Keeping the Pickering nuclear plant open until 2024 is good for economy, report says

Keeping the Pickering nuclear plant open until 2024 is good for economy, report says

A new report makes the case for keeping the Pickering operation open another six years. The plant’s first four reactors began operating in 1971. Keeping the Pickering nuclear plant open and operating until 2024 makes economic sense, says a new report sponsored by Ontario Power Generation.

The study, released Tuesday by the Ontario Chamber of Commerce and the Canadian Centre for Economic Analysis, says the move would add a total $12.3 billion to Ontario’s GDP and support 7,600 jobs a year at both the station as well as with suppliers.

The study also touts the lower cost of nuclear power, and that it fits in with the province’s plans to curb carbon emissions.

“The nuclear industry contributes to the Ontario economy by creating jobs, supporting a large-scale supply chain, and stabilizes the production of power contribution to our energy security,” it says.

The Pickering site — which supplies power for 1.5 million homes every day — is responsible for 14 per cent of electricity in the province.

“Based on the results of this study, Pickering’s continued operation to 2024 would be a benefit to Ontario’s economy, it’s climate change goals and the stability of the energy system,” says the report, which also notes the “considerable supply chain jobs” — including those at engineering firms and in tooling systems — as well as for a medical isotope that’s used to sterilize hospital gowns and equipment.

Ontario Power Generation (OPG) has applied to the federal nuclear safety commission to extend operations at Pickering. The site has six reactors, two of which are expected to be shut down in 2022, and the remaining four remain in use until 2024. The first four Pickering reactors began operating in 1971, according to OPG.

The report did not assess safety issues at the ageing plant — though it does note the site has been “positively assessed twice over” — and assumes no service disruptions at the station.


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