Candu Energy Inc., a member of the SNC-Lavalin Group (TSX: SNC), announces it is engaged in pre-project design and engineering work with the Third Qinshan Nuclear Power Company Limited (TQNPC), operator of the Qinshan Phase III Nuclear Generating Station located outside of Shanghai, China. This mandate will be carried out over two phases and will facilitate a 30-year life-extension of the two CANDU® reactors at the site.
“SNC-Lavalin’s nuclear business is globally competitive, meaning we’re well positioned to execute work across the nuclear lifecycle in our core markets of Canada, the US, and the UK, and beyond,” commented Ian L. Edwards, President and Chief Executive Officer, SNC-Lavalin. “Delivering on our purpose to engineer a better future for our planet and its people means we must be a key partner, facilitator, and enabler of a net zero carbon future. It’s a future that’s expected to require $125 trillion in investment over the next 30 years, including in energy like decarbonized, zero-emissions nuclear power. Guided by our blueprint for Engineering Net Zero, we’re committed to helping communities worldwide embark on this transformational journey.”
Since 2003, the CANDU® reactors at Qinshan have provided decarbonized power to metropolises like Shanghai, and improved air quality by avoiding the release of harmful pollutants from fossil fuel plants. As the original equipment manufacturer and steward of CANDU® technology worldwide, SNC-Lavalin was a member of the project team who originally constructed the reactors.
At present, the two reactors are approaching the end of their initial 30-year design life. TQNPC is undertaking a program to refurbish the reactors and associated fuel channels. The refurbishment will allow the CANDU® units to continue producing clean, reliable, and decarbonized power for double their original lifespan.
Assisting TQNPC ahead of the refurbishment work, phase one of SNC-Lavalin’s mandate has involved producing engineering input planning, a retube preparation plan, auxiliary services design, and a scope summary for phase two of the work. Started in 2021, phase one work remains on budget and on schedule, and is nearly completed.
Phase two of the work will see SNC-Lavalin produce technical specifications and renderings for key reactor components and provide services to assist TQNPC in proceeding with procurement activities associated with the reactor refurbishment. Phase two will allow critical preparatory engineering work associated with the refurbishment to proceed early, while permitting the remaining work to be more accurately scoped. This will allow TQNPC to better plan for the conclusive stage of life extension work, while minimizing disruptions. Phase two work will begin this year and be completed in 2024.
“SNC-Lavalin has a track record of success and a level of expertise with this technology that is truly unmatched,” said Joe St. Julian, President, Nuclear, SNC-Lavalin. “We are the only company to have successfully undertaken multiple reactor life extension projects on CANDU® reactors across Canada and around the world— including in South Korea and Argentina. We remain the called-upon leaders in our field for life extension work, in addition to our expertise across the whole nuclear lifecycle. Our capabilities span design and new build, asset management, late life management, as well as decommissioning and waste management.”
Qinshan’s refurbishment program is the latest in a series of successful CANDU® reactor life-extensions SNC-Lavalin has carried out. Significant operational experience from these past projects across system engineering, tooling design and supply (including possessing a proprietary fleet of field-proven CANDU tooling systems), training, and field execution are leveraged to optimize outcomes at each successive refurbishment. SNC-Lavalin is currently working on life-extension projects at the Bruce Power and Darlington nuclear generating stations in Canada.
Qinshan’s reactors came into service on schedule and on budget— as is the case for the last seven CANDU® units built by SNC-Lavalin. They remain two of the best performing reactors in China. The traditional fuel for CANDU® reactors is unenriched uranium. But CANDU® technology’s flexibility allows it to safely use other feedstock sources with minimal adjustments- including recycled uranium, thorium and mixed oxide fuels. Qinshan’s Phase III has already successfully leveraged this capability, proving a natural uranium equivalent to be successful in one of the existing CANDU® reactors on site.