On Jan. 11, 2016, following an in-depth cost-benefit analysis of all electricity options in the province, the Wynne Government announced Ontario Power Generation’s (OPG) Pickering nuclear facility would operate until 2024.
While there is currently a lot of commentary in Ontario on energy issues, I’m pleased to share this good news story as it checks all the boxes in providing low-cost, reliable supply, while also supporting jobs, clean air and Cobalt-60 to the global healthcare sector through 2024.
Pickering Nuclear was confirmed to be an important part of Ontario’s energy supply mix, providing 3,100 megawatts of carbon-free electricity 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The Wynne Government reiterated this in the Speech from the Throne in September 2016, while the facility delivered clean, safe and low-cost electricity to Ontario families and businesses.
On price, the operation of Pickering to 2024 will save Ontario electricity customers $600 million by reliably generating clean and low-cost power, 365 days a year.
When it comes to clean air, operating Pickering to 2024 will avoid 17 million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions, thereby contributing to Ontario’s 2020 climate change commitment.
Along with Bruce Power, Pickering will also continue to supply two-thirds of the world’s Cobalt-60 to Ottawa-based Nordion, which uses it to keep hospitals around the world clean and safe through instrument sterilization. Organizations around the world need to solidify the supply of this life-saving isotope over the next eightyears to ensure its availability on the global health care market, and for its other uses, such as tackling the Zika Virus.
The Pickering facility also employs 4,500 people in the Durham/Pickering Region, and generates almost as many jobs in smaller companies across Ontario that support the plant’s operations. These jobs inject billions into Ontario’s economy through the procurement of specialized goods and services. In 2016, Pickering was also awarded a top safety rating by its independent regulator, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission.
We believe the Pickering 2024 decision last year was the right decision and it’s important we get this positive message out, while also setting the record straight with facts.
To show our support for the Pickering Nuclear Generating Station, the Canadian Nuclear Workers Council has launched an online petition to enable the public to let the Ontario Government know that Pickering Nuclear should remain an important player in Ontario’s electricity sector through 2024. Learn more about the benefits of Pickering Nuclear and sign the petition at www.pickering2024.com.
Dave Shier is the National Director of the Canadian Nuclear Workers Council