10/30/2014 04:01 EDT | Updated 12/30/2014 05:59 EST

Darlington nuclear unveils training facility, calls it unique in the world

CLARINGTON, Ont. - Ontario Power Generation unveiled its new training facility today for the refurbishment of the Darlington nuclear plant, which it says is the first of its kind in the world.

The facility features a life-size model of a nuclear reactor face, and Energy Minister Bob Chiarelli says it will help ensure Darlington's refurbishment is on time and on budget.

OPG Board Chair Bernard Lord says it's hoped the training facility will prevent any surprises during the refurbishment process, and while there are contingencies built into the $10-billion budget, OPG believes the project could come under budget.

Critics doubt the project will come in on budget.

The ministry says this is the first refurbishment project in the world to use a full-scale replica for training — with a mock-up of the reactor vault that is accurate to within 30 millimetres.

OPG president and CEO Tom Mitchell says the refurbishment is expected to provide an additional 30 years of service for the nuclear station.

Public tours of the training facility are being offered Nov. 4, 5 and 8.