CANDU reactors can operate economically and reliably for up to 60 years. After about 30 years of operation, reactor components are replaced and refurbished, extending the life of a reactor for another 30 years. This process is called life extension.
During life extension, the reactor’s pressure tubes, calandria tubes and end fitters are removed and replaced. Our experts have designed and delivered multi-tonne, remotely controlled tooling systems to accomplish this in a safe and effective manner. The outage also allows operators to refurbish other key reactor components, and make system upgrades.
All utilities that operate CANDU reactors are currently undergoing or will at some point consider life extension work on their reactors.
The benefits are clear:
- Economically competitive operations
- Environmental sustainability
- Ongoing technological innovation and development in the region
- Socio-economic contribution, for an additional 25-30 years
We are uniquely able to successfully deliver life extension projects due to:
- Our role as CANDU technology steward
- People – a core team of hundreds of staff with life extension experience
- Resources and Technology – years of investment to improve the core retubing schedule, cost and technology
- Proven track record – we apply project management expertise and technology used to deliver the last six new CANDU reactors on time and on budget
Life Extension Projects
Darlington retube and feeder replacement (RFR)
One of the world’s top-performing CANDU stations, the Darlington Nuclear Generating Station supplies 20% of Ontario’s energy needs. Its refurbishment is crucial to deliver the power required to serve the province’s residents. Refurbishment operations began in the fall of 2016; it is the largest clean energy project in Canada.
This life extension project will allow Argentina’s Embalse Nuclear Station to continue producing safe, reliable, low-carbon power for up to another 30 years. The Embalse CANDU 6 reactor began commercial operation in January 1984 and the single-unit has a gross output of 648 Mwe. The station shut down for this project in December 2015; the outage is expected to last until December 2017.
Bruce Power major component replacement
Bruce Power is Ontario’s lowest cost source of nuclear, currently generating over 30% of the provinces’ electricity. Extending the operational life of the Bruce Power Units 3-8 will ensure long-term price stability. We are currently working with Bruce Power to solidify our scope for the Bruce Power major component replacement (MCR) project and look forward to concluding negotiations in late 2016.