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Low and intermediate-level waste storage containers sunk into the ground at a nuclear waste storage facility.

OPG’s long-term commitment

Nuclear power is an important part of Ontario’s energy mix, and an important part of Ontario Power Generation’s fleet. For over 50 years, we have been a world leader and innovator in the industry harnessing the benefits of nuclear energy for the betterment of Ontario.

From decommissioning, to safe storage and waste management, explore OPG’s commitment to Ontario’s long-term economic and environmental goals.

Decommissioning plans

Even the most-reliable and efficient nuclear generating stations must eventually be retired.

Decommissioning is the process of deactivating, dismantling and decontaminating nuclear facilities at the end of their operational lives.

OPG's current decommissioning plans are based on industry proven approaches that have been successfully implemented around the world.

Decommissioning: step by step

  • After a nuclear facility is shut-down, the facility is placed in safe-storage for approximately 30 years.
  • This includes removing fuel and heavy water from the reactors and placing equipment in a safe caretaking state.
  • The facility is monitored for approximately 30 years as radiation levels decline.
  • Used fuel from the wet storage bays is removed and placed in Dry Storage Containers.
  • Temporary storage of used fuel is monitored by OPG and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), until safe transfer to a long-term repository.
  • Following the safe storage period, specially-trained workers remove all radioactive material and dismantle the facility.
  • Remaining structures are then demolished and the site is made available for OPG's reuse.

Dedicated funds for waste management

OPG is responsible for:

  • Management of used nuclear fuel
  • Management of low- and intermediate-level nuclear waste
  • Eventual decommissioning of all of its nuclear facilities, including the stations on lease to Bruce Power, as required by the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission ("CNSC").

We recognize that the cost of long-term nuclear waste management, and the cost of decommissioning, must not be passed on to future generations.

To this end, OPG established the “Nuclear Funds”, including:

  • Used Fuel Segregated Fund (“Used Fuel Fund”), to fund expenditures associated with the management of highly radioactive used nuclear fuel bundles, and
  • Decommissioning Segregated Fund (“Decommissioning Fund”), to fund expenditures associated with nuclear fixed asset removal and the disposal of low- and intermediate-level nuclear waste materials.

Kept custodial accounts segregated from other OPG assets, the Nuclear Funds’ fair value as of Dec. 31, 2018 was $17.4 billion.

Research and international cooperation

Around the world, safe management and disposal of nuclear waste has engaged thousands of scientists and involved billions of dollars in research.

OPG belongs to several international organizations concerned with nuclear waste and has cooperative agreements with many countries that are at the forefront of nuclear waste research and development.

Our network facilitates the exchange of technical information, joint research, development activities and sometimes the exchange of technical staff.