OPG in the Community – January, 2021

Fred Kuntz, Sr. Mgr., Corporate Relations and Projects | Bruce County

Happy New Year:  Ontario Power Generation (OPG) wishes you all the best in 2021.  It’s our sincere hope that COVID-19 vaccinations across Ontario and Grey-Bruce improve this year’s outlook for health and prosperity as soon as possible –  allowing, when public guidelines permit, the safe resumption of normal living.

In the meantime, at the Western Waste Management Facility at the Bruce nuclear site, OPG employees continue to work safely, observing all important protocols such as physical distancing, hand-washing and sanitizing, and wearing masks.  Office staff who are able to work from home are doing so, while field workers needed for essential services are keeping operations running.  Still on track are all projects vital to the continued safe, reliable delivery of electricity to Ontario’s homes, businesses and hospitals.  Together, we will #PowerON.

Moving to Bruce County:  On January 4, OPG’s Jason Van Wart assumed his new position as Vice President of Nuclear Waste Management and Commercial Services.  Originally from News Brunswick, Jason first joined OPG in 2001 and has worked in Engineering, Finance, Inspection and Reactor Innovation, and Commercial Services.

     Helping with a smooth transition is outgoing VP Lise Morton, who last year announced her plan to retire from OPG at the end of February.

In his first message to staff, Jason spoke about his warm connection to the Bruce area.  “I am pleased to say that my family will soon be moving to Bruce County. We already own a house in Southampton, have a long history in the area and look forward to being year-round residents.”

Among his areas of focus, Jason said, will be continued safe and reliable operations, achieving the division’s targets and project milestones, and seeking innovative and efficient ways of doing business.  This includes maintaining a focus on the three Rs – reduce, reuse, recycle – to minimize volumes of stored nuclear materials, aligned with OPG’s over-all plan to protect the environment and address climate change with clean energy.

Around Ontario and beyond:

·  Iron unleashed:  A newly acquired “robot dog” named Spot is turning heads at Pickering Nuclear Generating Station. The four-legged, yellow machine, controlled by a tablet app, inspects hard-to-reach or hazardous areas of the station. Its maker, Boston Dynamics, is working with OPG’s technical team as they train Spot to perform tasks in the most challenging conditions.

·  Eye in the sky:  OPG inspectors are deploying drones to help keep hydroelectric operations in eastern Ontario running safely and reliably.  Certified pilots of OPG’s fleet of 29 drones are busy fulfilling requests for video of hard-to-reach areas, including inside a dewatered unit at R.H. Saunders Generating Station (GS), in Cornwall, to check the underside of turbine blades.

·  Waba win:  Ahead of schedule, OPG completed a project with partners to renew the Waba Dam, a 1,219-metre-long structure supporting the reservoir at Arnprior Generating Station, just west of Ottawa.  The successful project, to raise and reinforce the crest of the 15-metre-tall earth dam, enables 50 more years of safe operation.