MONTREAL -- A joint venture between SNC-Lavalin and the Aecon Group has been awarded a $2.75-billion contract to help refurbish the Darlington Nuclear Station east of Toronto.

   The contract was announced Monday after the Ontario government sanctioned the overall $12.8-billion refurbishment beginning this fall designed to extend the life of Darlington's four Candu reactors by another 30 years.

   SNC-Lavalin (TSX:SNC) and Aecon (TSX:ARE) will replace main reactor components.

   Each of the reactors will be taken out of service for about three years apiece until the overall job is completed in about a decade.

   Analyst Sara O'Brien of RBC Capital Markets expects the contract will generate about $138 million in "annual high-margin revenue" for each firm.

   Darlington produces 20 per cent of Ontario's electricity.