Pickering Nuclear Generating Station
Focus on safety and the environment
The CNSC is committed to protecting the safety of people and the environment. Click below for current environmental and safety performance data for Pickering Nuclear Generating Station.
- CNSC Regulatory Oversight Report for Canadian Nuclear Power Plants
- CNSC Independent Environmental Monitoring Program data
- Federal, provincial and municipal monitoring programs
- Pickering Nuclear Generating Station Environmental Risk Assessment
- Pickering Nuclear Generating Station Periodic Safety Review
Ontario Power Generation (OPG) owns and is licensed to operate the Pickering Nuclear Generating Station (NGS), located in the municipality of Pickering on the north shore of Lake Ontario. The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) has full-time staff onsite who perform inspections to evaluate if operations are safe and to verify compliance with licence conditions. Furthermore, the CNSC employs technical and regulatory specialists at its head office in Ottawa, who perform assessments and evaluations of OPG's compliance with applicable requirements.
In 2017, OPG submitted an application for a 10-year renewal of the Pickering NGS power reactor operating licence, which expires on August 31, 2018. As OPG intends to cease commercial operation of the Pickering NGS on December 31, 2024, the proposed licence period would cover three phases of operational activities: continued commercial operation until December 31, 2024; a stabilization phase (post-shutdown defuelling and dewatering) lasting approximately two to three years; and the beginning of safe storage for six reactor units. The safe storage phase marks the beginning of station decommissioning.
- Plant information
- Periodic safety review
- Environmental risk assessment
- The CNSC's Independent Environmental Monitoring Program
- Fisheries Act authorization
- Participant Funding Program
- Latest CNSC facility-specific announcements
- Latest licensee public disclosures
- Regulatory reporting
- Key topics
Location: Pickering, Ontario
Operator: Ontario Power Generation
Reactor type: CANDU (CANada Deuterium Uranium)
Vendor: Atomic Energy of Canada Limited
Number of units: 8 reactors
Installed capacity: 3,100 MW
Status units 1 and 4: Operating
Status units 2 and 3: Safe storage
Status units 5, 6, 7 and 8: Operating
Licence issued: September 1, 2018
Licence expires: August 31, 2028
Start of commercial operation: Between 1971 and 1973 for Pickering units 1 to 4 and 1983 and 1986 for units 5 to 8
Special containment system: Common vacuum building maintained at negative atmospheric pressure
Licensing documentation: Request a copy of the Pickering licence and licence condition handbook by email
The CNSC requires nuclear power plants to conduct a full-scale emergency exercise every three years to test emergency response plans, decision-making functions, response capabilities and interoperability. The goal is to test the nuclear power plant operator, response agencies, and municipal, provincial and federal government responders’ ability to mitigate the impact of a nuclear accident.
If you live within approximately 10 km of the Pickering Nuclear Generating Station, you will have received information about what to do in the unlikely event of a nuclear accident from OPG. For more information, visit OPG’s Prepare to be Safe.
When you receive this information, read it carefully and store it in an easily accessible place. You can also attend public information sessions held by local authorities and OPG. For more information on nuclear emergency preparedness, consult Durham Region’s nuclear preparedness plan.
As with any emergency, you can prepare your family by:
Periodic safety review
A periodic safety review (PSR) is an international best practice that was adopted by the CNSC in 2015 and described in REGDOC-2.3.3 Periodic Safety Reviews. One major activity of a PSR is to evaluate overall plant safety by integrating reviews of 15 safety factors covering elements related to the plant's design, condition, performance and operation, as well as to organizational and human performance. The PSR assesses the extent to which the Pickering NGS conforms to modern codes and standards, and identifies practicable physical or programmatic modifications to enhance safety until the end of commercial operation planned at the end of 2024.
As part of licensing conditions set out by the CNSC, a PSR is conducted every 10 years at all Canadian nuclear power plants.
