Ontario to spend $1.5bn refurbishing Canada’s third-biggest nuclear plant

The plant is located on the shores of Lake Ontario (JasonParis/CC BY 2.0)
Ontario will refurbish a nuclear power station near Toronto to extend its life by 30 years amid rapid growth in demand for electricity.

Province-owned company Ontario Power Generation (OPG) will start work on reactors five through eight of the Pickering plant this year and complete it by the mid-2030s.

OPG has a budget of US$1.5bn to spend on engineering and design, and to order components that need years to be manufactured.

“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,” Ontario’s energy minister Todd Smith said.

The Pickering station is about 45km east of Toronto.

The province said the project would boost Ontario’s GDP by US$14.4bn over its 11-year duration.

It will also create about 11,000 jobs a year, and about 6,400 after completion.

Pickering dates back to 1971 and is Canada’s third-largest nuclear power plant, with eight CANDU reactors.

Since 2003, two of these have been deactivated. The remaining six produce about 16% of Ontario’s power and employ 3,000 workers.

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