Ontario seeks to extend Pickering Nuclear plant to 2026, eyes refurbishment: sources

TORONTO — Sources say Ontario is asking to extend the life of the Pickering Nuclear Generating Station by one year.

Energy Minister Todd Smith is set to make the announcement Thursday and sources with knowledge of the plan who are not authorized to speak publicly say the government is also weighing a refurbishment that could see Pickering in service for several more decades, ahead of a looming electricity supply crunch.

The nuclear plant, which accounted for 14 per cent of electricity generation in the province last year, had been set to shut down in 2025.

But the government is now asking Ontario Power Generation to keep the plant going until September 2026, a plan that would still need approval from the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission.

It has also asked OPG to examine whether Pickering is worth refurbishing, a process that can see a plant produce power for another 30 years.

Ontario's Independent Electricity System Operator recently embarked upon medium- and long-term procurements for generation sources to try to address the province's supply needs both as Pickering winds down and as broader electrification takes off, increasing demand.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 28, 2022.

The Canadian Press