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Ontario plans major nuclear refurbishment to meet growing electricity demand

PICKERING, Ont. — Ontario Power Generation is moving ahead with a plan to extend the life of the aging Pickering Nuclear Generating Station by decades, as the province tries to secure more electricity supply in the face of increasing demand.

Energy Minister Todd Smith had asked OPG in 2022 to study the feasibility of refurbishing four of the units at the nuclear plant, which have been operating since the 1980s.

Smith is announcing today that the refurbishment will proceed and that OPG plans on spending $2 billion on engineering and design work for the project expected to be completed in the mid-2030s.

Pickering produces about 14 per cent of the province’s electricity but its current licence to operate the four units in question expires at the end of this year.

OPG has asked the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission to extend that to 2026, but a public hearing for that application has not yet been scheduled.

The nuclear safety commission would also have to approve the refurbishment.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 30, 2024.

The Canadian Press

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