PICKERING, ONT. – The Ontario government and Ontario Power Generation (OPG) have announced a plan to proceed with the refurbishing Pickering Nuclear Generating Station’s B units, numbers 5 to 8.
Based on OPG’s preliminary schedule, the refurbishment is anticipated to be completed by the mid-2030s.
OPG will now proceed with the Project Initiation Phase of refurbishment which will last through the end of 2024. The government is funding OPG’s $2 billion budget for the phase which includes engineering and design work as well as securing long-lead components.
The announcement was made Jan. 30 by Minister of Energy Todd Smith.
“With global business looking to expand in jurisdictions with reliable, affordable and clean electricity, a refurbished Pickering Nuclear Generating Station would help Ontario compete for and land more game-changing investments,” said Smith. “The refurbishment of Pickering would create thousands of new jobs and help produce at least another 30 years of safe, reliable and clean electricity to power the next major international investment, the new homes we are building and industries as they grow and electrify.”
The project is also expected to create about 11,000 jobs per year. Post-refurbishment operation of the facility would also create and sustain about 6,410 Ontario jobs per year.
OPG CEO Ken Hartwick commented, “Our experience refurbishing Darlington, a highly complex project that remains on time and on budget, will be invaluable as we begin the work necessary so Pickering can continue to help meet the growing electricity demands of this thriving province for another three-plus decades.”
The Independent Electricity System Operator concluded the Pickering refurbishment would provide better overall ratepayer value in terms of costs and risks, when compared against non-emitting generation alternatives, stated the release.
Ontario will follow a multi-phase approvals process. The refurbishment is also subject to regulatory approval by the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission.
The announcement was welcomed by the Society of United Professionals, the union for 9,000 Ontario professional energy sector workers, which stated that thousands of union jobs will be created.
“Today’s announcement protects good union jobs, and will help our province produce low-cost, emissions-free power as we electrify our economy into the future,” said Michelle Johnston, president of the society. “We’re glad to see the government choosing to refurbish our CANDU reactors, which support a strong, unionized, made-in-Canada supply chain.”