Advanced automation testing facility opens in Canada

13 September 2018

ATS Automation Tooling Systems Inc and Bruce Power have held a ceremony to mark the opening of the Major Component Replacement (MCR) Integration Facility at ATS' headquarters in Cambridge, Ontario.

The opening of the MCR Integration Facility (Image: Bruce Power)

MCRs are to be carried out at Bruce units 3-8 as part of Bruce Power's CAD13 billion (USD10 billion) Life Extension Programme, launched in 2016 to enable the Bruce A and B nuclear power plants to operate until 2064. Units 1 and 2 at Bruce A have already been refurbished. The MCR programme will begin with Bruce unit 6 in 2020, with the other units following this. All 480 of the reactor's fuel channels and calandria tubes will be removed and replaced as part of the works.

The groundbreaking ceremony for ATS's MCR Integration Facility took place in October last year. The 43,000-square-foot facility will be used for the pre-outage testing, verification and optimisation of the removal, inspection and installation tools. This facility will ensure the tools are operating correctly in a full-scale simulation environment, where production time, budgets and vault transitions can be verified and optimised, greatly reducing project risk. Work is already under way in the facility.

"The ATS and Bruce Power partnership is one that shares the common goals of safety, quality, precision, and innovation," said ATS CEO Andrew Hider. "Thus, it is with great pride and excitement that we announce the official opening of the MCR Integration Facility which embodies all of these goals as a state-of-the-art automation testing facility."

Bruce Power CEO Mike Rencheck said, "By forming partnerships with key suppliers such as ATS, we are innovating and creating jobs throughout the province with Made-in-Ontario solutions for the components we will need to successfully complete our Major Component Replacement projects. The MCR facility will see ATS as well as six other supplier companies testing the tools necessary to execute the project smoothly and efficiently."

In June, ATS received a CAD60 million order booking to design and deliver innovative automated reactor component removal tools for Bruce Power's MCR programme. The order is to be delivered over the next 18 months.

A CAD40 million multi-year master tooling agreement for the supply of automated tooling systems and related services for Bruce's Life-Extension Programme was signed by the two companies in December 2016.

Bruce Power's eight Candu reactors provide 30% of Ontario's electricity and played a central role in the province's phase-out of coal-fired electricity generation.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News