Non-radioactive ‘plume’ at Pickering Nuclear caused by turbine trip


Published May 21, 2024 at 8:48 am

Pickering Nuclear

The Pickering nuclear station experienced a ‘trip’ on Saturday, with a non-radioactive plume of steam sent skyward as dozens of people enjoying the sunshine at the city’s waterfront watched.

The trip was caused as the turbine for the #4 reactor, in its final years of operation, was decoupled from the grid, which meant the steam driving the turbine was diverted to the atmosphere.

The plume is normal for steam-driven generator loss at any power plant, with the trapped steam safely vented to the atmosphere. The larger-than-normal steam plume is also part of the normal shut-down and start-up process and has no impact on the environment.

But for those in attendance at Pickering’s lakefront Saturday evening, it was a sight worth seeing.

Two of the four reactors at Pickering ‘A’ station have already been decommissioned, while the remaining two reactors – including #4 – are currently in the process of being mothballed. The entire facility will be shut down in 2026 while the four ‘B’ reactors – all built in the 1980s – are being refurbished, a decision announced by the provincial government in late January.

The refurbishment will take at least a decade to complete with the station set to be operating again by the mid-2030s. A similar $12.8 billion refurbishment at the nearby Darlington nuclear station in Clarington is more than halfway finished.



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