We are a movement comprised of like-minded energy enthusiasts who are concerned about climate change mitigation and the apparent lack of focus on preserving existing ultra-low emissions assets that are already effectively serving that role.
We are advocating for the refurbishment of the four Pickering B units, which were already planned to operate to ~2060 had the original refurbishment proceeded. This will maintain Ontario’s low emissions footprint while allowing us to pursue flexible options to replace gas capacity, such as SMR’s at the Darlington B site.
Refurbishing Pickering will not only result in the hiring of more skilled Ontarians in our trades and manufacturing sectors but it will preserve the existing 4,500 full-time highly skilled employees working at the facility.
Pickering’s proximity to Toronto makes it critical in keeping emissions from power generation in and around the GTA low. At 4.8gCO2/kWh with no reliance on backup gas capacity, this makes CANDU nuclear the lowest emissions generator in the province. If Pickering is allowed to close, that output will be replaced by 490gCO2/kWh natural gas and may ultimately require the construction of new gas capacity in the GTA if transmission from more remote sources proves inadequate.
Based on the price projection for the 6-unit refurbishment at Bruce, we estimate the cost of refurbishing Pickering at around $8.6 billion. This is roughly 1/3rd the price of the originally proposed Darlington B project or less than two years of the current cost to subsidize electricity bills for consumers. This cost could be recouped over a 15 year period using a $0.02/kWh rate rider, yielding a total all-in cost for generation from the facility at less than $0.09/kWh, far lower than the current average consumer rate of $0.128/kWh.
Pickering is the first large-scale commercial nuclear power project in Canada. It was built based on the success of the 200MWe Douglas Point facility which sits on the grounds of what is now the Bruce Nuclear Generating Station near Kincardine. Pickering was constructed instead of a similarly sized (4GW) coal plant. Its location and current capacity means that Pickering can power a large city like Toronto.
Pickering is comprised of 4-packs like Darlington and Bruce. Like Bruce, there are two of these yielding a total of 8 units. Pickering A, which had units 1 and 4 refurbished in the early 2000’s, was a FOK (First Of Kind) design whereas the Pickering B units were based on the then mature CANDU 6 and thus incorporated some design improvements. The Pickering B units have been reliably providing >2GW of electricity to the GTA since 1986 and have never received their mid-life refurbishment.
In 2019 Pickering produced 23.6GWh of electricity, that’s more than double the output of our much larger (~5,000MW) industrial wind fleet, but more importantly, during the high demand summer months Pickering produced 5x the power of industrial wind, which produces out of phase with demand in Ontario and thus has most of its output exported. This means Pickering’s output is crucial in keeping emissions in Ontario some of the lowest in the world during our highest demand periods.