The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) has given Ontario Power Generation’s (OPG) Pickering and Darlington nuclear power stations its highest possible safety ratings. The 2015 Nuclear Safety Report gave Pickering Nuclear its best ever rating of "Fully Satisfactory," while Darlington Nuclear also achieved the highest standard of "Fully Satisfactory" for the seventh year in a row. Combined, the plants provide about 30 per cent of the electricity used in Ontario.
"Providing clean energy while protecting the environment, the public and our staff is our priority,” said Glenn Jager, OPG’s Nuclear President and Chief Nuclear Officer. “It’s paramount we operate our nuclear facilities safely, and this 2015 assessment validates OPG’s commitment to a culture of safety.”
Darlington Nuclear’s “Fully Satisfactory” rating for the seventh year in a row is the strongest continuous performance by any Canadian nuclear power plant. This was supported by the World Association of Nuclear Operators this past June, when they maintained the station’s standing among the top performing nuclear power plants in the world.
In January of this year, OPG and the Minister of Energy announced a $12.8 billion investment in refurbishing the Darlington Nuclear Generating Station. The refurbishment of the first of four units will begin this October. As Canada’s largest clean power project, it will preserve about 3,000 jobs and provide 30-plus years of clean, reliable base load power at a cost lower than other alternatives considered.
At that time the company and the Minister also announced plans to continue operation of Pickering Nuclear until 2024 to ensure a reliable, clean source of base load electricity during refurbishment. Extensive studies have shown Pickering can operate reliably and safely to 2024 and that doing so would avoid eight million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions released into the atmosphere, which is the equivalent to taking 490,000 cars off Ontario roads. Continued operations will save consumers $600 million dollars and protect 4,500 jobs in Durham Region.
Both projects have strong support. Recent polling indicates 75 per cent of Ontarians support the refurbishment of Darlington, with 80 per cent supporting the Pickering extension. OPG provides about half the power Ontario relies on at a cost that is 40 per cent less than othergenerators. The electricity we produce is more than 99 per cent free of greenhouse gas emissions.