The Society of United Professionals is encouraged by the Ontario government’s support for operating the Pickering Nuclear Generating Station (Pickering) through 2025. The move protects more than 4,000 good Ontario jobs for an additional year.
Ontario Power Generation’s (OPG) operating license for Pickering expires on December 31, 2024. Today’s announcement indicates that the government supports OPG’s application to the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission to operate Pickering B, which has four of the plant’s six units, to the end of 2025. Pickering A’s Unit 1 is scheduled to operate until September 2024, while Unit 4 will run until the end of its current license in December 2024.
“This extension of Pickering B operations is critical for the province and demonstrates the government’s strong commitment to Ontario’s nuclear advantage,” said Society of United Professionals Secretary-Treasurer Michelle Johnston. “Ontario needs Pickering’s clean, reliable and affordable baseload power while major refurbishment projects require some generating units to be offline at Darlington and Bruce Nuclear Generating Stations.”
“Operating Pickering to the end of 2025 also secures more than 4,000 good local jobs at a time of great economic uncertainty due to the COVID-19 global pandemic.”
If Pickering is not extended, Ontario would rely more heavily on carbon dioxide-emitting gas plants while Darlington and Bruce units are offline. Gas plants require far fewer workers to operate and are already responsible for the vast majority of the Ontario energy system’s greenhouse gas emissions. The nuclear supply chain supports communities throughout Ontario while the raw materials for fuel are also mined in Canada. Nuclear power generation does not emit greenhouse gases.
In recent years, OPG undertook work on Pickering A and B to safely extend their lives from 2020 to 2024. Through its members’ expert knowledge of Pickering, the Society is confident that Unit B can be safely extended to 2025 with normal maintenance practices.
The Society of United Professionals represents more than 8,500 professional workers across Ontario, including 3,500 OPG employees. The Society’s OPG members include engineers, supervisors and administrative staff.