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Pickering Nuclear

Pickering Nuclear

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An overhead photo of the Pickering Nuclear Generating Station.
Pickering Nuclear

Located on the shores of Lake Ontario just east of Toronto, and nestled in the community of Pickering is one of the world's largest nuclear generating facilities: the Pickering Nuclear Generating Station.

Pickering Nuclear has six operating CANDU® (CANadian Deuterium Uranium) reactors. Together the station has a total output of 3,100 megawatts (MW), enough to serve a city of one and a half million people.

Pickering Nuclear Continued Operation

OPG is planning for the continued operation of the Pickering Nuclear station until 2024. The plan is a direct reflection of the positive Environmental Assessment and Integrated Safety Report, and the strength of the station’s plant condition. Continued operation during this time period will ensure the electricity needs of Ontarians are met during the proposed Darlington and Bruce Nuclear refurbishment period.


""The first four Pickering Nuclear reactors went into service in 1971 and continued to operate safely. In l 1997, these reactors were placed in voluntary lay-up as part of what was then Ontario Hydro's nuclear improvement program. In September 2003, Unit 4 was returned to commercial operation. Unit 1 was returned to commercial operation in November 2005. Units 2 and 3 remain in a safe shutdown state.

""Units 5, 6, 7 and 8 at Pickering Nuclear continue to operate safely since they were brought into service in 1983. They have a combined capacity of approximately 2,100 megawatts.

Reactor buildings

""The four cylindrical structures at Pickering Nuclear are made of heavily reinforced concrete to enclose the reactors and related equipment. Interior concrete walls also shield personnel from radiation during operation. Each building contains one reactor and 12 steam generators (boilers). The reactor consists of a large, heavily shielded vessel or calandria. The calandrias for the Unit 1 and 4 reactors consist of 390 pressure tubes each. The calandrias for the remaining four units consist of 380 pressure tubes each.

Turbine buildings

These two steel frame structures, approximately 382 m long, 54 m wide and 45 m high, each contain four turbine generators and their associated equipment. Each turbine generator has a single shaft rotating at 1,800 rpm.

Vacuum building

This 51 m high cylindrical concrete structure is connected to the eight reactor buildings by a pressure relief duct and is a unique safety feature of the CANDU® system. The vacuum building is maintained at negative atmospheric pressure. Any release of radioactive steam from the pressurized systems would be sucked into the vacuum building, thus preventing its release outside the station.​​