Refurbishment of OPG’s Darlington Units Begins. Work to refurbish Ontario Power Generation’s (OPG’s) 3.5-GW Darlington Nuclear Generating Station kicked off on October 15. The refurbishment of the four Darlington reactors, which have provided about 20% of Ontario’s power since they went into service in the early 1990s, will span 10 years. The project is estimated to cost about C$12.8 billion—C$1.2 billion less than originally projected by OPG. The average cost of power from Darlington post-refurbishment is estimated to range between $72/MWh and $81/MWh, “lower than the average price of electricity generation in Ontario, which in 2015 was $92/MWh,” Ontario’s government said in a press release on October 14. Meanwhile, OPG said it has undertaken “six years of rigorous planning and preparations in order to ensure project success and minimize risk.” On October 28, the SNC-Lavalin/Aecon joint venture, which is spearheading refurbishment of the plant in Clarington, east of Toronto, awarded nuclear-fuel firm Cameco a contract to supply calandria tubes and annulus spacers to the project.
Andritz to Supply Equipment for 670-MW Thai-Laos Hydro Project. Andritz Hydro, a subsidiary of international technology Group Andritz, has received an order from the Phonesack Group to supply electromechanical equipment for the Nam Theun 1 hydropower project in central Laos. The scope of work includes design and manufacturing, including three vertical Francis turbines with a total output of 670 MW. Nam Theun 1 is a pumped storage plant that uses water from the Nam Kading River. A major project of the Laos and Thai Power development plan, it will contribute to grid stability in both countries when it begins operating in 2020.
South Africa Picks Preferred Bidders for First Privately Built Coal Plants. South Africa selected two consortia as the preferred bidders to develop the country’s first privately built coal-fired power plants. The Thabametsi and Khanyisa plants could add more than 863.3 MW of coal-fired capacity to the power-strapped nation’s grid. The 306-MW Khanyisa plant in South Africa’s coal-rich Mpumalanga region will use waste coal from the nearby Anglo-American collieries. It is expected be the first in the country to use modern circulating fluidized-bed technology when completed in December 2020. The project is backed by a consortium consisting of Saudi Arabia’s ACWA Power, Thebe Investments, Pele Natural Energy, Mazi Capital, and Palace Group. The Thabametsi plant proposed for the Limpopo region involves a consortium led by Japan’s Marubeni Corp.; other backers include Korea Electric Power Corp., PIC, Royal Bafokeng Holding, and KPI Holding. South Africa’s energy department has said that it needs 16.8 GW of new coal capacity to be added by 2030. The two projects were outlined in a 2012 determination calling for 2.5 GW to be procured through independent power producers.
Russia Starts Operation of Notable Reactors. Russia’s state-owned nuclear arm Rosatom on November 2 said the fourth unit of the Beloyarsk nuclear power plant—an 800-MWe fast-neutron reactor of the BN-800 design—has started commercial operation. The unit was a POWER November 2016 Top Plant. Rosatom also announced that the sixth reactor at the Novovoronezh nuclear power plant (Novovoronezh II-1) in western Russia was operating at full power. That reactor was connected to the grid in August 2016. The unit is one of two 1,114-MW AES-2006 pressurized water reactors at the site. The new units are expected to begin commercial operations in December 2016 and in 2019.
Panda Power Funds Commissions Marcellus Shale Gas–Fired Power Plant. Dallas-headquartered Panda Power Funds on October 27 commissioned the first combined cycle power plant in the U.S. that is sited on a Marcellus Shale gas formation in Pennsylvania. The natural gas–fired 829-MW Liberty generating station uses Siemens’ H-class gas turbines, SST-5000 steam turbines, and SGEN6-2000H hydrogen-cooled generators, as well as Vogt “Smart-Box” heat recovery steam generators and air-cooled condensers. It also features special blade designs, low-output motors, and building enclosures to help minimize sound, the company said. Gemma-Lane Liberty Partners served as the project engineering, procurement, and construction contractor. Construction began in August 2013 and took about 32 months. ■
—Sonal Patel is a POWER associate editor.