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#4579124 - 11/19/17 03:37 PM Nuclear refurbishment in Ontario
OVERKILL Offline


Registered: 04/28/08
Posts: 35986
Loc: Ontario, Canada
As most of you know, I'm a bit passionate about Nuclear power and a big fan of our uniquely Canadian CANDU reactors. CANDU's generally have a time between refurbishments of ~30 years, however that is extendable to a point, provided there are no issues. CANDU facilities are, in Ontario, of high density with a large number of units per site. This makes them more economically viable, as it ensures greater output per site and lower staffing levels per kWh.

Ontario has three operating nuclear power plants that range in size and age:

1. Pickering Nuclear - This was a "proof of concept" facility, it was the first full-scale commercial nuclear facility in Canada, a follow-up to the single tiny unit at Douglas Point, which would later host Bruce. Pickering is an 8-unit site, built in two phases with an "A" and "B" section. The older "A" section commencing construction in 1966 and started producing power in 1971. "B" came on-line starting in 1983. Pickering, due to its age, consists of 4x515MWe units (2x active) and 4x516MWe units (all four active). It produces ~20TWh a year. Pickering was deemed non-viable for refurbishment and will begin its shutdown in 2024 after producing power for 53 years.

2. Bruce Nuclear - This is the crown jewel of the Canadian nuclear fleet and the follow-up to Pickering, commencing construction in 1970 and brought on-line in 1977. Bruce is the largest operating nuclear facility in the world, producing a staggering 48TWh a year, enough to run the entire country of Denmark with significant excess. Bruce, like Pickering, consists of an "A" and "B" site. Bruce "A" has 4x779MWe CANDU reactors, Bruce "B" has 4x817MWe units. When Bruce Power (a private corporation) took over the site from Ontario Power Generation, the A site had two units down in need of refurbishment and the entire "A" site was offline. They immediately fired up the two dormant units 3&4 without issue and then went through a first of its kind refurbishment of units 1&2 at a cost of $4.8 billion. Both units were back on-line as of 2012, which allowed for the government to shutter our remaining coal capacity. Bruce will begin its refurbishment of the remaining 6x units once Darlington is done going through its refurbishment. This will maintain Bruce as a source for 30% of Ontario's power for decades to come, with its impending shutdown occurring in the 2060's, though, like Pickering, that may be extended.

3. Darlington Nuclear - This is the newest, and possibly the most controversial of the Ontario facilities. Constructing commenced in 1981, as a follow-up to the highly successful Bruce site. She came on-line between 1990 and 1993, making her significantly newer than the other three. Darlington is most well known for going massively over-budget, like basically every Ontario infrastructure project that has come since. Originally pegged at less than $4 billion, final costs were $14.4 billion, double the 2nd estimate tabled just before construction and massively more than Bruce and Pickering together, despite having half the number of units. Due to the cost overruns, no "B" site at Darlington was ever built (though OPG; Ontario Power Generation still has designs on doing so. Their plan is to add 2-4 ACR1000 reactors to the site, which are 1,200MWe units, banking on the electrification of transportation as a driver). If the expansion of Darlington eventually proceeds, it will replace Bruce as the most powerful facility in the world. Current installed capacity at Darlington consists of 4x878MWe units. Darlington has begun its refurbishment, at a cost of $12.8 billion which will, given our track record, likely go over-budget, probably significantly. This ensures operation to at least 2055, probably longer, based on the track record with Pickering and all 4 units should be done by 2026, shortly after Pickering's shutdown begins.


A refurbishment of a CANDU involves replacement of all critical parts inside in the reactor building including a new calandria, new tubes....etc. Essentially they gut the reactor. The turbines are also rebuilt. When Bruce was done, they upgraded the capacity, though I don't see that happening this time around, though it is possible.

The fuel channel tubes "grow" over time in a CANDU and are, during maintenance breaks, un-welded, shortened, and re-welded. So while they are never taken off-line for refuelling like a US PWR/BWR, they are taken off-line briefly for maintenance windows.

