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. The station has a total output of 3,100 megawatts (MW) which is enough to serve a city of one and a half million people, and about 14 per cent of Ontario’s electricity needs.
The power Pickering generates is safe and reliable, and virtually free of greenhouse gas emissions, so it’s helping Canada meet its climate change targets.
Pickering Nuclear Continued Operation
Pickering is one of Ontario’s most important generating assets. OPG’s technical work shows the station can be safetly operated to 2024 and that doing so would save Ontario electricity customers up to $600 million, avoid eight million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions and protect 4,500 jobs across Durham Region. Plus the operation of Pickering during the Darlington and Bruce Nuclear refurbishments will ensure a safe, reliable supply of electricity.
The plan to extend operation of Pickering to 2024 is a direct reflection of a positive Environmental Assessment, and an Integrated Safety Report, which confirms the safety and strength of the station’s condition. All six units would operate until 2022; two would then shut down, and four would run to 2024. OPG has started work on a licence application for Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission approval in 2018.
Since 2010, more than $200 million has been invested in Pickering, which recently achieved its best operating reliability performance in the station’s history. This strong performance will be vital as the Darlington refurbishment gets underway later this year.
The first four Pickering Nuclear reactors went into service in 1971 and continued to operate safely. In 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, as was Unit 1 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.
Safe and Reliable
Since the early 1970s, Pickering has been producing safe, reliable base load power for Ontario. See the Safety at Pickering page for details on the station’s safety features.