Canadian Consulting Engineer

OPG contracts SNC-Lavalin’s PRECISE tool for Darlington nuclear station

July 30, 2020

The project will mark the tool's first commercial deployment.

Darlington nuclear generating station

Photo courtesy OPG.

Ontario Power Generation (OPG) has awarded a contract to Montreal-based SNC-Lavalin for the first commercial deployment of a newly developed nuclear reactor inspection tool, dubbed Pressure Tube Circumferential Sampling Equipment (PRECISE).

The contract entails the detailed design, fabrication, manufacturing and deployment of the new tool at OPG’s Darlington nuclear generating station, starting early next year. SNC-Lavalin has developed PRECISE to take samples of reactor core materials, allowing for in situ life assessment of the pressure boundary material of the fuel channel assemblies.

Fuel channels are subject to in-service aging and require regular, proactive inspections to monitor their condition and demonstrate fitness-for-service for the operating life of the reactor. This is done periodically through ‘scraping,’ whereby they are defueled and several samples of the inner diameter of the pressure tube are taken and inspected.

The PRECISE tool is capable of taking multiple samples at once, reducing worker dose and on-reactor cycle times. Remote and automated operations will allow it to operate in both wet (with pressure boundary intact) and damp (channel drained and isolated) environments with full traceability and capturability. The design can respond quickly and reliably to changing pressure tube surface conditions in fuel channels and allow for 75% less time on channel compared to older tooling designs.


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