Ontario to extend Pickering nuclear plant life till 2026
Ontario plans to extend the life of the Pickering Nuclear Generating Station by one year and is looking to see if it can refurbish the plant to run for another 30 years to fill an expected energy gap.
Minister Todd Smith, Minister of Energy, unveiled the extension of the plant’s life on the morning of September 29. “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 Minister Smith, “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.”
Continued operations of Pickering Stating will provide a cost-effective option to help meet electricity system needs given the current inflationary and supply chain challenges affecting the world. In addition, extending the plant’s life will protect good-paying jobs for 7,500 workers across Ontario related to the Pickering Nuclear Generating Station.
OPG also emphasized that 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 percent 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 percent.
Further operation of Pickering Nuclear Generating Station beyond September 2026 would require a complete refurbishment. OPG conducted its last feasibility study in 2009. With significant post-Covid economic growth and increasing electrification of industry and transportation, the refurbishment of Pickering Nuclear Generating Station could result in an additional 30 years of reliable, clean, and zero-emissions electricity from the facility.
OPG requires the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) approval 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.
Media ContactChristopher Gully
Vice President, Communications & Member Engagement