclear Generating Station and OPG, noted Allen.

“This is also symbolic for the nuclear industry as a whole,” he said. “We have demonstrated diligent oversight and expertise to complete this job with quality – proof we can successfully complete refurbishment of all four Darlington reactors.”

With fuel channels installed, feeder installation in Unit 2 continues. The next steps include loading fuel in the fall, bringing systems back into service and ensuring the reactor is ready for reconnection to Ontario’s power grid in early 2020.