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OPG’s Centre for Canadian Nuclear Sustainability investing in innovation

For decades, OPG’s Pickering Nuclear Generating Station has produced clean electricity safely and reliably, and has been a steady source of life-saving Cobalt-60 medical isotopes.

OPG’s new Centre for Canadian Nuclear Sustainability, located in Pickering.
OPG’s new Centre for Canadian Nuclear Sustainability, located in Pickering.

This proud legacy will pave the path forward for the future of clean energy innovation, as Pickering Nuclear undergoes decommissioning.

OPG’s new Centre for Canadian Nuclear Sustainability (CCNS), also located in Pickering, is gearing up to support this landmark project and help fulfill OPG’s mission to achieve a net-zero economy. The innovation hub will develop and promote sustainability of nuclear power generation throughout its entire lifecycle, while boosting the economy and creating skilled jobs.

In addition to research and development projects already underway, the centre has established a $2-million innovation fund for new R&D projects that will help prepare for decommissioning, as well as advance solutions for minimizing nuclear materials and recycling clean materials.

The ideas, techniques and solutions that come from these projects will help reduce timelines and costs for the decommissioning project, enhance employee safety, reduce radiation exposure and waste, and ensure the safety of the community and environment.

“Since it first went into service, Pickering Nuclear has advanced clean energy innovation and has been a model of safe, reliable nuclear generation for the world,” said Carla Carmichael, OPG’s Vice-President of Decommissioning Strategy. “Now, we’re bringing the same excellence and spirit of innovation to decommissioning nuclear stations that we brought to building and operating them.”

Carla Carmichael, OPG’s Vice-President of Decommissioning Strategy
Carla Carmichael, OPG’s Vice-President of Decommissioning Strategy

Working with industry partner Nuclear Promise X, a nuclear innovation firm, the CCNS put out a Request for Innovative Ideas. The aim is to gather as many ideas from the energy industry, academia, and other stakeholders to create sustainable solutions.

Close to 300 submissions were received. After multiple vendor consultations and review meetings, OPG honed in on a handful of promising ideas set to be publicly revealed over the next few months.

These new ideas will help support decommissioning in a number of key areas, including process optimization, radiation management, nuclear material management, and site restoration. They also have the potential for use across the nuclear industry and could help advance new zero-emission nuclear technologies, like Small Modular Reactors.

“Through these innovative ideas, we want to showcase opportunities that enhance the current decommissioning plan and timeline while striving for sustainability,” said Sabrina Nestor, CCNS Manager.

The Pickering station is set to commence its end of commercial operations in the middle of this decade.

Under the current plan, decommissioning will last for approximately 30 years. The dismantling phase is set to begin around 2050.