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First of eight massive steam generators lifted out of Unit 6 at Bruce Power

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The first of eight steam generators at Bruce Power’s Unit 6 facility was successfully removed on July 23, marking a major milestone in the multi-year major component replacement project.

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The eight steam generators at Unit 6 are arranged vertically in two columns of four on the east and west sides of the reactor. Each steam generator weighs approximately 320,000 pounds and will be lifted through the powerhouse roof enclosure using Mammoet’s PTC-35 crane.

The 1,600-ton capacity crane is one of the largest in the world and features a boom the length of a hockey rink that can stretch over the seven-storey power station and reach the innermost steam generators.

“This first lift was preceded by a half a decade of preparations and was completed successfully thanks to our safe work plan, highly skilled construction trades as well as strong collaboration and communication with our vendor partner, SGRT,” said Eric Chassard, executive vice president, projects and engineering, at Bruce Power. “The team is now focused on the safe execution of the 15 remaining lifts, which will be finished next month. We’re looking forward to marking off another successful milestone for the MCR project.”

The new steam generators were fabricated by BWXT at their Cambridge site and shipped to the nuclear power generator in Tiverton late last year.

Lasers were used to create a 3-D layout of the new steam generators to verify their dimensions prior to the first installation. The new generators will be set in place by the Building Trades Union within a few millimetres tolerance, a news release said.

A Bruce Power spokesperson said in an e-mail the components being removed from Unit 6 as part of the MCR, including the eight steam generators, will be sent to OPG’s Western Waste Management Facility located on the Bruce Power site.

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The spent Unit 6 steam generators have been in operation since 1984.

The Steam Generator Replacement Team (SGRT), a 50/50 joint venture between Aecon and SGT (a partnership between Framatome and United Engineers & Constructors), is Bruce Power’s vendor responsible for removing the Unit 6 steam generators and was recently awarded a contract to replace the steam generators at Units 3 and 4.

“The steam generator replacement is a major milestone for the Unit 6 MCR, and represents years of hard work and collaboration between Bruce Power and our partners like SGRT, BWXT, Mammoet, Nuvia, and the Building Trades Unions,” said Mike Rencheck, Bruce Power’s president and CEO.

The MCR – which aims to replace key reactor components in units 3 to 8 – began with Unit 6 as the first phase on Jan. 17, 2020.

Earlier this month, Bruce Power completed the last of its reactor removal work at Unit 6 as part of the MCR project.

The MCR project team, alongside Shoreline Power Group – a joint venture between Aecon, SNC-Lavalin and United Engineers & Constructors – spent about 10 months removing feeder tubes, pressure tubes, calandria tubes and other internal components of the Unit 6 reactor in preparation for the installation of new parts that will extend the life of the unit for 40 years.

The removals were completed ahead of schedule according to a news release. Work on the MCR project was stalled in the spring of 2020 for 50 days amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Shoreline Power Group is responsible for the fuel channel feeder replacement portion of the project, which involves all reactor removal, inspection, and installation work. This includes removing and replacing 960 feeder tubes, 480 fuel channels, and 480 calandria tubes.

Six of Bruce Power’s eight units will be refurbished over the next 13 years as part of the MCR. After the refurbishing of Unit 6, work is planned to begin on Unit 3 in 2023 and Unit 4 in 2025.

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