Pickering relicensed to 2028

09 August 2018

The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) yesterday announced its decision to grant a new ten-year operating licence for Ontario Power Generation's (OPG) Pickering plant. The plant is scheduled to operate until the end of 2024.

Pickering (Image: OPG)

OPG applied to the CNSC for a licence renewal for the six-unit plant in August 2017, following the government of Ontario's approval in January 2016 of the plant's continued operation to 2024 to ensure a reliable source of low-carbon electricity while major refurbishment work is under way at OPG's Darlington plant. The first two units - Pickering 1 and 4 - are planned to close in 2020, with units 5-8 closing in 2024. Pickering 2 and 3 have remained in safe shutdown since 1997.

The CNSC said its decision following a two-part public hearing earlier this year was based on OPG's stated intent to cease commercial operations at Pickering on 31 December 2024. This is to be followed by post-shutdown activities and stabilisation work to 2028. The commercial operation of any Pickering reactor unit beyond 2024 would require further authorisation from the Commission, it said.

Pickering's new licence will run from 1 September 2018 to 31 August 2028. The CNSC has also authorised the company to operate units 5-8 up to a maximum of 295,000 equivalent full power hours.

OPG President and CEO Jeff Lyash said the company was "very pleased" with the regulator's decision, which he said would save Ontario's electricity customers up to CAD600 million (USD460 million) and preserve 7500 jobs across the province.

"Today’s decision reflects our continued investment in Pickering to improve its already strong performance, and the dedication of our staff to nuclear safety and ensuring safe and reliable operations to 2024," he said.

Ontario's 18 nuclear units - eight at Bruce, four at Darlington and six at Pickering - provide over 60% of the province's electricity. The four Darlington units are undergoing a multi-year CAD12.8 billion refurbishment with the first unit, Darlington 2, scheduled for completion in 2026. Six of the eight Candu units at Bruce are also to undergo refurbishment in a CAD13 billion programme beginning in 2020.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News