Ignite 2018 – OPG Refurbishment Challenge

Completing Canada’s Largest Clean Energy Project Safely, with Quality, On time and On Budget
Ontario Power Generation’s Darlington Nuclear Generating Station is one of Ontario’s most important assets. Since the early 1990s, Darlington has been producing about 20% of the province’s electricity. After thirty years of reliable generation, Darlington now requires a mid-life refurbishment. Refurbishing Darlington will provide 30 more years of safe, clean, reliable baseload power with virtually no greenhouse gas emissions. With a completion timeline spanning 17 years – from 2010 when the project was approved all the way to 2026 when the Refurbishment is expected to be completed, the Darlington Refurbishment Project is a very important infrastructure project for the province of Ontario and it is Canada’s largest clean energy project. For additional details on what the Refurbishment Project is all about, please visit www.opg.com/darlington-refurbishment

We are looking for passionate, hard-working entrepreneurs, start-ups and innovators who want to make an impact in the energy industry and collaborate with the Darlington Refurbishment Project Team. Specifically, we are looking for immediately deployable and near-term solutions that will ensure continued safe work practices and continued improvement in the areas of work planning, work execution and reporting.

For this year’s Ignite, we are looking for solutions to the following challenges:

  • Advanced construction techniques
  • Laser scanning and 3-D mapping technologies
  • Automation, Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Robotics
  • Radiation monitoring and protection. This can include enhancements related, but not limited to, personal protective equipment, shielding materials and remote/real-time radiation monitoring techniques
  • Automated guided vehicles
  • Work planning enhancements such as 4-D scheduling and project planning
  • Real-time reporting tools
  • Communication tools for mega projects
  • Tracking of goods, materials and resources

Details on these challenges can be found below. Keep scrolling for more!

If you think you have an idea that could add to the Darlington Refurbishment Project success, that doesn’t address one of the challenges above, we still encourage you to apply to the Ignite 2018 Refurbishment category.


Challenge Descriptions

Advanced Construction Techniques

Question: “How might advanced construction techniques be employed for the Darlington Refurbishment Project? Which techniques would add the most value in terms of project safety, quality, schedule and cost?”

Background: The term ‘advanced construction technology’ refers to a range of modern techniques and practices that encompass the most recent developments in materials technology, quantity surveying, design procedures, services, facilities management, etc.

The intent of incorporating advanced construction technology into practice is to increase levels of safety and quality, efficiency, sustainability and value for money.

Examples of advanced construction techniques include, but are not limited to:

  • 3D printing
  • Materials
  • Building Information Modeling (BIM) – digital representation of physical and functional characteristics of a facility. A shared knowledge resource for information about a facility forming a reliable basis for decisions during its life-cycle (conception to demolition)
  • Modern Methods of Construction
  • Smart Technology
  • Robotics
  • GPS controlled equipment


Laser Scanning and 3-D Mapping Technologies

Question: “What 3D Mapping and Laser Scanning Technologies are available, or can be developed in the near term, which can be used for the Darlington Refurbishment Project? How might we utilize these technologies and for what applications?”

Background: Within the field of 3D object scanning, laser scanning (LIDAR) is a combination of controlled steering of laser beams with a laser rangefinder. By taking distance measurements from all directions, the scanner is able to quickly capture the surface shape of objects, rooms, buildings and landscapes. This application could be applied to the refurbishment Project and utilized for such purposes as training, engineering modifications in the field, confirmation of measurements and dimensions when used in combination with field walk downs, work planning and space allocation.

Automation, Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Robotics

Question: “How might the Project utilize automation, AI and robotics to improve / reduce / eliminate the need for workers to spend time and radiation dose?”

Background: The Refurbishment Project is very labor-intensive with many repetitive tasks. Additionally, during certain phases of the Project, some areas are not easily accessed by personnel. Because of this we are looking for ways to implement automated equipment and robotic technology to ensure sustained performance in the areas of safety, schedule and quality control. The project is also interested in using these technologies for work automation, training purposes and data analysis. We have implemented an electronic highway within our station and our goal is to leverage apps, tablets, and other modern electronics to improve our day to day work processes.

