The Wynne Government says it wants to keep the aging Pickering Nuclear Plant operating until 2024 — six years after the plant’s current licence expires.
Keeping Pickering’s close to 30-year-old reactors running is a terrible idea for many reasons:
- The Pickering Nuclear Station is Canada’s oldest commercial nuclear generating station — and one of the oldest nuclear stations in the world.
- It is located closer to a major urban centre than any other nuclear generating station in North America.
- It has some of the highest operating costs of any nuclear plant in North America. Closing this white elephant would reduce Ontario’s electricity costs by $900 million per year.
- We don’t need it to keep our lights on — in 2015, Ontario’s total electricity exports exceeded the output of the Pickering Nuclear Station by 6%.
- Pickering’s reactors have a troubled history of performance and safety problems (details here and here), including the worst accident ever at a Canadian commercial nuclear station — a major loss of coolant accident in December 1994.
- The station was built with serious design deficiencies, including shared containment for multiple reactors and inadequate fast shutdown systems.
- Pickering continues to produce highly radioactive waste for which Ontario has no plans or facilities in place for long-term storage. There is currently more than 36,000 tonnes of high level fuel waste in temporary storage at Ontario nuclear stations and this material will need to be secured for thousands of years.