Ontario Power Generation has won regulatory approval to extend the operation of Pickering 5-8 beyond their original design life.
The Pickering station as a whole won a five-year life extension in 2013 (it has been operating as a single six-unit station in 2012).

The intention at the time was to operate the 540 MWe-capacity B-station units until 2020. But a regulatory hold point was added to the licence related to fuel channels, OPG said in its 2013 annual report. It was required to provide results of additional safety assessments in a public meeting to clear the hold point.

That meeting was held on 7 May in Ottawa, according to the Canadian regulator, during which time testimony was given by OPG and 55 intervenors.

As a result, the regulator has authorized Pickering 5-8 reactors to operate beyond 210,000 Equivalent Full Power Hours, up to 247,000 Equivalent Full Power Hours. This figure is computed from the reactors’ cumulative generation times the units’ load factor, and offers an extra 4.22 Equivalent Full Power Years, which, assuming an average lifetime load factor of about 76%, translates into 5.4 years, hence the 2020 date.

To the end of December 2013, which is the latest data available, the equivalent full power hours computed from Nuclear Engineering International’s load factors feature were: 196,659 for Pickering 5, 206,651 for Pickering 6, 198,119 for Pickering 7 and 189,253 for Pickering 8.

The Commission has directed OPG and CNSC staff to update the Commission on a detailed risk improvement plan for the Pickering NGS at the Commission public meeting in August 2014.