Case Studies

Darlington Nuclear Generating Station Refurbishment

Category: Project Oversight
Industry: Energy
Client Type: Utility
Owner: Ontario Power Generation
Location: Clarington, Ontario, Canada
Service Provided: Project Oversight
The Project:

The Darlington Nuclear Generating Station is the largest power plant in Ontario, meeting approximately 20 percent of Ontario’s electricity needs and generating enough power to serve two million people. Since it began operation in the early 1990’s, the Darlington station has been recognized as one of the best-run plants in the world, with a strong record of safety and environmental performance. To ensure the plant continues to safely serve the energy needs of Ontario for at least another 30 years, the station is undergoing a planned mid-life refurbishment. The overhaul will occur in phases, refurbishing each of the station’s four nuclear reactors spanning nearly a decade beginning in 2016.

The Issue:

Mega projects are inherently risky endeavors that often experience significant delays and cost increases. Additionally, nuclear power plant refurbishment projects are some of the most complex efforts in the energy or utility industry, requiring the coordination of hundreds of workers and large equipment in very limited space, with much of the work performed in radioactive environments.

The Solution:

To support Ontario Power Generation (OPG) in managing the complexities of this large capital project, Modus Strategic Solutions, Inc., in partnership with Burns & McDonnell, has been engaged by the OPG Board of Directors to provide independent and comprehensive project oversight beginning with the definition and planning phases of the project. The OPG Board recognizes the importance of third-party oversight to ensure strong project practices and controls systems and understands the value Modus can bring to the project through lessons learned from other large capital projects and the ability to benchmark the Darlington project against industry standards. As part of our independent and comprehensive project oversight services, we apply a critical lens on areas where issues may develop, allowing project teams and the OPG Board to make timely decisions to support project success.

Modus experts also provide day-to-day mentoring of the project team and identify risks in “real time” as well as serving as a sounding board to executive management regarding project issues, mitigation strategies and recommendations for improvement. The basis for our support of the Darlington refurbishment project is a clear perspective gained through unrivaled industry expertise. A cooperative approach and engagement at all levels of the organization ensures our recommendations are well founded and widely accepted. Modus’s project oversight services provided to support the success of the Darlington Nuclear Station refurbishment include:

  • Assessment of the project management processes and approach leading to improved scope definition, cost estimates and schedules
  • Implementation of improved contractor management to strengthen collaboration, front-end planning and provide real-time feedback to improve performance
  • Review of the project team and organization leading to a re-alignment to address appropriate levels of management control, staff training and development
  • Evaluation of project controls systems resulting in enhancements to the systems, processes, and methodologies for calculating progress and earned value