The Pickering Nuclear Station is Canada’s oldest nuclear generating station. Located closer to a major urban area than any other nuclear station in North America and with reactors that are up to 45 years old, it is time to shut down this aging plant.
Currently, Ontario Power Generation wants the Pickering Plant to simply sit idle for 30 years after shutdown before beginning decommissioning and deconstruction. But international nuclear agencies now call for immediate decommissioning after shutdown for both safety and financial reasons.
On behalf of OCAA Research, Torrie Smith Associates looked at the advantages of immediate decommissioning for Pickering. They found that proceeding immediately would:
- Create a better economic transition for workers and the surrounding community, including creating 16,000 person years of employment
- Save $800 million to $1.2 billion on the cost of decommissioning the plant
- Reduce risks by avoiding the impact of 30 years of further aging on the plant’s systems and materials and by avoiding the creation of significant further amounts of radioactive waste
- Ensure that knowledgeable staff are still available to assist with understanding the plant’s systems, construction characteristics and modifications
- Position Ontario as a leader in nuclear decommissioning at a time when hundreds of nuclear plants in North America and Europe are reaching the end of their operational lives