Casework: Pickering Nuclear Generating Station Life Extension

Safety concerns and emergency preparedness for a nuclear reactor located closer to a major population centre than anywhere else in the world.

Reactors at the Pickering Nuclear Generating Station (PNGS), located less than 50 km east of Toronto, have a long history of poor performance, multiple accidents, and astronomical cost overruns. Operating licences were set to expire in June of 2013.  In 2012, Ontario Power Generation (OPG) sought a licence renewal for the end of 2020, a date assumed to be beyond the design life of key reactor parts, especially pressure tubes containing nuclear fuel and coolant. Via public hearings held during 2013 and 2014, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) renewed the licence and PNGS was expected to close between 2018 and 2022. A further decision allowed the plant to operate to 2024. However, the Ontario government announced in August of 2020 support for a proposed further operating extension of reactors in the plant until the end of 2024 and 2025. Another CNSC hearing is needed to approve these extensions. Hundreds of people participated in the CNSC hearings during 2013 and 2014 and the issue of the PNGS ultimate closure date is of high public concern. 

Media Releases, Blogs, Video

Legal Submissions and Presentations

CELA and other groups’ concerns with the PNGS life extension included inadequate emergency preparedness, including but not limited to:

  • the lack of properly resourced, sufficiently detailed plans that would address Chernobyl or Fukushima–size accidents
  • a lack of fully functional 3 km and 10 km alerting systems, and
  • studies that ensure realistic evacuation plans in the case of a severe accident with early large release.

 Note that OPG updated the public emergency alert system following the hearings held in 2013 and 2014.