Pickering Nuclear Generating Station Life Extension

Collection related to Ontario Power Generation proposals to extend the life of the Pickering Nuclear Generating Station, the oldest nuclear plant in Canada

Pickering Nuclear Generating Station Life Extension

When operating licences for PNGS were to expire on June 30, 2013, OPG submitted its application to the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) for the renewal of the PNGS operating licence for a 5-year period. OPG had decided earlier not to pursue refurbishment of the PNGS for longer term operation.

On July 4 and August 31, 2012, when OPG applied for renewal of the PNGS Power Reactor Operating Licence (PROL) to cease operating the PNGS, it did so for a 5-year period ending in December 2020. As 2020 is beyond the assumed design life of certain operational parts in the PNGS, especially the pressure tubes, OPG was required to demonstrate that the PNGS could be operated safely until the end of 2020. To review OPG’s application and determine the operational safety of the PNGS for the proposed life extension, public hearings were held on February 20, 2013 in Ottawa and from May 29 to 31, 2013 in Pickering.

The CNSC released its decision on August 9, 2013 to renew OPGs PROL for the PNGS - valid to August 31, 2018 but it imposed hold points to review additional safety information from OPG about the ability of the pressure tubes and other components to withstand longer operations. The hold-points were removed at another CNSC hearing held in 2014. It is expected that OPG will shut down the Pickering NGS sometime between 2018 and 2022; if OPG seeks to operate beyond the current license time frame which runs until 2018 another hearing will be needed. Hundreds of people participated in the Pickering CNSC hearings over the last two years and the issue of its ultimate closure date is of very high public concern and import.

Both the Pickering A and Pickering B reactors have a long history of poor performance, multiple accidents and astronomical cost overruns. Some accidents have been very serious; all have been expensive. The PNGS is located in closer proximity to a major population centre than any other nuclear reactor in the world.

CELA and other groups’ have a major concern with the PNGS life extension stems from its inadequate emergency preparedness, which includes but is not limited to the lack of a properly resourced, sufficiently detailed plans that would address Chernobyl or Fukushima–size accidents, a lack of fully functional 3 km and 10 km alerting systems, and studies that ensure realistic evacuation plans in the case of a severe accident with early large release. Below is a collection of information related to the work CELA is doing on this matter.

Media Releases and Blogs

Guest Blog: Too much power? Then why keep Pickering running?
Provincial growth plan and nuclear plans on collision course
Anti-radiation pill distribution should meet international best practices
Nuclear Emergency Planning Exercise at Darlington Message to Public: Trust Us
CELA Commends CNSC for taking time to make its decision on Pickering
Shut Down Pickering Nuclear Station: Theresa McClenaghan talks to us about the importance of nuclear emergency planning and how Ontario is extremely unprepared for any such event.
Aging Pickering Reactors Too Dangerous to Operate