Safer Interim Storage Background Information
The total radioactivity of the nuclear wastes stored at the Pickering Nuclear Station is 200 times greater than the total radiation released to the atmosphere by the Fukushimaaccident in 2011.
The International Joint Commission’s Great Lakes Water Quality Board is calling for OPG’s nuclear waste storage facilities to be “hardened” and located away from shorelines to avoid them being compromised by flooding and erosion.
According to a report prepared for OPG, the total capital cost of above-ground, attack-resistant, reinforced concrete vaults at the Pickering Nuclear Station would be approximately $333 million. This safer interim storage solution can be fully paid for by OPG’s nuclear waste storage fund, which has a market value of $11.3 billion.
In Germany, six nuclear stations have hardened storage facilities. The concrete walls and roofs of these facilities are 1.2 to 1.3 metres thick.
The Nuclear Waste Management Organization is still decades away from having an operational long-term storage site for high-level nuclear waste, and its plans are opposed by many indigenous communities and organizations in the areas they are considering. This means that a safer interimstorage solution is needed for Pickering’s radioactive nuclear waste.
For more information, please read our report: A Safer Interim Storage Solution for Ontario’s Nuclear Wastes.
Immediate Dismantling Background Information
Ontario Power Generation (OPG) wants to delay the dismantling of the Pickering Nuclear Station for 30 years after it is shut down even though the International Atomic Energy Agency says that immediate dismantling is “the preferred decommissioning strategy” for nuclear plants.
While delaying the station’s dismantling for 30 years is in OPG’s financial self-interest, it is not in the best interests of its workers, the City of Pickering, the Town of Ajax or Ontario’s economy.
Immediate dismantling will allow the existing Pickering Nuclear Station workers, who know this one-of-a-kind station best, to be involved in its dismantling. It will create 16,000 person-years of employment at the Pickering site over the first decade after it is shut down.
Immediate dismantling will also permit most of the 600-acre waterfront site to be returned to the local community by 2035 for parkland, recreational facilities or entertainment.
OPG already has more than enough money in its nuclear decommissioning fund to pay for the immediate dismantling of the Pickering Nuclear Station.
In January 2020, Pickering City Council unanimously passed a resolution calling for the Pickering Nuclear Station to be dismantled as “expeditiously as possible” after it is shut down.
The Pickering Nuclear Station’s operating licence, granted by the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC), expires on December 31, 2024.
On September 29, 2022, OPG announced that is going to seek approval from the CNSC for a two-year extension of its licence.
In addition, Ontario’s Energy Minister Todd Smith announced that the Government of Ontario is considering spending billions of dollars to re-build the Pickering Nuclear Station, potentially locking us into high-cost risky nuclear for another three decades, despite the fact that we have much lower cost options to keep our lights on.
For more information, please read our report: Making the Right Choice for Pickering’s Waterfront.
Ask your candidates for Council what they think of the provincial government’s plans.