Should Pickering Nuclear be allowed to operate beyond its license date?

The Pickering Nuclear Station on the Lake Ontario waterfront is the 7th oldest nuclear plants in the world — and the 5th  largest.  Since construction began on Pickering in the 1960s a large urban area has grown up around the station. 2.2 million people live within 30 km of the Pickering station and it is now surrounded by more people than any other nuclear station in North America — approximately double the population surrounding Indian Point reactor in NewYork State which is the next down the list. Leaving this problem plagued nuclear station running for another decade in the heart of our largest urban area makes no sense.

Its license epires in Aug 2018 but Ontario Power generation is planning to seek permission to extend its life to 2024. By then it will be 53 years old - no reactor in the world has operated that long.

It's not as if we need the power - Ontario exports more power than Pickering produces - and its power costs double what the average market price for power in Ontario.

The Ontario Clean Air Alliance has more information and a petition on their website

Sign the petition to close Pickering at the expiration of license in 2018

The Clean Air Alliance has also challenged OPG's intention to simply mothball the plant for 30 years after shutdown before beginning decommissioning and deconstruction. International nuclear agencies now call for immediate decommissioning after shutdown for both safety and financial reasons.

On behalf of Ontario Clean Air Aliance, Torrie Smith Associates looked at the advantages of immediate decommissioning for Pickering.  They found that proceeding immediately would:

  • Create a better economic transition for workers and the surrounding community, including creating 16,000 person years of employment
  • Save $800 million to $1.2 billion on the cost of decommissioning the plant
  • Reduce risks by avoiding the impact of 30 years of further aging on the plant’s systems and materials and by avoiding the creation of significant further amounts of radioactive waste
  • Ensure that knowledgeable staff are still available to assist with understanding the plant’s systems, construction characteristics and modifications
  • Position Ontario as a leader in nuclear decommissioning at a time when hundreds of nuclear plants in North America and Europe are reaching the end of their operational lives

Read the report