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Nuclear life extensions steer Ontario towards zero carbon future

Canada’s most populated province is extending the lifespan of the country’s oldest operating nuclear power plant, doubling down on nuclear plant overhauls to pursue green goals.

 Ontario Power Generation (OPG) last month abandoned plans to close the remaining six reactors at its Pickering Nuclear Power Station, opting instead to refurbish four of the units (Pickering B Units 5-8) starting in 2027. Units 1 and 4 will close at the end of this year.
The decision will grant the four 515 MW Canada Deuterium Uranium (CANDU) reactors, built in the seventies and eighties and generating 14% of the province’s electricity, at least another 30 years of life.
“Ontario is already home to one of the cleanest electricity grids in the world and one of the most resilient in large part thanks to the diversity of our energy supply,” Ontario’s Energy Minister Todd Smith said during the Pickering announcement while standing in front of the plant and dozens of union workers.
“Under our plan to power Ontario’s growth, we’ve taken a pragmatic approach that leverages every part of our energy sector to support our growth … But it’s our nuclear stations like the Pickering Nuclear Generation Station behind me that are the workhorses of our grid.”
Despite its age, the plant recorded its second highest generation output as a six-unit station in 2023. In 2022 all six operating units ran simultaneously for 109 consecutive days, a station record.
Extending the life, of existing nuclear plants is the most cost-effective source of low carbon electricity, according to a study, of 243 plants across 24 countries conducted by International Energy Agency (IAE) and the OECD Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA).
Source: Reuters