Ontario Supports Plan to Safely Continue Operating the Pickering Nuclear Generating Station
PICKERING - The Ontario government is supporting Ontario Power Generation’s (OPG) continued safe operation of the Pickering Nuclear Generating Station. At the Ontario government’s request, OPG reviewed their operational plans and concluded that the facility could continue to safely generate electricity.
“Keeping Pickering safely operating will provide clean, low-cost, and reliable electricity to support the incredible economic growth and new jobs we’re seeing, while building a healthier Ontario for everyone,” said Todd Smith, Minister of Energy. “Nuclear power has been the safe and reliable backbone of Ontario’s electricity system since the 1970s and our government is working to secure that legacy for the future. Our leadership on Small Modular Reactors and consideration of a refurbishment of Pickering Nuclear Generating Station are critical steps on that path.”
Maintaining operations of Pickering Nuclear Generation Station will also protect good-paying jobs for thousands of workers in the region and across the province. OPG employs approximately 4,500 staff to support ongoing operation at its Pickering Nuclear Generating Station. In total, there are about 7,500 jobs across Ontario related to the Pickering Nuclear Generating Station.
Further operation of Pickering Nuclear Generating Station beyond September 2026 would require a complete refurbishment. The last feasibility study was conducted between 2006 and 2009. With significant economic growth and increasing electrification of industry and transportation, Ontario has asked OPG to update its feasibility assessment for refurbishing Pickering “B” units at the Nuclear Generating Station, based on the latest information, as a prudent due diligence measure to support future electricity planning decisions. Refurbishment of Pickering Nuclear Generating Station could result in an additional 30 years of reliable, clean and zero-emissions electricity from the facility.
“Pickering Nuclear Generating Station has never been stronger in terms of both safety and performance,” said Ken Hartwick, OPG President and CEO. “Due to ongoing investments and the efforts of highly skilled and dedicated employees, Pickering can continue to safely and reliably produce the clean electricity Ontarians need.” Keeping Pickering Nuclear Generating Station operational would ensure Ontario has reliable, clean, and low-cost energy while reducing CO2 emissions by 2.1 megatonnes in 2026. This represents an approximate 20 per cent reduction in projected emissions from the electricity sector in that year, which is the equivalent of taking up to 643,000 cars off the road annually. It would also increase North America’s supply of Cobalt-60, a medical isotope used in cancer treatments and medical equipment sterilization, by about 10 to 20 per cent.
OPG requires approval from the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) for its revised schedule. The CNSC, which employs a rigorous and transparent decision-making process, will make the final decision regarding Pickering’s safe operating life. OPG will continue to ensure the safety of the Pickering facility through rigorous monitoring, inspections, and testing.
Under OPG’s plan, electricity generation at Pickering Nuclear Generating Station would end in 2026 instead of 2025. Pickering “A” units 1 and 4 would operate until 2024, and Pickering “B” units 5 through 8 would operate until September 2026.
Pickering “A” units 1 through 4 came online between 1971 and 1973, and were voluntarily removed from service in 1997. Units 1 and 4 were refurbished and returned to operation in November 2005 and September 2003, respectively. Pickering “B” units 5 through 8 began operating in the 1983-86 period.
The Pickering Nuclear Generating Station currently provides enough power to meet the needs of a city of 1.5 million people.
All units at both Darlington and Bruce Nuclear Generating Stations, Ontario’s other two nuclear facilities, are either scheduled for or have completed refurbishment.
"Pickering Nuclear Generating Station has been at the centre of Ontario’s nuclear fleet for decades, safely providing clean, zero-emissions electricity to power our growing province. I’m pleased our government is continuing to study the future of nuclear power in Pickering, an industry which continues to support good-paying and highly skilled jobs here in Durham."
- Peter Bethlenfalvy MPP for Pickering-Uxbridge
Learn more about Pickering Nuclear Generating Station