Ontario is about to decide whether to overhaul Canada’s oldest nuclear power plant. Does it deserve a second life? – by Matthew McClearn (Globe and Mail – January 22, 2024)


The Pickering Nuclear Generating Station’s dull, mottled-grey concrete domes testify to its more than half a century of faithful service. Lately, its six operating reactors have produced enough electricity to supply 1.5 million people, about one-tenth of Ontario’s total population.

In the coming weeks, Ontario Energy Minister Todd Smith is expected to reveal whether the province will extend the plant’s life. A study last summer from Ontario Power Generation, the station’s owner, examined the feasibility of refurbishing Pickering’s four “B” reactors, commissioned between 1983 and 1986.

OPG has said there’s no technical reason the work can’t proceed. If approved, it would begin in 2028, with the aim of returning the reactors to service in the mid-2030s. The real question is whether it’s worth it.

A firm cost estimate for extending the reactors’ lifespan has not been finalized. Refurbishments under way at OPG’s Darlington nuclear plant in Clarington and Bruce Power’s station in Tiverton have cost between $2-billion and more than $3-billion per reactor. The reactors at Pickering, Canada’s oldest nuclear plant, could cost even more, though their output is relatively small by modern standards.

For the rest of this article: https://www.theglobeandmail.com/business/article-pickering-nuclear-station-extension-deadline/