Home » Ontario govt supports nuclear power station refurb plan

Ontario govt supports nuclear power station refurb plan

by Mark Cantrell
The government of Ontario, Canada, has backed plans to move forward with the refurbishment of a nuclear power station located in the province,

The government of Ontario, Canada, has backed plans to move forward with the refurbishment of a nuclear power station located in the province,

Ontario Power Generation (OPG) plans to proceed with the next steps to refurbishing the ‘B’ units at Pickering Nuclear Generation Station, which has gained the provincial government’s support.

Once the work is completed, it is said that Pickering would produce a total of 2,000 megawatts (MW) of electricity, equivalent to powering two million homes. This would, it’s said, help to meet an increasing demand from electrification, and fuel the economic growth.

Todd Smith, Ontario’s minister of energy, said:“With global business looking to expand in jurisdictions with reliable, affordable and clean electricity, a refurbished Pickering Nuclear Generating Station would help Ontario compete for and land more game-changing investments.

“The refurbishment of Pickering would create thousands of new jobs and help produce at least another 30 years of safe, reliable and clean electricity to power the next major international investment, the new homes we are building and industries as they grow and electrify.”

OPG will now proceed with the project initiation phase of refurbishment, which is expected to last through to the end of 2024. The government is supporting OPG’s $2bn budget for this phase, which includes engineering and design work as well as securing long-lead components that can require years for manufacturing.

By placing orders in advance with key suppliers, OPG will ensure materials are available when Ontario needs them and help keep costs down.

Peter Bethlenfalvy, member of the provincial parliament (MPP) for Pickering-Uxbridge, said: “With new investments and jobs coming to Ontario and the population growing rapidly, our province needs clean and affordable energy that all communities can rely on.

“To meet this growing electricity demand, we are expanding Ontario’s generation capacity, conducting Canada’s largest clean energy storage procurement, and expanding energy efficiency programs.”

Based on OPG’s preliminary schedule, the refurbishment of Pickering Nuclear Generation Station is anticipated to be completed by the mid-2030s.

High expectations

According to independent preliminary analysis by the Conference Board of Canada, the refurbishment of Pickering is expected to increase Ontario’s GDP by $19.4bn over the 11-year project period.

The project is also expected to create about 11,000 jobs per year, supporting a growing labour force across the province through existing and new good-paying jobs in the nuclear and supporting industries. Post-refurbishment operation of the facility would also create and sustain about 6,410 Ontario jobs per year for “decades to come”, it is claimed.

Ken Hartwick, OPG’s president and chief executive, said: “[This] announcement is a testament to the highly skilled Pickering nuclear team, whose focus on safety and performance allows the station to reliably power the equivalent of more than two million Ontario homes.

“Our experience refurbishing Darlington, a highly complex project that remains on time and on budget, will be invaluable as we begin the work necessary so Pickering can continue to help meet the growing electricity demands of this thriving province for another three-plus decades.”

Main image: Pickering Nuclear Plant, Ontario, Canada. Credit: Jason Paris. Creative Commons CC-by-2.0

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