Darlington

OVERKILL

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In light of the recent news on Darlington B finally starting construction, I figured it might make sense to share some history, and some pictures, about the newest, and most contentious, nuclear power plant in Ontario.

In 1981, under the government of Bill Davis, Ontario Hydro broke ground on 4x CANDU 9 units at Darlington A. This was the culmination of the design and expertise gleaned from the build of the two 4-packs constructed at the Bruce site in Kincardine, which was, for the longest time, the largest nuclear power plant in the world, with a nameplate capacity of 6,440MWe (Bruce B in the foreground):

Razed Heavy Water Plant 02.jpeg


Bruce was the "beta test" for the design that would become the CANDU 9, a design that would never be exported due to the crash of the nuclear export industry on the heels of Chernobyl, despite the extensive research and documentation that demonstrated that such an even was wholly impossible with our unique and wholly Canadian CANDU technology.

Darlington A was the result of the experience at Bruce, but further updated with both deep water inlet and outlet diffusers. Darlington B, a mirror of the A plant, was supposed to be constructed on the heels of Darlington A, but due to the industry pause as a result of Chernobyl and the end of the Conservative dynasty that had built 20 nuclear reactors in Ontario, was never built.

Darlington A under construction:
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It seems now, wholly fitting, that the resumption of the construction of Darlington B, 30 years later, would proceed under the Conservative government of Doug Ford, who has already directed OPG to investigate the refurbishment of Pickering B, something Canadians For Nuclear Energy (C4NE), a non-profit for which I'm a director, has fought hard for.

It won't be CANDU 9's this time, as the current focus is the success of SMR's, which OPG, our publicly owned generator, is looking to be a world leader on. But, we ARE looking to build new CANDU's, and have several sites that are already slated to receive new generation, including that of a former dual fuel facility at Wesleyville that was never completed:

Screen Shot 2022-10-07 at 6.51.03 PM.jpg


Momentum is building in the nuclear sector and Ontario is on the edge of the wave. If our organization has any say in the matter, we'll have new CANDU's as part of Darlington B, Wesleyville and Nanticoke and we'll be picking up where Davis left off in '81. Ontario's future is nuclear and this time, we are going to push that through the rest of Canada. Where there is coal, we can build CANDU's and, the plan is, we will.
 

OVERKILL

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Not to get political, but what happens if the Tories lose control of Ontario? Seems like Ontario flip-flops on the party of their Premier.
As long as the project is far enough along, it should be OK. We had 4x consecutive Liberal governments and Doug just got an even larger majority, so I suspect the Tories will keep control through at least the next election. Their stance on the energy file is popular.
 
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OVERKILL

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In light of the recent news on Darlington B finally starting construction, I figured it might make sense to share some history, and some pictures, about the newest, and most contentious, nuclear power plant in Ontario.

In 1981, under the government of Bill Davis, Ontario Hydro broke ground on 4x CANDU 9 units at Darlington A. This was the culmination of the design and expertise gleaned from the build of the two 4-packs constructed at the Bruce site in Kincardine, which was, for the longest time, the largest nuclear power plant in the world, with a nameplate capacity of 6,440MWe (Bruce B in the foreground):

View attachment 128961

Bruce was the "beta test" for the design that would become the CANDU 9, a design that would never be exported due to the crash of the nuclear export industry on the heels of Chernobyl, despite the extensive research and documentation that demonstrated that such an even was wholly impossible with our unique and wholly Canadian CANDU technology.

Darlington A was the result of the experience at Bruce, but further updated with both deep water inlet and outlet diffusers. Darlington B, a mirror of the A plant, was supposed to be constructed on the heels of Darlington A, but due to the industry pause as a result of Chernobyl and the end of the Conservative dynasty that had built 20 nuclear reactors in Ontario, was never built.

Darlington A under construction:
View attachment 128971
View attachment 128964
View attachment 128963
View attachment 128965

View attachment 128967
View attachment 128968
View attachment 128969
View attachment 128970

It seems now, wholly fitting, that the resumption of the construction of Darlington B, 30 years later, would proceed under the Conservative government of Doug Ford, who has already directed OPG to investigate the refurbishment of Pickering B, something Canadians For Nuclear Energy (C4NE), a non-profit for which I'm a director, has fought hard for.

It won't be CANDU 9's this time, as the current focus is the success of SMR's, which OPG, our publicly owned generator, is looking to be a world leader on. But, we ARE looking to build new CANDU's, and have several sites that are already slated to receive new generation, including that of a former dual fuel facility at Wesleyville that was never completed:

View attachment 128972

Momentum is building in the nuclear sector and Ontario is on the edge of the wave. If our organization has any say in the matter, we'll have new CANDU's as part of Darlington B, Wesleyville and Nanticoke and we'll be picking up where Davis left off in '81. Ontario's future is nuclear and this time, we are going to push that through the rest of Canada. Where there is coal, we can build CANDU's and, the plan is, we will.
So will the first “Darlington B” installation be a SMR? What is the current budget?
 
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Hey @OVERKILL , is Nanticoke one of the proposed sites? Seems like a no brainer since all the transmission lines and switch yard are there from the closed giant coal plant (and lake water cooling is right there too).
 

