2004 July 08
To CBC Radio One News,
A few minutes ago on the 8:30 news on CBC Radio One it was reported that the four Pickering A nuclear reactors were shut down in 1997 "for safety reasons". Please note that this is in contradiction with the independent Andognini review of Ontario's nuclear reactor fleet, commissioned by Ontario Hydro (now Ontario Power Generation) in January 1997 and publicly released on August 13, 1997, which found that "all of the plants were being operated in a manner that meets defined regulations and accepted standards related to nuclear safety". The report was highly critical of Ontario Hydro's managerial and operational procedures, and recommended the recovery to excellence of the utility's nuclear fleet, in a phased approach that required the older units at Pickering A and Bruce A to be temporarily shut down (making seven reactors in total; each station has four units, but Bruce Unit 2 had been in lay-up mode for a while previously). This strategy allowed the remaining 12 reactors to be upgraded within the restrictions of currently available resources (human and financial).
Thus, the four Pickering A reactors were shut down for maintenance reasons, not safety. One outcome of the maintenance overhaul is certainly the avoidance of safety issues down the road, along with a return to efficient operation.