TORONTO, March 26, 2020 /CNW/ - 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 that 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 wellbeing 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."
Learn more about OPG's efforts against the spread of COVID-19 here.
OPG is the largest electricity generator in the province, providing almost half of the power Ontarians rely on every day. It is also one of the most diverse generators in North America, with expertise in nuclear, hydroelectric, biomass, solar and natural gas technologies.
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What OPG is doing to protect employee and public health
In keeping with advice from the Public Health Agency of Canada and the Ontario Ministry of Health, OPG has taken a number of actions to ensure safe, reliable electricity generation while protecting the health of our employees and the public. Some of the measures include:
- Activated our Crisis Management Communications Centre, which provides executive level oversight, and our Infectious Disease Incident Response Team
- Activated business continuity plans
- Implemented physical distancing and limited the number of people at our stations by prioritizing work on ensuring safe, reliable electricity production
- Implemented a work from home policy to the extent possible across the organization
- Closed information centres and visitor access for facilities and office buildings
- Restricted all work-related travel
- Deferred all non-regulatory training
- Cancelled in-person meetings and switched to virtual meetings or conference calls
- Deployed hand-sanitizers, disinfectant wipes and increased awareness of hygiene protocols for shared surfaces and workstations
- Established Site Hygiene Teams – including safe work planning and training on protocols for cleaning
- Secured control rooms and restricted access to critical staff only
- Reaffirmed plans associated with critical processes such as the safe management of water.
SOURCE Ontario Power Generation Inc.