Ontario Darlington nuclear refurbishment gets environmental OK

March 15 Fri Mar 15, 2013 2:27pm EDT

March 15 (Reuters) - Canadian nuclear regulators gave Ontario Power Generation (OPG) environmental approval to refurbish the 3,512-megawatt (MW) Darlington nuclear power plant in Ontario.

The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) said in a statement Thursday "the proposed project is not likely to cause significant adverse environmental effects."

OPG wants to refurbish the four reactors at Darlington, located on the north shore of Lake Ontario in Clarington about 70 km (43 miles) east of Toronto, so they could operate for another 25 to 30 years.

If approved, the company has said the refurbishment would start in 2016. The project is scheduled to end in 2023, according to local reports.

The Ontario minister of energy has estimated the cost of the refurbishment to be about C$6 billion to C$10 billion, according to the OPG website.

OPG in 2012 signed a contract with units of Canadian construction firms SNC Lavalin Group Inc and Aecon Group Inc to work on the refurbishment.

The four Darlington reactors were built between 1981 and 1993 by OPG's predecessor, Ontario Hydro, for an estimated C$14.4 billion, according to reports. The reactors entered service between 1990 and 1993.

Separately, OPG in 2012 signed agreements with two companies, Westinghouse Electric, a unit of Japanese multinational Toshiba Corp, and SNC Lavalin's Candu Energy Inc to prepare construction plans, schedules and cost estimates for two new potential reactors at Darlington.

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