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Cheaper to Shut Down Pickering Nuclear Plant Sooner Than Later


A clean air advocacy group is arguing against Ontario Power Generation’s (OPG) plan to extend the life of Canada’s oldest nuclear generating complex, the 45-year-old Pickering station just east of Toronto.

The Pickering plant’s operating licence expires in 2018. OPG wants to keep it running until 2024, then mothball it for three decades to allow the radioactivity of some components to decline, before beginning to decommission the plant.

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But a study for the Ontario Clean Air Alliance shows the province would be better off to close the facility and begin dismantling it as soon as its current licence runs out. Among the advantages, it claims, are some 16,000 person-years of employment in decommissioning the complex’s six reactors, a saving of $800 million to $1.2 billion on dismantling costs, and positioning Ontario to export decommissioning expertise to the world as a growing number of nuclear facilities reach the end of their service lifetime. (Study produced by The Energy Mix subscriber Ralph Torrie)