Canadian utility Ontario Power Generation (OPG) is to undertake a multi-billion dollar refurbishment of its Darlington nuclear power plant in Toronto, according to press reports.

The 3512 MW plant (pictured) featuring four Candu pressurized heavy water reactors came online in 1993. The refurbishment is designed to extend its life by around 30 years.

Reports said the government has approved the CAD12.8bn ($9bn) refurbishment project with a start date of this autumn for the first reactor. OPG will need to seek government approval before beginning work on each reactor, according to Montreal-based newspaper the Journal-Pioneer.

Quoting “sources familiar with the announcement”, the Journal-Pioneer said the refurbishment project’s budget includes a CAD1.7bn contingency fund designed to cover any cost overruns associated with the work inside the reactor, estimated at CAD4.5bn.

The press reports are in advance of an announcement from OPG expected later today and seen by several news services.