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.
OPG is planning for the continued operation of the Pickering Nuclear station until 2020. The estimated cost for the continued operation of units 5, 6, 7 and 8 at Pickering Nuclear is approximately $200 million. (The original $300 million figure provided at the time of the announcement was a conservative estimate that provided an upper bound on the potential costs.) The plan for continued operation of units 5, 6, 7 and 8 at Pickering Nuclear during that time is a direct reflection of the positive EA and ISR 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 Darlington refurbishment period.
In 2006, OPG began undertaking a very thorough analysis of the environmental, safety and economic impacts associated with potentially refurbishing units 5, 6, 7 and 8 at Pickering Nuclear. In early 2009, OPG’s regulator, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC), accepted the Environmental Assessment (EA), citing refurbishment was not likely to cause significant adverse environmental impacts given available mitigation measures.
In September 2009, OPG completed the ISR and submitted the findings to the CNSC. The ISR concluded units 5, 6, 7 and 8 at Pickering Nuclear are operating safely today and can continue to operate safely well into the future.Background
The first four Pickering Nuclear reactors went into service in 1971 and continued to operate safely until 1997 when it was 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.
Pickering Nuclear produces electricity with heat created by nuclear fission using natural uranium fuel.
The heat produced by this reaction is transferred, via a separate heavy water heat transport system to boilers where ordinary water is boiled and the resulting steam is used to drive a turbine generator that produces electricity. This electricity is fed into transmission lines that carry the power from the site to residential, commercial and industrial users. The CANDU technology, developed in Canada, enables Pickering to produce its enormous electrical output by nuclear fission using natural uranium fuel for a whole year with no more fuel than would fill a two car garage.
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. The Pickering station 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 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.
The Turbine Buildings
These two steel frame structures, approximately 382 m (1,255 ft.) long, 54 m (179 ft.) wide and 45 m (148 ft.) 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 (166 ft.) 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.
Pickering Licence Renewal 2013
On Aug. 9, 2013, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission granted OPG a five-year operating licence for the Pickering Nuclear station, following public hearings in the Ottawa and Pickering communities.
- OPG Receives CNSC Decision for Pickering Station Re-Licensing
- Notice of Public Hearing
- OPG Submission for Licence Renewal
- Pickering B Risk Assessment Summary Report
Radiological Environmental Monitoring Program
Potential dose from Pickering Nuclear is far below regulatory limits and natural background radiation. Click below to learn more.
Find out how each of our nuclear stations performed in the first half of 2013.
- Pickering Nuclear Q1
- Pickering Nuclear Q2
- Darlington Nuclear Q1
- Darlington Nuclear Q2
- Nuclear Waste Management Q1
- Nuclear Waste Management Q2
Find out more about all the ways Pickering Nuclear is making a difference in your community.