Licence amendment for Darlington

30 July 2014

The Canadian nuclear regulator has approved a one-year extension to the operating licence of the Darlington nuclear power plant. This will allow extra time for preparation of information by Ontario Power Generation (OPG) in support of its application for a licence extension to 2028.

Darlington aerial 460 (CNSC)
The four Candu reactors at Darlington are to be refurbished (Image: CNSC)

OPG submitted a licence renewal application to the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) last December and submitted additional information to support its application in February. Darlington's current operating licence expires at the end of this year. OPG requested that licence be extended to December 2028 under the same terms and conditions as the current licence.

In a letter submitted by OPG with its application, OPG noted that a 14-year licence extension "is a longer licence term than what has traditionally been granted to a Canadian licencee." The Canadian regulator has usually issued five-year extensions to reactor operating licences. However, the units would be offline for about an eight-year period for a planned refurbishment project.

The CNSC announced in March that public hearings to consider the long-term renewal of Darlington's operating licence, including the proposed refurbishment of all four Darlington units, would be held in November.

With the expiry of Darlington's current operating licence approaching, OPG requested a one-year extension to allow additional time to provide more comprehensive documentation, reflect new CNSC expectations and facilitate public engagement in the upcoming public hearing.

The CNSC has now approved that extension and, as a result, has rescheduled the public hearing to the second half of 2015. The regulator noted, "The commission is of the view that the amendment will facilitate a renewal hearing with comprehensive information."

Darlington, on the shore of Lake Ontario, consists of four 881 MWe Candu pressurized heavy water reactors. OPG plans to start work on refurbishing all four units in 2016 with completion scheduled for late 2024. The refurbishment would enable the units to continue operating for a further 25-30 years.

Researched and written
by World Nuclear News