After many efforts by the Power Workers’ Union to fight for the Pickering Nuclear Generating Station to remain open, the current government has confirmed their commitment to keeping the Pickering Nuclear Generating Station open until 2024. This commitment will protect 4,500 local jobs in Durham Region, and an additional 3,000 jobs across the province.
The status of the Pickering station was a highly contested topic in the recent provincial election. The NDP, who will form the official Opposition, came under fire for proposing a plan to start decommissioning the plant this year. The outgoing Liberals had planned to keep it operating until 2024, suggesting that shutting it down this year would risk Ontario’s energy supply, as well as the production of medical isotopes.
The nuclear industry in Ontario supports 60,000 jobs – many of them done by Power Workers’ Union members. The Pickering station is one of the largest nuclear generating facilities in the world, and produces enough power for the equivalent of Hamilton, Waterloo and London, combined. The low-cost energy created at the plant will save Ontario electricity customers $600 million dollars by 2024.
Operating Pickering until 2024 will also avoid 17 million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions, thereby supporting Ontario’s efforts to combat climate change. Along with Bruce Power, Pickering will also continue to supply two-thirds of the world’s Cobalt-60, which hospitals around the world use for instrument sterilization.
The Pickering Nuclear Generating Station’s continued operation will ensure a safe and reliable supply of electricity while other Ontario nuclear plants, Darlington and Bruce Nuclear, undergo refurbishments in the upcoming years.