The Pickering Nuclear Station takes up 600 acres of prime waterfront real estate in the City of Pickering. When North America’s 3rd oldest (and 5th largest) nuclear station closes in 2024, the people of Pickering can revitalize their waterfront – and their community. But that will only happen if Ontario Power Generation (OPG) does the right thing and begins dismantling the 53-year-old plant as soon as it closes.
‘Immediate dismantling’ is strongly recommended by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and has been successfully carried out at a number of closed plants in the United States, France, Germany, Spain and Italy. OPG, however, says it wants to wait 30 years to begin the process of taking apart Pickering, leaving a mothballed hulk on the Pickering waterfront until at least 2064.
Delaying dismantling may be in OPG’s financial interest – allowing it to leave decommissioning funds in the bank – but it certainly is not in the interests of the community. Nor is there any safety justification for such a delay. If OPG can rebuild reactors in operating nuclear stations, it can take apart idled reactors using the same technology. Immediate dismantling also allows current workers to be involved in the decommissioning process and to apply their knowledge of this one-of-a-kind plant. That will not be the case three decades from now.
In the west end of the GTA, Mississauga is well underway with creating a whole new community on the site of what was the Lakeview coal-fired generating station (also an OPG plant). The same sort of community renewal could take place in Pickering if OPG follows the IAEA’s advice and immediately dismantles the Pickering Nuclear Station after closure. For the thousands of people now living around the station, it’s a choice between new green space, neighbourhoods and businesses, or three decades of looking at a desolate concrete shell on their waterfront.
We’re holding a public meeting in Pickering to kick off a community conversation of what could be done with this prime waterfront site. Join us on Tuesday Nov. 19th at the George Ashe Community Centre, 470 Kingston Rd. in Pickering. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. Meeting starts at 7 p.m. Register to attend here. Learn more, share your ideas, join the discussion.
Please pass this message on to your friends and neighbours.
Angela Bischoff, Director
p.s. If you can help distribute leaflets or posters for the event in the Pickering/Ajax area, please let me know.