As per CNSC REGDOC-2.3.3, the PSR is to be conducted in four phases. Each phase is thoroughly reviewed by CNSC staff before proceeding to the next phase:
- PSR basis document – an agreement between OPG and the CNSC on the scope, depth of the PSR
- Conduct of the safety factor reviews and documentation of the identified findings in 15 safety factor reports
- Analysis of the findings and their integral impact on the plant safety (global assessment report [GAR])
- Preparation of a safety enhancement plan (integrated implementation plan [IIP])
All PSR documents are available through OPG's website.
To request the following CNSC acceptance letters pertaining to PSR, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
|July 2016||Acceptance of Pickering NGS periodic safety review (PSR2) basis document|
|September 2016 to August 2017||CNSC staff review of Pickering NGS periodic safety review (PSR2) safety factors reports|
|February 2018||CNSC staff review of Pickering NGS periodic safety review (PSR2) GAR|
|March 2018||Acceptance of Pickering NGS periodic safety review (PSR2) IIP|
Environmental risk assessment
An environmental risk assessment (ERA) is a systematic process used to identify, quantify and characterize the risk posed by contaminants and physical stressors in the environment to biological receptors, including humans.
The ERA for OPG's Pickering NGS assessed the potential risks to human health and the environment associated with the facility operations in the years leading up to the end of commercial operations.
|April 28, 2017||Environmental risk assessment and Predictive Effects Assessment for Pickering Nuclear Safe Storage|
|August 31, 2017||Environmental risk assessment report for safe storage|
|September 6, 2017||Predictive effects assessment for Pickering nuclear safe storage|
|October 20, 2017||Responses to CNSC and Environment and Climate Change Canada comments on the ERA|
|November 22, 2017||Predictive effects assessment for Pickering nuclear safe storage|
|March 7, 2018||Submission of the revised environmental risk assessment report|
|May 30, 2018||
Submission of the revised environmental risk assessment report
The CNSC's Independent Environmental Monitoring Program
The CNSC has implemented its Independent Environmental Monitoring Program (IEMP) to verify that the public and the environment around licensed nuclear facilities are protected. The IEMP involves taking samples from public areas around the facilities, and measuring and analyzing the amount of radiological (nuclear) and hazardous substances in those samples. CNSC staff collect the samples and send them to the CNSC's state-of-the-art laboratory for testing and analysis. For more information, visit the IEMP Web page.
Since the implementation of the IEMP, the area outside of the Pickering NGS perimeter was sampled in 2014, 2015 and most recently 2017. Results from the sampling campaigns confirm that the public and the environment around the Pickering NGS are safe and that there are no health impacts.
Fisheries Act authorization
CNSC staff continuously review impacts to the environment, including impacts to fish and fish habitat, under the Nuclear Safety and Control Act. The CNSC ensures that its reviews consider the requirements of the revised Fisheries Act, as per a memorandum of understanding with Fisheries and Oceans Canada.
|May 2015||Fisheries and Oceans Canada conducts an investigation and issues a letter to OPG requiring OPG to submit an application for an authorization under paragraph 35(2)(b) of the Fisheries Act. As part of the Pickering NGS Fisheries Act application, OPG proposes an offset project, which once submitted, is deemed to require its own authorization. For this reason OPG has been working with Fisheries and Oceans Canada directly on the submission of a complete Fisheries Act application.|
|July 2017||OPG submits an application to Fisheries and Oceans Canada for authorization under paragraph 35(2) of the Fisheries Act.|
|August 30, 2017||Fisheries and Oceans Canada conducts its review of the application and deems the application incomplete. Outstanding information items include additional details on measures and standards to avoid or mitigate serious harm to fish, residual serious harm to fish after implementation of avoidance and mitigation measures and standards, and additional information on the proposed offsetting plan|
|October 2017||A fisheries offset productivity monitoring workshop is held with OPG, Fisheries and Oceans Canada and CNSC staff, to define appropriate methods to measure and evaluate fisheries productivity at OPG's proposed offset project at the Big Island Wetland.|
|December 2017||OPG submits a revised application for authorization under paragraph 35(2) of the Fisheries Act.|
|January 2, 2018||Fisheries and Oceans Canada notifies OPG that its application is considered complete.|
|January 17, 2018||Fisheries and Oceans Canada issue a Fisheries Act authorization to OPG for the Pickering NGS.|
Participant Funding Program
The CNSC made a total of $100,000 available through its Participant Funding Program (PFP) to assist members of the public, Indigenous groups, and other stakeholders in providing value-added information to the Commission through informed and topic-specific interventions. This funding will be used by stakeholders to review OPG's licence renewal application and other relevant documentation specifically related to the application, and to prepare for and participate in the Commission public hearing.
