Framatome to decontaminate Bruce units ahead of refurbs

29 June 2022

Framatome has been appointed by Bruce Power to provide full system decontamination at units 3 and 4 of the Bruce nuclear power plant in Ontario, Canada, as part of its Major Component Replacement (MCR) project.

The Bruce nuclear power plant (Image: Bruce Power)

Full system decontamination using an optimised chemical process will be performed prior to refurbishment activities on-site at Bruce 3 and 4, significantly mitigating the dose and enhancing safety when accessing the units.

The full system decontamination project is currently in the design and procurement phase, with expected deployment at unit 3 in April 2023 and at unit 4 in August 2024. To date, Framatome teams have performed the conceptual and preliminary engineering phase in support of the project. It said the chemical process is undergoing qualification at Canadian Nuclear Laboratories, with current results yielding excellent results for decontamination factors.

"This latest contract awards the remaining detailed engineering work, which is fully supported using Framatome's Canadian engineering resources," Framatome said.

"Our Framatome team combines global expertise and innovative adaptability as we develop our footprint in Canada and our partnership with Bruce Power," said Catherine Cornand, senior executive vice president of Installed Base for Framatome. "We are committed to help ensure the long-term operations of Canada's nuclear fleet, which provides low-cost, reliable, carbon-free electricity for citizens of Ontario and beyond."

Framatome said it has successfully performed 36 full system decontamination applications globally using its chemical technology, and more than 500 decontaminations of pumps and systems since 1976.

The MCR project is part of Bruce's Life-Extension Program, a long-term investment programme to update all eight Bruce reactors and secure the site's operation until 2064. Units 3-8 will all undergo MCR, which includes the replacement of key reactor components such as steam generators, pressure tubes, calandria tubes and feeder tubes. Unit 6 is the first to undergo the process, and is expected to return to service in 2024. Work is scheduled to begin on unit 3 in 2023 followed by unit 4 in 2025, and each refurbishment is expected to be shorter in duration and ultimately more cost effective than the preceding one. All the MCRs are scheduled to be completed in July 2033 and will add about 30 to 35 years of operational life for each CANDU reactor.

Bruce units 1 and 2 have already been refurbished. Those units - along with units 3 and 4 - were placed in long-term shutdown during the 1990s but underwent refurbishment before returning to commercial operation in 2012.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News