As time went by, man created inventions that helped everyone daily. To make life easier, man created specific improvements as we moved forward. One of these great inventions was the nuclear power plant as a new energy source to power our homes. Some say this energy source is highly hazardous and detrimental to the environment, but it is the opposite. There are numerous advantages to using nuclear energy in multiple aspects.
Due to destructive capabilities, some countries must recognize the benefits of nuclear power plants. Still, some existing countries do so, and an example is the Darlington Nuclear Generating Station, owned by the Ontario Power Generation (OPG) stationed in Ontario, Canada.
Along with its four-unit facilities, the Darlington nuclear power plant provides 20% of Ontario's electrical needs for its households and commercial buildings.
Other Nuclear Power Plants in Ontario:
- Point Lepreau
- Bruce A
- Bruce B
- Pickering A
- Pickering B
Darlington Nuclear Generating Station Refurbishment Project
In 2006, The government of Ontario directed the OPG to begin assessing the possibility of refurbishing the Darlington nuclear power plant's four nuclear reactor units because they have a lifespan up until the year 2020, which was years before its started operation in 1990.
Fast forward to 2016, The OPG publicly announced that they are ready to start cleaning the four reactor units of the Darlington nuclear power plant, named the "Darlington Nuclear Generating Station Refurbishing Project ." Refurbishing the four nuclear units is a big deal, so the perfect execution of this project is a must. The refurbishment is not just any average project; it has reasons why it is an essential part of the Darlington Nuclear Generating Station. Here are five reasons why:
1. Positive Impact on the Environment
Nuclear energy is a known significant source of clean energy as it is an emission-free energy source. It generates millions of kilowatts per hour annually, avoiding millions of harmful carbons every year with its use. The ongoing refurbishing project means that the continuation of clean energy from nuclear energy will stay and will positively impact the environment with its emission-free energy production and a significant decrease in greenhouse gases (GHG).
2. A Smart Investment
The refurbishment project will go on for 30 more years of operation and generate approximately $89 billion as economic benefits for Ontario, Canada. The project relies on Ontario-based contractors, and while it is in Ontario, the province's GDP will surely increase. This refurbishing project does not only help Ontario and its citizens with clean and reliable low-cost energy, but it also helps the province through its overall GDP.
With the refurbishment ongoing and its goal of extending the nuclear power plant's lifespan for 30 more years, doing so will raise awareness about nuclear as a great energy source. There are still countries that believe that nuclear is a hazardous element and that its use is only for creating weapons for mass destruction. The Darlington Nuclear Generating Station Refurbishment Project will prove them wrong and show that nuclear energy is harmless and an excellent clean energy source.
4. Chance of Improvement
During the refurbishment of the units, the clever minds of the professionals will go to work, and in that instance, an idea might come up. Ideas that will help improve the Darlington nuclear plant and its future endeavors.
5. Employment Opportunities
Just like mentioned above, this project relies on Ontario-based contractors. Numerous job opportunities will appear for the hardworking citizens of Ontario, Canada, with the project around. Here are some of the job opportunities available during the project:
- Fitters (steam, pipe, and gas)
- Crane Operators
- Heavy Equipment Operators
- Construction Millwrights
Refurbishment in this process involves changing the nuclear plant's core reactor and components so that the Darlington nuclear plant will operate safely and last for at least 30 more years. Here are essential explanations of what happens during the refurbishment:
Unit Shut Down
Before anything else, they shut down the reactor to avoid problems like leakages or livewires. This part of the refurbishing is a three parts process which is the following; disconnecting, defueling, and islanding.
After the unit shuts down, disassembling takes place. Disassembling is done by a professional as this is a very complex process of a problematic unit requiring special tools. A single unit composes of a combination of 2880 tubes and end fittings.
Once you finish disassembling, reassembling will now take place. Reassembling requires a high amount b of precision and skill. Here's what the reassembling consists of; inspection, calandria tube installation, fuel channel assembly, and feeder replacements.
Unit Power Up
After reassembling the tubes and end fittings, powering up or turning on the unit will occur. But before doing so, there are necessary steps that the professional must take, and after these steps, the team is good to go for another 30 years.
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