Letter to Policymakers

Thank you for reviewing our report, Save Pickering, which makes the case for extending the operating life of the Pickering Nuclear Generating Station. Rather than abandoning this valuable asset, continuing its operation will allow it to bridge emerging gaps in energy supply while preserving high-quality jobs and keeping emissions low. We offer a selection of key points:

 

1. Energy shortfalls threaten Ontario’s “Open for Business” status.

Ontario’s grid operator forecasts energy shortfalls by 2026, made worse by the closure of Pickering, which provides 16% of the province's electricity. Rising electricity demand is already upon us. Major investments by LG and Stellantis, Algoma Steel, and ArcelorMittal could require over 500 megawatts of new, round-the-clock power supply by 2030. The loss of Pickering’s 3,100 megawatts of reliable capacity with no comparable alternatives threatens Ontario's status as a secure investment environment.

2. Refurbishing Pickering Nuclear Generating Station offers the best timeline and cost-efficiency of any large energy project.

Each of Pickering B’s four 500 MW units will cost between $2.2 and $2.5 billion and take 3 to 4 years to refurbish, with the first potentially coming online before 2030. This outpaces Small Modular Reactor development, hydropower construction, and recent solar and wind installation. Additionally, experience at Bruce and Darlington Nuclear Generating Stations shows that costs to ratepayers can remain low during refurbishments. Even with ongoing refurbishments at both of these stations, Ontario’s nuclear fleet makes electricity cheaper than gas, wind, and solar.

 

The current plan to meet energy shortfalls with new and existing gas plants ties us to fuel imports in a world of increasingly volatile and expensive gas prices. Instead, OPG should use its proven refurbishment expertise to refurbish Pickering B, recovering two-thirds of Pickering’s output. Though Pickering A is Ontario’s oldest operating nuclear site, Pickering B is more than a decade younger and the same age as units at Bruce Nuclear Generating Station currently under refurbishment. The use of a licensed site with transmission infrastructure gives the Pickering refurbishment a head start over new projects.

3. Nuclear refurbishments build a lasting legacy of economic, energy, and climate leadership.

In addition to securing years of affordable, clean power, nuclear refurbishments offer an unmatched economic return to the province, with a $1.40 GDP boost for every dollar spent in our highly skilled, 96% domestic nuclear supply chain. OPG’s ongoing refurbishment at Darlington sustains 14,200 high-quality jobs in STEM, manufacturing, and skilled trades, and so would that of Pickering.

4. The informed decision to close or save Pickering Nuclear Generating Station belongs to the Government of Ontario.

Instead of asking OPG if it wants to refurbish Pickering, a question the government-owned company answered 13 years ago, the Government of Ontario must ask what doing the refurbishment will take. While OPG provides unmatched expertise on the material requirements of Pickering’s continued operation, as a corporation it is not accountable to wide-ranging and devastating impacts of the plant’s closure to Ontario’s economy, energy security, and climate targets. 

We urge the Government of Ontario to direct OPG to extend the operating life of Pickering Nuclear Generating Station beyond the planned closure date of 2025, and to re-examine the feasibility of Pickering’s refurbishment.