Radiation Monitoring and Protection Technologies

Question: “How can new technologies be introduced to improve the laborious and dose intensive processes of plant visual inspections and maintenance activities (i.e., the removal of feeder pipes and tubes required for the Refurbishment of a unit)? Do technologies exist to reduce the time, number of personnel, and accumulated dose of these critical Refurbishment activities? Are there enhancements in the field of radiation protection and monitoring related to personal protective equipment, self-contained plastic suits, shielding materials and remote/real-time radiation monitoring techniques?”

Background: An integral step in the Refurbishment Project includes the removal of feeder pipes and tubes. One at a time, these components are removed from the reactor. 960 feeder pipes, 960 end fittings, 480 pressure tubes and 480 calandria tubes. This is a dose intensive step in the Project that requires teams to work adjacent to the reactor face, accumulating dose in the process.

Automated Guided Vehicles

Question: “How might we transport material safely and efficiently into and out of the nuclear reactor vault?”

Background: Throughout the Darlington Refurbishment Project, OPG’s staff and trades are heavily focused on overseeing, implementing and monitoring an incredible number of moving parts. In fact, approximately 70 per cent of the project efforts involve transporting thousands of materials and tools into and out of the nuclear reactor vault.

In order to handle these often massive loads, OPG requires the use of automated guided vehicles (AGVs). These AGVs must have the following abilities:

  • robotic handling to safely increase efficiency and accuracy
  • ability to turn on a dime
  • accurate within millimetres
  • allow for agility in transportation that is critically important in confined spaces, such as the nuclear reactor vault


Work Planning Enhancements such as 4D Scheduling and Project Planning

Question: “What 4D Scheduling and Project Planning tools are available and how can we incorporate them into the Refurbishment Project?”

Background: 4D Scheduling would be beneficial to the Refurbishment Project for the following reasons:

  • Minimised risks and increased safety. Probable risks can be anticipated in advance and eliminated by planning accordingly with safety measures. As an example, the location of all heavy equipment or hoisting and rigging areas can be known at any point on site and hazards can be avoided by scheduling minimum human activity in that area at the same time.
  • Improved planning and scheduling. With a typical 3D/Gantt chart process or conventional project management process, tracking of activities can become cumbersome. A 4D schedule would help to eliminate this ambiguity.
  • Comparison and tracking. Tracking every activity on site is a big challenge, especially for a large infrastructure project such as the Darlington Refurbishment. 4D timeline videos, with sequential animation of all activities occurring on site, with added material tracking options, would make it easier to follow project progression. It would also be a good visual comparison of what was planned in the documents against the work that is actually occuring onsite.
  • Minimised disputes. Workflow clashes for simultaneous inter-disciplinary activities can be easily identified and alternate schedules proposed.


Real Time Reporting Tools

Question: “What available Real Time Reporting Tools can the Refurbishment Project Team implement to more clearly show work burn down rate, task specific resource requirements and commodity tracking?”

Background: When working on a project, it’s important to not get so involved in the work that you forget to keep an eye on the time and how everything else is tracking along. Tools are available, or can be developed, to assist in ensuring that we’re on track to deliver the project within the required timeframe and with the allotted resource requirements.

Communication Tools for Mega Projects

Question: “What new and innovative communication tools are available that the Refurbishment Project Team can implement for further project success?”

Background: There are many things that contribute to the overall success of a project, but one of the most important is good communication. In order to make timely and informed risk-based decisions, an open flow of communication is necessary to ensure a free slow of information back and forth as required. The Refurbishment Project Team is interested in seeing the new and innovative communication tools that we can implement into our daily project activities.

Tracking of Goods, Materials and Resources

Question: “What new and innovative tools are available that will enable the Refurbishment Project Team to better track goods, materials and resources?”

Background: Thousands of tools, equipment, materials and resources are utilized for the Refurbishment project. Do methods exist to easily track and locate these items. Examples of this could include RFID technologies.