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CNSC response to a Clean Air Alliance request for interim moratorium on operation of Pickering Nuclear Station

As Secretary of the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, I have been asked by President Velshi to provide the following response to your letter requesting that the Commission “impose an interim moratorium” on the operation of the Pickering Nuclear Generating Station (PNGS).

The Commission sees no basis on which it might reconsider its licensing decision to authorize the operation of the PNGS. In a five-day public hearing in 2018, the Commission considered OPG’s application for continued operation of the PNGS for a proposed 10-year period. The Commission listened to and questioned the scientific and expert evidence presented, including detailed information on the safety of the pressure tubes, and it heard directly from stakeholders, Indigenous groups and the public. The Commission concluded that OPG had demonstrated that it was fully qualified to conduct the PNGS operations in a safe manner, that continued operation of the PNGS until December 2024 would adequately protect the health and safety of people and the environment, and it therefore renewed the operating licence. This is the role that Parliament gave to the Commission, to regulate the nuclear industry for the purpose of ensuring safety.

The CNSC staff continue to monitor and inspect the ongoing conduct of the PNGS operation, and to verify the licensee’s compliance with regulatory and licence requirements. The CNSC staff and the licensee appear regularly before the Commission, and the Commission is kept apprised of the status of the PNGS, as well as all other facilities under its regulatory oversight. At any time, as and when new developments or evidence may arise, they can be brought to the Commission’s attention for its consideration and any appropriate safety-based response.

Your letter, and indeed, the newspaper article to which your letter refers, do not raise any new evidence. As the Commission has no cause to reconsider its licensing decision, or the evidence-based safety analysis on which that decision was made, it will not do so. At the same time, the CNSC continues its regulatory oversight of the safe operation of the PNGS, and I invite you and your members to attend the Commission’s public meetings, where the Commission receives and considers regular updates on the status of operating nuclear power plants, including the PNGS.

We understand that you have shared your letter broadly and invited your members and subscribers to make the same request to the Commission. We would appreciate if you would, in turn, share with your constituents this response to the request, and we thank you in advance for doing so.

Marc Leblanc
Commission Secretary

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