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OPG awards contract for complex parts for nuclear refurbishment

04 November 2021

Peterborough – Ontario Power Generation (OPG) and BWX Technologies, Inc. (NYSE: BWXT) are announcing a contract for Fuelling Machine (FM) head engineering and component supply as part of refurbishment of the Darlington Nuclear Generating Station.

The contract will be formally announced today at BWXT’s Peterborough, Ontario, facility, with Energy Minister Todd Smith, Peterborough-Kawartha MPP Dave Smith, OPG President and CEO Ken Hartwick, and BWXT Nuclear Power Group President John MacQuarrie in attendance.

The $50 million (US$38.2 million) contract will be executed by BWXT Nuclear Energy Canada Inc. in Peterborough, where a team of more than 250 employees, engineers, skilled trades and other specialized personnel will design and supply complex parts and assemblies to enable refurbishment of all eight FM heads at Darlington. Engineering work on this project began in 2020, with component supply occurring from 2022 to 2026.

After 30 years of providing safe, clean, reliable power to Ontarians, Darlington is in the midst of a planned midlife overhaul. The first of four units was shut down in 2016 and returned to service in 2020. A second unit is currently being refurbished, with the four-unit project slated for completion in 2026.

Beyond extending the life of the station by 30 or more years, Darlington Refurbishment is a boon to Ontario’s economy. Approximately 96 per cent of project costs are being spent in the province – like this project currently underway in Peterborough – drawing on Ontario’s significant and skilled nuclear supply chain. More than 200 companies across Ontario are part of the refurbishment project and are helping to power the province's economy by creating jobs and delivering high quality parts and services.

According to the Conference Board of Canada, Darlington Refurbishment and the station’s subsequent operating life:

  • Provides an $89.9 billion boost to Ontario’s economy
  • Creates approximately 14,000 jobs annually for the life of the project, with five jobs created in the broader Ontario economy for each worker directly employed at Darlington Station.
  • Increases Ontario’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP): every $1 spent on the project increases GDP by $1.40, on average.

FM heads are part of the remote-controlled system that allows continuous on-power fuelling in CANDU reactors, like those found at Darlington.

Quick Facts

  • Darlington’s refurbishment also plays a role in helping meet Ontario’s climate change goals: a study points out continued operation of Darlington to 2055 is equivalent to taking two million cars off Ontario’s roads in terms of greenhouse gas avoidance.
  • Darlington Nuclear Generating Station generates enough electricity to meet about 20 per cent of Ontario’s power needs, enough to power two million homes.
  • BWXT employs approximately 1,500 highly skilled people at its unique facilities in Peterborough, Cambridge, Toronto, Arnprior, Oakville, Dundas and Owen Sound. They support the operation and refurbishment of Ontario’s nuclear generating stations with innovative products and services.


“Ontario’s nuclear supply chain is strong, allowing us to source much of what we need, both as we refurbish Darlington and also as we work toward small modular reactor deployment, right here at home,” said Subo Sinnathamby, OPG’s Senior Vice President, Refurbishment. “We know BWXT has the skilled workers and the same rigorous commitment to quality and safety we do at OPG, which is imperative as they provide key parts and knowledge to refurbish Darlington’s fuel machine heads.”

“Our team in Peterborough produces innovative fuel handling systems for CANDU nuclear plants around the world and is committed to supplying engineering services and components of the highest quality,” said John MacQuarrie, president of BWXT’s Nuclear Power Group. “We are excited to get started on this project that will again showcase BWXT’s engineering and manufacturing solutions that help our customers to operate their plants reliably.”

“In addition to securing decades of safe, economical and clean power, Darlington Refurbishment is also enabling Ontario’s nuclear supply chain partners like BWXT to expand its capabilities and bolster its leading position in the global nuclear industry,” said Todd Smith, Ontario’s Minister of Energy. “As the Darlington Refurbishment project shows, we are so fortunate and proud to have a world-class nuclear supply chain that is the envy of the global industry.”

“OPG contracting BWXT Nuclear Energy Canada will have significant positive impacts in Peterborough and the surrounding regional economy,” said David Piccini, Minister of the Environment, Conservation and Parks and MPP for Northumberland—Peterborough South. “Being a part of the Darlington Refurbishment allows our local skilled workers to showcase their talent by supplying high quality parts and services that will help power the province. This is great news for the expansion of clean nuclear energy in Ontario, which is key to driving down carbon emissions and attracting green investment.”

“Good, family-supporting jobs in our community benefit and grow our local economy, with indirect jobs created across our region,” said Dave Smith, MPP for Peterborough-Kawartha. “This new $50 million contract will sustain these jobs and support our economic recovery for years to come.”

About OPG

As a global climate change leader and the largest, most diverse electricity generator in the province, OPG and its family of companies are helping lead the charge to a post-carbon economy.

About BWXT

At BWX Technologies, Inc. (NYSE: BWXT), we are People Strong, Innovation Driven. Headquartered in Lynchburg, Va., BWXT is a Fortune 1000 and Defense News Top 100 manufacturing and engineering innovator that provides safe and effective nuclear solutions for global security, clean energy, environmental remediation, nuclear medicine and space exploration. With approximately 6,700 employees, BWXT has 12 major operating sites in the U.S. and Canada. In addition, BWXT joint ventures provide management and operations at more than a dozen U.S. Department of Energy and NASA facilities.  Follow us on Twitter at @BWXT and learn more at www.bwxt.com.

Forward Looking Statements

BWXT cautions that this release contains forward-looking statements, including statements relating to thecontract for FM head engineering and component supply,including the performance, timing, impact, value andpotential benefits thereof. These forward-looking statements involve a number of risks and uncertainties, including, among other things, manufacturing delays or modification or termination of the contract. If one or more of these or other risks materialize, actual results may vary materially from those expressed. For a more complete discussion of these and other risk factors, please see BWXT’s annual report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2020. BWXT cautions not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements, which speak only as of the date of this release, and undertakes no obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statement, except to the extent required by applicable law.


For further information, please contact:
Ontario Power Generation
416-592-4008 or 1-877-592-4008
Follow us @opg

Natalie Cutler
Director, Communications, BWXT Canada Ltd.

Press Contacts:

BWX Technologies, Inc.

Jud Simmons 
+1 434.522.3800

BWXT Canada Ltd.
BWXT Nuclear Energy Canada Inc.
BWXT Medical Ltd.

Monifa Miller
+1 519.242.8071

Nuclear Fuel Services, Inc.

Laura Bailey 
+1 423.743.9141