CLARINGTON -- Energy was the newsmaker of the year in 2015 for Clarington -- both the Darlington nuclear plant and the Durham York energy-from-waste facility had interesting years.
This fall Ontario Power Generation and the Durham Region health department distributed KI pills to 200,000 homes and businesses within 10 kilometres of the power stations to prevent thyroid cancer if there’s a nuclear accident.
OPG’s request for an unprecedented 13-year extension of its Darlington licence and approval to rebuild and extend the life of reactors garnered major interest at the November Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission hearings. OPG said the long licence period is the safest way to manage refurbishment because it means all four reactor units will be under the same regulations. The CNSC commission announced on Dec. 23 it will grant OPG a 10-year licence, with CNSC staff providing annual regulatory oversight reports and a public meeting after the first reactor unit is refurbished.
Early in the new year, OPG is expected to announce the refurbishment of reactors at Darlington.
While things seem to be moving ahead for Darlington, 2015 was a roller-coaster ride for Clarington’s new energy-from-waste facility.
The Courtice incinerator was scheduled to be fully operational on Dec. 14, 2014 but that didn’t happen.
In the spring, testing showed the boilers were not operating properly.
Testing this fall raised concerns about high dioxin and furan emissions -- the toxic contaminants created in the combustion process. In late November, Covanta, the company that will operate the facility, announced that contaminated test samples had caused faulty readings of high dioxin and furan emissions. Once the foreign compound was removed, the dioxin and furan levels dropped to be within acceptable limits, according to Covanta.
A three-week outage ended in mid-December and both boilers were burning trash and generating electricity by the end of the year.MORE