This refurbishment programme is, as I see it, an intermediary to allow OPG to figure out what the heck they are doing to replace existing capacity and to observe market trends. We've invested significant money in the development of SMR reactors (molten salt mostly) which will likely end up replacing Pickering, despite our development of alternative fuel variants of existing CANDU's. We expect to have functional and deployable SMR's in the next 7 years, which coincides well with Pickering's shutdown process.
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#4579129 - 11/19/17 03:43 PM Re: Nuclear refurbishment in Ontario [Re: OVERKILL]
StevieC Offline


Registered: 08/21/08
Posts: 17116
Loc: Ontario, Canada
Nice. Thanks thumbsup

Canada
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#4579140 - 11/19/17 03:50 PM Re: Nuclear refurbishment in Ontario [Re: OVERKILL]
LoneRanger Offline


Registered: 07/02/07
Posts: 3933
Loc: Midwest USA
Do the CANDU ractors use the French system or whatever to recycle the spent fuel until the radio activity is reduced? Totally shooting from the hip here but remember something about how the French revolutionized nuclear power generation by some special fuel recycling setup or something.

Based on my generalizations above you might think I pronounce it "Nuke-ular" but I promise I say "Nu-clee-ar" ... laugh
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#4579148 - 11/19/17 03:54 PM Re: Nuclear refurbishment in Ontario [Re: LoneRanger]
OVERKILL Offline


Registered: 04/28/08
Posts: 35986
Loc: Ontario, Canada
Originally Posted By: LoneRanger
Do the CANDU ractors use the French system or whatever to recycle the spent fuel until the radio activity is reduced? Totally shooting from the hip here but remember something about how the French revolutionized nuclear power generation by some special fuel recycling setup or something.

Based on my generalizations above you might think I pronounce it "Nuke-ular" but I promise I say "Nu-clee-ar" ... laugh


No, because our facilities use natural Uranium rather than enriched Uranium. The waste from a CANDU is less dangerous than the tails from the enrichment process, if that helps put things into perspective? shrug
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#4579169 - 11/19/17 04:08 PM Re: Nuclear refurbishment in Ontario [Re: OVERKILL]
StevieC Offline


Registered: 08/21/08
Posts: 17116
Loc: Ontario, Canada
I still don't think they should be storing it by the lake. shrug
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#4579172 - 11/19/17 04:13 PM Re: Nuclear refurbishment in Ontario [Re: StevieC]
OVERKILL Offline


Registered: 04/28/08
Posts: 35986
Loc: Ontario, Canada
Originally Posted By: StevieC
I still don't think they should be storing it by the lake. shrug


They should be reprocessing it and burning it in AFCR's, but they won't because it is expensive and would involve new reactors, which aren't in the budget after the expenditure disaster with the GEA. Basically, we blew the load on wind and solar and now can't afford to do it.
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#4579176 - 11/19/17 04:16 PM Re: Nuclear refurbishment in Ontario [Re: OVERKILL]
SatinSilver Offline


Registered: 01/24/08
Posts: 9748
Loc: OH
What do you think of the two nuclear plants in northern Ohio on Lake Erie, Davis-Bessie and the Perry nuclear plants?
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#4579185 - 11/19/17 04:21 PM Re: Nuclear refurbishment in Ontario [Re: OVERKILL]
StevieC Offline


Registered: 08/21/08
Posts: 17116
Loc: Ontario, Canada
Originally Posted By: OVERKILL
Originally Posted By: StevieC
I still don't think they should be storing it by the lake. shrug


They should be reprocessing it and burning it in AFCR's, but they won't because it is expensive and would involve new reactors, which aren't in the budget after the expenditure disaster with the GEA. Basically, we blew the load on wind and solar and now can't afford to do it.