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Well, as if on cue, Darlington 3 is coming back from refurb and has now been given the go ahead to refuel:
We have a nuclear fuel expert available - look for him at baggage carousel 5 😷
 

OVERKILL

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So will the first “Darlington B” installation be a SMR? What is the current budget?
We expect the first 4x to be SMR's, yes. But the site is licensed for 4,800MWe, and the grounds are pretty big, so they may end up doing both SMR's and new build CANDU's.
 

OVERKILL

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Hey @OVERKILL , is Nanticoke one of the proposed sites? Seems like a no brainer since all the transmission lines and switch yard are there from the closed giant coal plant (and lake water cooling is right there too).
Yes, it's an OPG site that's currently considered an option for new nuclear for the reasons you mentioned. It already has transmission rated for >4GW and the grounds have already been a power plant, so it is, as you note, a bit of a no brainer.
 
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Yes, it's an OPG site that's currently considered an option for new nuclear for the reasons you mentioned. It already has transmission rated for >4GW and the grounds have already been a power plant, so it is, as you note, a bit of a no brainer.
This will be a good test of the NIMBY attitude. I’ll bet a lot of folks in Toronto don’t even know there are Nuclear Reactors in the province.
 
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I’ve wondered…

This is sort of off-topic, but…

Since so many people are opposed to the construction of nuke plants in their areas, would it be economically feasible to build the plant in a remote, sparsely-populated location, and then just transmit the electricity to the population centers that need the power?

Just thinking about how much land there is in the western US, and how few people are in some of those areas.

And, being interested in electricity, power plants, etc, I’ve read about the increased efficiency and reduction of losses that is possible with HVDC power transmission.

Of course there would be a large cost associated with the construction of the long-distance power transfer infrastructure, maintenance of it, etc.

But maybe that’s going to be the cost of doing business in this century and the next, since everything is getting electrified, and we don’t currently have the generation capacity we need (Far from it). It’s a problem that has to get solved, and wind/solar/hydro won’t get us there.

So it’s occurred to me that nuclear plants could be built in remote areas, where there would be less opposition, and a selling point could be the reduced potential for harm to people if anything ever happened, unlikely as that is.

I think some US states would even potentially welcome it (Jobs, economic stimulation that would not only be short-term).

Places like North Dakota, South Dakota, Wyoming, and Montana come to mind.

I guess one big obstacle would be having a source of water for cooling. Aren’t all nuke plants built next to large bodies of water or rivers in order to make use of them for cooling?
 

OVERKILL

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I’ve wondered…

This is sort of off-topic, but…

Since so many people are opposed to the construction of nuke plants in their areas, would it be economically feasible to build the plant in a remote, sparsely-populated location, and then just transmit the electricity to the population centers that need the power?

Just thinking about how much land there is in the western US, and how few people are in some of those areas.

And, being interested in electricity, power plants, etc, I’ve read about the increased efficiency and reduction of losses that is possible with HVDC power transmission.

Of course there would be a large cost associated with the construction of the long-distance power transfer infrastructure, maintenance of it, etc.

But maybe that’s going to be the cost of doing business in this century and the next, since everything is getting electrified, and we don’t currently have the generation capacity we need (Far from it). It’s a problem that has to get solved, and wind/solar/hydro won’t get us there.

So it’s occurred to me that nuclear plants could be built in remote areas, where there would be less opposition, and a selling point could be the reduced potential for harm to people if anything ever happened, unlikely as that is.

I think some US states would even potentially welcome it (Jobs, economic stimulation that would not only be short-term).

Places like North Dakota, South Dakota, Wyoming, and Montana come to mind.

I guess one big obstacle would be having a source of water for cooling. Aren’t all nuke plants built next to large bodies of water or rivers in order to make use of them for cooling?
Bruce is located relatively far away from the main population centres and on the shores of lake Huron. It's not in the middle of nowhere, but it's several hours from Toronto. There is a massive collection of transmission lines that bring its power to the rest of the province.

Pickering, as you can see, along with Darlington, are located directly adjacent to our biggest population, and subsequently load, centres. Nuclear is popular and not feared by the majority of the population in Ontario, but as you note, that may not be the case for other locations (provinces, states...etc).

Cooling needs to be planned for. Some designs are able to be ground or air cooled, some that use water, use very little of it, like the largest plant in the US, Palo Verde, which uses wastewater that is piped in.
 
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Bruce is located relatively far away from the main population centres and on the shores of lake Huron. It's not in the middle of nowhere, but it's several hours from Toronto. There is a massive collection of transmission lines that bring its power to the rest of the province.

Pickering, as you can see, along with Darlington, are located directly adjacent to our biggest population, and subsequently load, centres. Nuclear is popular and not feared by the majority of the population in Ontario, but as you note, that may not be the case for other locations (provinces, states...etc).

Cooling needs to be planned for. Some designs are able to be ground or air cooled, some that use water, use very little of it, like the largest plant in the US, Palo Verde, which uses wastewater that is piped in.


My comrade/friend: very great info and I Thank You. Speaking of cooling; couldn’t they re-examine the sodium cooling they tried in the 1950’s?
 

OVERKILL

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My comrade/friend: very great info and I Thank You. Speaking of cooling; couldn’t they re-examine the sodium cooling they tried in the 1950’s?
Sodium cooling has been used on fast breeder reactors successfully. Gas I believe has also been used on other designs. Ultimately, water won out as being the simplest and most effective but yes, other mediums could certainly be further explored for locations where water won't work.
 
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