Our nuclear operating licences

In Canada, nuclear power is highly regulated to ensure it’s used safely and responsibly. A licence is required to construct and operate a nuclear power plant or waste management facility in Canada. For Ontario Power Generation (OPG) to maintain our licences, we must demonstrate that we continue to meet and exceed national safety standards.

CNSC licensing

All nuclear activities in Canada are strictly regulated by the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC); an independent federal regulator.

All OPG nuclear facilities, including the Darlington and Pickering power plants and our three waste management sites, must maintain an operating licence from the CNSC by demonstrating we continuously meet the requirements of the Nuclear Safety and Control Act, applicable regulations and the licence.

How do you become licenced?

Obtaining a licence from the CNSC is a challenging process. A licence is only issued when an applicant:

  • Is deemed qualified, after an extensive review, to carry out the operations as set out in the licence application.
  • Has clearly demonstrated that they will protect the health and safety of the public and the environment.
  • Has clearly demonstrated that they will maintain national security.
  • Has confirmed that they will adhere to all international obligations which Canada has agreed to.

CNSC staff work onsite doing daily field inspections, attending OPG meetings and are embedded in station operations to monitor ongoing activities, and ensure we are meeting licence requirements. We maintain open and transparent communication with the CNSC in order to demonstrate our continued commitment to public safety.

Our licences

Learn more about our current operating licences across all of our facilities. 

Status:  Currently, Darlington Nuclear is undergoing a multi-year refurbishment to safely extend operations for another 30 years. Learn more about the Darlington Refurbishment project.

Licenced valid from:  Jan. 1, 2016 to Nov. 30, 2025

Updates:  OPG has submitted a request to the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission for a Darlington Nuclear Licence Amendment for the purposes of permitting production of the isotope Cobalt-60 (Co-60). Cobalt-60 is a radioisotope that has a range of beneficial industrial, medical and food processing applications and is harvested during planned outages from the irradiated reactor components.

OPG has submitted a request to the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission for a Darlington Nuclear Licence Amendment for the purpose of permitting production of the isotope Molybdenum-99. Related documents include:

To read more about our current Darlington licences, visit the OPG Document Archive.

Status: The current Pickering Nuclear Generating Station (NGS) operating licence includes operations to the end of 2024, followed by safe storage activities ending in 2028.

In 2018, OPG was granted a 10-year power reactor operating licence (PROL) for Pickering NGS for the period of Aug. 31, 2018 to Aug. 31, 2028. As documented in the Record of Decision, the Commission directed OPG to present a mid-term update on its licensed activities at the Pickering NGS, around the mid-point of the 10-year licence period and no later than 2023. This update was presented to the Commission in a public hearing on Dec. 13, 2023.

OPG has submitted a Licence Amendment Application to the CNSC which requests Commission authorization to operate Pickering NGS Units 5 to 8 to the end of December 2026. The application includes an amendment to the Periodic Safety Review.

Learn more about Pickering’s operations or read our Environmental and Performance reports.

Licenced valid from:  Sept. 1, 2018 to Aug. 31, 2028

Periodic Safety Review (PSR)
PSR2-B is a reassessment of the results of the PSR2, which was completed in support of the 2018 re-licensing of Pickering NGS.  PSR2-B assesses the continued operations of Pickering NGS Units 5 to 8 to the end of 2026. PSR2-B confirmed that the design and operation of structures, systems, and components (SSCs) supports the safe commercial operations of Pickering NGS Units 5 to 8 to the end of 2026. Pickering NGS is committed to continuous improvement in safety and has robust comprehensive programs in place that are aligned with industry best practices for ensuring the condition of SSCs are well understood and well maintained.

CNSC Notice of Public Hearing
The CNSC will conduct a public hearing on OPG’s request to operate Pickering NGS Units 5 to 8 to the end of December 2026.

Date: The week of June 17, 2024 (number of days to be determined)
Place: To be determined (in the community in the vicinity of the Pickering NGS and/or virtually via Zoom)
Time: As set by the agenda published prior to the hearing date.

CNSC Offers Participant Funding
Through its Participant Funding Program, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) is offering funding to assist members of the public, Indigenous Nations and communities and other stakeholders in participating in the licence amendment application review and Commission hearing process for OPG’s request for authorization to operate Pickering Nuclear Generating Station’s Units 5 to 8 to 2026.

Participant funding totalling $100,000 is being offered for the provision of new, distinctive and valuable information, through informed and topic-specific interventions to the CNSC.

The deadline for submitting a completed participant funding application form to the CNSC is Oct. 2, 2023.

Previous licence documents:

The Pickering NGS mid-term update was presented to the Commission on Dec. 13, 2023.

Commission authorization was granted for a change to Pickering NGS’s licensing basis to submit the application by June 30, 2023.

To read more about our Pickering licences, visit the OPG Document Archive.

Status: The Nuclear Sustainability Services - Western Waste Management Facility (NSS-WWMF) currently holds a ten-year operating licence.

Licenced valid from:  June 1, 2017 to May 31, 2027

To read more about our current NSS Western Facility licence, visit the OPG Document Archive.

Status: The Nuclear Sustainability Services - Darlington Waste Management Facility (NSS-DWMF) currently holds a ten-year operating licence.

Licence valid from: May 1, 2023 to April 30, 2033 

Related documents:

Status: The Nuclear Sustainability Services - Pickering Waste Management Facility (NSS-PWMF) currently holds a ten-year operating licence.

Licence valid from:  April 1, 2018 to August 31, 2028

Updates: OPG has submitted a licence amendment application to the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) which requests Commission authorization to include the processing and storage of younger than 10-year cooled fuel from the Pickering Nuclear Generating Station at the Pickering Waste Management Facility.

In May 2024, the CNSC will conduct a hearing in writing on OPG’s application to change the licensing basis for the Pickering Waste Management Facility.

To read more about our NSS-PWMF licence, visit the OPG Document Archive.

Keeping the Public Informed
Download PDF (386KB) - English
Report Highlights:
  • Contact: Jennifer Knox,
  • Director - Nuclear Stakeholder Relations
  • Questions? Use the form below

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