Yup... Sad eh?
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#4579194 - 11/19/17 04:26 PM Re: Nuclear refurbishment in Ontario [Re: SatinSilver]
OVERKILL Offline


Registered: 04/28/08
Posts: 35986
Loc: Ontario, Canada
Originally Posted By: SatinSilver
What do you think of the two nuclear plants in northern Ohio on Lake Erie, Davis-Bessie and the Perry nuclear plants?


I think they are examples as to the difference between how we did Nuclear in Ontario, and how you guys do it in the States.

DB is roughly the same age as Bruce, but has 1x894MWe unit and thus produces 6.3TWh vs 48. Perry is similar to Darlington, but again, with 1/4 of the units, albeit, higher output, so it produces 10TWh versus 26TWh.

Nuclear fuelling costs and processes aren't anywhere near that of a coaler or other fossil-driven station. Your fuel bundles last at least a year IIRC. The staffing and operating costs are what do it, and this is paid for via output; how many kWh you can pump out of the site. Bruce is massive, but relatively cheap to operate thanks to its output. The other two are comparatively more expensive thanks to their lower outputs. Ergo, Darlington's operating costs would go DOWN if we expanded it, not up, despite staffing costs increasing for the 4x additional units.

It's the whole economy of scale argument. When you are being compensated solely on how many kWh you can pump out, affordability is directly tied to that.
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#4579196 - 11/19/17 04:27 PM Re: Nuclear refurbishment in Ontario [Re: StevieC]
OVERKILL Offline


Registered: 04/28/08
Posts: 35986
Loc: Ontario, Canada
Originally Posted By: StevieC
Originally Posted By: OVERKILL
Originally Posted By: StevieC
I still don't think they should be storing it by the lake. shrug


They should be reprocessing it and burning it in AFCR's, but they won't because it is expensive and would involve new reactors, which aren't in the budget after the expenditure disaster with the GEA. Basically, we blew the load on wind and solar and now can't afford to do it.


Yup... Sad eh?


Tragic really. We could be turning our waste into power.
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#4579198 - 11/19/17 04:29 PM Re: Nuclear refurbishment in Ontario [Re: OVERKILL]
StevieC Offline


Registered: 08/21/08
Posts: 17116
Loc: Ontario, Canada
I feel bad for the generations after us. frown
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#4579204 - 11/19/17 04:34 PM Re: Nuclear refurbishment in Ontario [Re: StevieC]
OVERKILL Offline


Registered: 04/28/08
Posts: 35986
Loc: Ontario, Canada
Originally Posted By: StevieC
I feel bad for the generations after us. frown


I feel sorry for me kids! They'll be in the workforce when the entire house of cards constructed by McGuinty and Wynne collapses and all that generation needs to be replaced. The only thing soldiering on at that point will be Bruce and Darlington and all our Hydro-Electric. And those old girls will be vying for retirement when they've got kids of their own. Assuming Bruce makes it through to the 2060's, that's almost 100 years out of that facility, that's pretty darn good for an archaic nuclear thermal. I'd say we got our money's worth out of her and then some.
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#4579210 - 11/19/17 04:37 PM Re: Nuclear refurbishment in Ontario [Re: OVERKILL]
Donald Offline


Registered: 03/21/04
Posts: 20243
Loc: Upstate NY
I am hoping fusion will come online before I am too old to care.
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#4579211 - 11/19/17 04:38 PM Re: Nuclear refurbishment in Ontario [Re: OVERKILL]
StevieC Offline


Registered: 08/21/08
Posts: 17116
Loc: Ontario, Canada
I hope not to be living in this province by then. Retired somewhere with decent living costs. It's getting nuts already.
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#4579215 - 11/19/17 04:39 PM Re: Nuclear refurbishment in Ontario [Re: Donald]
OVERKILL Offline


Registered: 04/28/08
Posts: 35986
Loc: Ontario, Canada
Originally Posted By: Donald
I am hoping fusion will come online before I am too old to care.


I do too, but at least we'll have MSR's for sure! grin Really keen on seeing the first one of those to be built.
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