AN INTERNATIONAL PROJECT FOR CANDU - Argentina signs contract to refurbish its CANDU nuclear power plant
Toronto - Atomic Energy of Canada Limited (AECL) signed formal agreements today with Nucleoeléctrica Argentina Sociedad Anónima (NASA), operator of Argentina’s Embalse Nuclear Generating Station, to begin work on the retubing and refurbishment of the station’s CANDU reactor, which is designed to allow the power plant to operate for an additional 25 to 30 years. The aggregate contract value is approximately $440 million.
AECL will begin the execution of the contract with direct support from SNC-Lavalin Nuclear Inc. until the transaction between AECL and Candu Energy Inc. (Candu), a wholly-owned subsidiary of SNC-Lavalin Group Inc., to acquire the commercial assets of AECL’s CANDU Reactor Division closes. At that point, Candu will take over full responsibility for the contract.
The scope of the AECL/Candu contract includes the provision of key technologies and tools to support the retubing project as well as engineering and supply for plant upgrades. NASA will be the overall project manager for the refurbishment project and will directly carry out all reactor component procurement and oversee the on-site work.
“This contract is a good example of the opportunities that lie ahead for Candu, and a testament to Canada’s long association with Argentina in the field of nuclear energy,” said Patrick Lamarre, Executive Vice-President, SNC-Lavalin Group Inc. “We look forward to expanding our cooperation with the Argentinian nuclear industry, not only for this refurbishment project, but for future nuclear projects in Argentina, elsewhere in South America and in the global market.”
“The Embalse project will provide several years of high-value work for employees of the Canadian nuclear industry,” said Hugh MacDiarmid, President and CEO, AECL. “It underlines the importance of CANDU technology as an affordable, reliable source of CO2-free energy.”
The Embalse CANDU 6 reactor began commercial operation in January 1984. The single-unit has a gross output of 648 MWe and was originally designed by AECL.
About CANDU retube projects
CANDU reactors are designed to undergo a retube to help utilities extend the life of their reactor as opposed to decommissioning it and replacing it with a new one, or finding replacement energy sources that are often more expensive, less accessible and not as environmentally friendly.
Retubing the reactor involves removing and replacing (for a CANDU 6 design) all 760 reactor feeders as well as 380 fuel channels and 380 calandria tubes. Remotely controlled tools and massive, highly shielded machines are required to conduct the work safely inside the reactor due to the radioactive environment.
Retubing a reactor requires an extended outage so that the fuel channels can be replaced. During this outage, there is an opportunity to perform other refurbishment activities that will improve the reliability and safety of the plant.
SNC-Lavalin is one of the leading engineering and construction groups in the world and a major player in the ownership of infrastructure, and in the provision of operations and maintenance services. SNC-Lavalin has offices across Canada and in over 35 other countries around the world, and is currently working in some 100 countries. In business since 1911, the Company celebrates its 100th anniversary in 2011. www.snclavalin.com.
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