The public, Indigenous groups and other stakeholders were informed of the availability of participant funding through a series of public communications:
- Posting of the PFP funding announcement on the PFP section of the CNSC website
- News release and email to subscribers
- Online and print advertisements
- Notification by letter to potentially interested Indigenous groups
The deadline for applications was December 1, 2017. A Funding Review Committee (FRC), independent from CNSC staff review the funding applications received, and make recommendations on the allocation of funding to eligible applicants. Based on recommendations from the FRC, the CNSC awards participant funding to recipients, who are required to submit a written intervention and make an oral intervention at the Commission public hearing.
Latest CNSC facility-specific announcements
- August 8, 2018: CNSC renews Ontario Power Generation's Nuclear Power Reactor Operating Licence for the Pickering Nuclear Generating Station
- February 20, 2018: CNSC releases 2017 Independent Environmental Monitoring Program results for the Pickering Nuclear Generating Station site. Results confirm that the public and the environment around the facility are protected
- February 7, 2018: CNSC renews Ontario Power Generation's waste facility operating licence for the Pickering Waste Management Facility
- October 26, 2017: Decision on Ontario Power Generation's request to amend the operating licences for the Darlington and Pickering Nuclear Generating Stations
- September 29, 2017: Notice of public hearing and participant funding offering for the review of OPG's application to renew the operating licence for the Pickering Nuclear Generating Station
- December 12, 2016: CNSC staff present to Pickering City Council on the regulatory oversight for the Pickering Nuclear Generating Station and the upcoming relicensing process
- October and November 2016: CNSC staff make several presentations in the community on the regulatory oversight of the Pickering Nuclear Generating Station
- November 2016: Protocol between Ontario Power Generation and the CNSC for the Pickering Waste Management Facility
- September 29, 2016: CNSC amends OPG’s nuclear power reactor operating licence for the Pickering Nuclear Generating Station
- June 27, 2016: CNSC releases 2014 and 2015 Independent Environmental Monitoring Program results for the Pickering Nuclear Generating Station
- December 18, 2015: CNSC's decision on OPG's application to amend the power reactor operating licence for the Pickering Nuclear Generating Station
- December 8, 2015: Notice of hearing for OPG's application to amend the nuclear power reactor operating licence for the Pickering Nuclear Generating Station
Latest licensee public disclosures
As part of CNSC's regulatory requirements, major licensees must have robust public information and disclosure programs in place. These programs, for nuclear power plants, include a disclosure protocol developed in consultation with community stakeholders.
Most recent disclosure
Visit OPG's website for more information.
- Disclosure Protocol (source: OPG)
- Event Reports-S99 (source: OPG)
- Environmental Reports (source: OPG)
- Regulatory oversight report for Canadian nuclear power plants
- Regulatory Actions
- Most Recent CNSC Power Reactor Status Report (This report is prepared to update Commission members during most public meetings)
- Radiation and Incidence of Cancer around Ontario Nuclear Power Plants from 1990 to 2008 study (the RADICON study)
- Canada's Action Plan in Response to the Nuclear Accident in Japan
- Nuclear Power Plant Safety Systems
- CNSC staff present an update to the Commission on whole-site probabilistic safety assessment (PSA)
- Understanding Nuclear Power Plants: Total Station Blackout (VIDEO)
- Browse Hearing Documents
- Date modified: