Pickering Nuclear Generating Station

Located in Pickering (just east of Toronto), Ontario Power Generation's (OPG's) Pickering Nuclear Generating Station (GS) is one of the largest nuclear stations in the world and has been safely and reliably providing Ontario with power for decades.

Learn more about this world-class facility, which features six operating CANDU® reactors (CANadian Deuterium Uranium), and accounts for approximately 14% of Ontario’s electricity needs, while generating power that is virtually emissions-free.

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Pickering nuclear operations

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megawatts is the total output at Pickering

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jobs protected until 2025

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of Ontario’s electricity is produced at Pickering

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megatonne reduction in CO2 emissions in 2026

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OPG’s commitment to the future

Through ongoing investments and the dedication of our employees who live and work in the community, Pickering Nuclear is seeing its strongest performance ever, including achieving its highest yearly production output and its best equipment reliability ratings.

As Ontario’s other nuclear stations undergo refurbishment, there is a need for additional electricity through to 2026. OPG is seeking the CNSC’s approval through a public hearing process to operate Pickering’s Units 5 - 8 to September 2026, while Units 1 and 4 will cease operations at the end of 2024. The current licence includes operations to the end of 2024, followed by safe storage activities to the end of 2028.

"Avoids equivalent emissions of 643,000 gas-powered cars. Powers 1.5 million homes annually. Protects 4,500 jobs annually. Ensures a stable supply of Cobalt-60, a critical medical isotope."

Beyond 2026

Collage of Pickering Nuclear Generating Station employees and community members representing the generation for generations that the Pickering Refurbisment project will deliver.

Pickering has the opportunity to continue producing safe, reliable energy for Ontario by delivering another world-class refurbishment project for the benefit of generations to come.

With the support of the Province of Ontario, OPG is planning for the refurbishment of Pickering Nuclear’s Units 5 to 8, which will provide many benefits to customers, the economy, and the environment.

None of this would be possible without the support of our neighbours, the residents in the Pickering and Durham communities. We will continue to put our communities first as we continue to generate clean, reliable electricity for the people of Ontario.

Refurbishing Pickering will:

  • Secure more than 2,100 MW of clean, reliable nuclear power for Ontario for another 30-plus years.
  • Power two million homes and businesses across Ontario, safely and reliably.
  • Maintain and secure highly skilled jobs.
  • Create significant economic impact of more than $19 billion over the refurbishment period in Durham Region and across the province.

Frequently asked questions

We know, as Ontario’s other nuclear power plants undergo refurbishment, there will be a need for additional electricity through the summer of 2026. The Minister of Energy asked OPG to review opportunities to make the best use of existing non-emitting assets and reduce reliance on natural gas. In response, we reviewed our proposed shutdown plan for Pickering Nuclear Generating Station and concluded that the facility could continue to safely generate electricity through September 2026.

We would not continue to operate if we could not do so safely.

A previous study has shown Pickering Nuclear Generating Station can run safely beyond 2025. Beyond that, we take hundreds, if not thousands, of measurements daily to validate the integrity of various systems. Every day, we demonstrate our safety through our operations, with CNSC staff on site to ensure we are meeting their rigorous requirements and standards. Our people live and work in Pickering and surrounding communities, and public and environmental safety is more than a top priority; it is part of who we are.

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 CNSC, which employs a rigorous and transparent decision-making process, will make the final decision regarding Pickering’s safe operating life.

Planning for refurbishment has already begun and will take several years to complete. OPG will engage in procurement and pre-requisite activities to ensure we are ready to proceed when planning is complete.

Following shutdown, units will be defueled and dewatered so that refurbishment activities can begin, pending regulatory approval. Start dates will overlap. As units return to service, they will be reconnected to the grid.

Yes, we will shut down all units at the end of 2026 (pending CNSC approval) and put the station into a layup state so that refurbishment activities can begin. 

All four refurbished reactors will be back in service by the mid-2030s.

As the world around us continues to rapidly change, jurisdictions everywhere are acting to secure their energy independence while also addressing the growing impacts of climate change on their communities. Ontario is uniquely positioned to continue to lead the way in climate action and grow our economy because of our diverse electricity system, robust supply chains, and highly skilled workforce. But a growing economy will need a stable supply of more clean power and a reliable grid that can support electrification of other sectors like transportation and heavy industry. As an abundant source of carbon-free electricity that’s available at all times of the day and year, the role of nuclear is more vital than ever.

Nuclear power is the backbone of Ontario’s electricity system, providing approximately 60% of the province’s power.

