Read our full submission in PDF format here.
Lake Ontario Waterkeeper makes this submission to share our vision of a swimmable, drinkable, fishable lake with the Joint Review Panel. We offer our knowledge and expertise to help ensure that this Panel’s decision reflects and contributes to a healthy, celebrated, and shared Lake Ontario.
The proposed Darlington New Nuclear Power Plant is a major project that will sit on the north shore of Lake Ontario for at least the next 130 years. Lake Ontario’s ecosystem is inundated with historic and ongoing pollution stressors. A source of drinking water, aquatic habitat, and recreation, the importance of the lake necessitates precautionary decision-making.
The Joint Review Panel has two interconnected decisions to make at the end of this hearing, each with serious implications for the health of Lake Ontario. Both decisions hinge on the adverse environmental impacts associated with the project and whether they can, and have, been addressed. Ontario Power Generation bears the onus of proving that the new nuclear power plant will not adversely impact the environment in any way that cannot be mitigated or justified. OPG must prove that it has made, and will continue to make, adequate provision for the protection of the environment. OPG has not discharged this burden.
OPG expresses a preference for once-through cooling, the most destructive cooling technology option available from an ecological perspective. OPG commits to filling in up to 40 hectares of Lake Ontario with excavated soil and rock. OPG fails to provide details on the contaminants that will be emitted from the plant, the regulatory standards that will be applied, or the monitoring plans that will be developed. OPG does not adequately consider the available mitigation measures or alternative means of carrying out the project. OPG does not justify the need for this project.
This project will result in significant adverse environmental effects that will not be mitigated and cannot be justified. The seriousness of the potential impacts, combined with the lack of detailed plans to address those impacts, shows that OPG is not prepared to make adequate provision for the protection of the environment. The project cannot be approved or licenced as planned without causing irreparable harm to Lake Ontario.