Safety was the key consideration that guided the design and construction of this station. The CANDU® system includes several ways to safely shut down our reactors and, in the unlikely event of a serious incident; the multiple barrier safety system will prevent any harmful release of radiation.
Pickering Nuclear is licensed by the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, which regulates the use of nuclear energy and materials to protect health, safety, security and the environment through the Nuclear Safety and Control Act. In addition, the station is subject to other federal and provincial government safety and environmental regulations such as the Environmental Protection Act and the Planning Act. Pickering meets or surpasses all the prescribed regulations.
The eight 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.
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.
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.