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Pickering operations chronology

Project Status: UnderwayStart Date: 2022Expected Completion: TBD

Click on 🛈 below to read more information on milestones.

2022
September 2022
Ontario asks OPG to seek CNSC approval to operate Pickering until Sept. 2026
Pickering operations chronology
September 2022
Ontario asks OPG to seek CNSC approval to operate Pickering until Sept. 2026
  • The province asks OPG to see approval from the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) to continue operating Pickering’s Units 5-8 to the end of September 2026 and to conduct a comprehensive technical review on the potential for refurbishing Units 5-8.
December 2022
OPG submits notice of intent
Pickering operations chronology
December 2022
OPG submits notice of intent
  • OPG submitted a notice of intent to the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) to operate Pickering Units 5-8 to September 2026.
Summer 2023
OPG to submit Pickering refurbishment feasibility study
Pickering operations chronology
Summer 2023
OPG to submit Pickering refurbishment feasibility study
  • Submission of the Pickering refurbishment feasibility study to the Ministry of Energy
June 2023
OPG to submit updated licence application to CNSC
Pickering operations chronology
June 2023
OPG to submit updated licence application to CNSC
  • OPG submitted the Licence Amendment Application to the CNSC supporting operating Units 5-8 to 2026.
December 2023
CNSC midterm licence review
Pickering operations chronology
December 2023
CNSC midterm licence review
  • The CNSC conducted a standard midterm licence review.
January 2024
Province of Ontario announces support for Pickering Refurbishment
Pickering operations chronology
January 2024
Province of Ontario announces support for Pickering Refurbishment

The Province of Ontario announced support for Pickering Refurbishment.

April 2024
Intervention requests are due
Pickering operations chronology
April 2024
Intervention requests are due
  • Intervention requests due April 29 for the June public hearing regarding OPG’s licence amendment application.
June 2024
CNSC to hold public hearing to consider Pickering licence application
Pickering operations chronology
June 2024
CNSC to hold public hearing to consider Pickering licence application
  • The CNSC will hold a public hearing to consider the Pickering Nuclear application for operating Pickering Units 5-8 to 2026.
December 2024
Pickering Units 1 and 4 to retire
Pickering operations chronology
December 2024
Pickering Units 1 and 4 to retire
  • Pickering Units 1 and 4 will retire and be placed in safe storage.
2026
Units 5 to 8 shut down and placed into safe storage
Pickering operations chronology
2026
Units 5 to 8 shut down and placed into safe storage

Pending regulatory approval, Units 5 to 8 will be defueled and dewatered so that refurbishment activities can begin.

Two female workers in hard hats consult in front of a large nuclear turbine undergoing refurbishment.

Operating licences.

We require nuclear operating licences from the CNSC to operate our Pickering and Darlington generating stations as well as our nuclear waste management facilities.

Safety is our number #1 priority

For decades, the Pickering Nuclear Generating Station has safely and reliably powered the lives of millions of Ontarians. The men and women who have devoted themselves to the station’s operations have done so with tremendous dedication, a steadfast commitment to meeting rigorous safety requirements and standards, and under the watchful eye of onsite CNSC staff.

Reactor buildings

Pickering reactor buildings are made of heavily reinforced concrete (walls 1.2 metres thick) to enclose the reactors and related equipment and shield personnel from radiation during operation.

Each building contains one reactor and twelve steam generators (boilers).

The reactor consists of a large, heavily shielded vessel or calandria, which contains 380 fuel channels and 4,560 bundles of uranium fuel encased in zircaloy sheathing.

Vacuum building

The vacuum building design is a unique safety feature of CANDU®(CANadian Deuterium Uranium) reactor.

This over 50 metre high cylindrical concrete structure is connected to the reactor buildings by a pressure relief duct.

Maintained at negative atmospheric pressure, any release of radioactive steam from the pressurized systems is sucked into the vacuum building and condensed, thus preventing its release outside the station.

Turbine hall

This huge structure houses the turbines that the station uses to generate electricity. Each hall has 12 low pressure turbines, 4 high pressure turbines and 4 generators.

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Nuclear power plant safety systems

Learn about the nuclear safety systems designed to keep you safe.

Our generating station

An exterior shot of the Pickering Nuclear Information Centre.

Pickering Nuclear visitor centre

1675 Montgomery Park Road
Pickering, Ontario

Open Monday to Friday (excluding holidays)
9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Contact us by phone at 905-837-7272 or complete our Contact Us form for group bookings.

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