September 23rd, 2011: Lake Ontario Waterkeeper, Greenpeace Canada, Canadian Environmental Law Association, Northwatch, and Ecojustice have asked a federal court to stop government agencies from approving construction of new nuclear reactors at Darlington until an environmental assessment is fully completed and shows the project won’t negatively impact the environment or human health as required by law. Read the press release here. Read the Notice of Application for judicial review here.
May 17th, 2011: Lake Ontario Waterkeeper makes final submission to the Joint Review Panel regarding the Darlington New Nuclear Hearing. Read our full submission here.
March 21, 2011: Lake Ontario Waterkeeper requests temporary adjournment
Citing the unfolding nuclear crisis in Japan as well as a lack of a detailed plans, Lake Ontario Waterkeeper and other intervenors had asked that the three-week hearing be rescheduled for a future date.
March 14, 2011: Lake Ontario Waterkeeper's Notice of a Preliminary Issue
Lake Ontario Waterkeeper provided written notice to the Joint Review Panel that we will raise one issue during the session reserved for preliminary issues on Monday afternoon. LOW submits that this Panel has insufficient information on which to base an environmental assessment decision. LOW’s review of the material provided by OPG revealed significant and fundamental gaps in the environmental impact assessment. We cited case law confirming that the applicant for a permit or approval (in this case, OPG) must provide the decision-maker (the Joint Review Panel) with sufficient information to enable the decision-maker to reach a decision. This has not happened.
The information missing from the environmental assessment analysis is incredibly important, including the choice of reactors that will be built at the nuclear power plant and the choice of cooling water system that will be used to cool the nuclear reactors. These issues represented significant environmental issues prior to the nuclear crisis currently unfolding in Japan.
As a charity participating in the Darlington Hearing in the public interest, Lake Ontario Waterkeeper submits the following:
Darlington New Nuclear Power Plant would be a major development on the shore of a precious, threatened lake.
The project will cause significant adverse environmental effects by way of harmful impacts on fish and fish habitat.
Cumulative effects of surrounding land use are incompatible with the proposed plan.
The Environmental Impact Statement is incomplete and does not represent adequate provision for the environment.
Measures to mitigate or avoid significant adverse environmental effects are available but are not considered.
The significant, unmitigated environmental effects resulting from the project cannot be justified.
The project should not be granted a Nuclear Safety and Control Act licence to prepare the site.
Ontario Power Generation will not make adequate provision for the protection of the environment.
Our main concerns with the proposal include cooling water, lake infill, hydrogeology and navigation. Based on the initial findings of our six expert consultants, we propose that Ontario Power Generation's preferred once-through cooling water option has the most damaging impact on Lake Ontario. Infilling 40-hectares of Lake Ontario, as proposed by Ontario Power Generation, has not been justified nor have alternatives been sufficiently considered in the Environmental Impact Statement. In our complete submission, we highlight missing information that is important for a complete hydrogeological review. We also note that restrictions on navigation and the impact to recreational boaters is not considered thoroughly.
In this submission, Lake Ontario Waterkeeper presented a list of suggested Interrogatories for Ontario Power Generation (OPG) with regard to the proposed Darlington New Nuclear Power Plant Project. Lake Ontario Waterkeeper has identified gaps in the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) and Technical Support Documents (TSDs) provided by OPG with the assistance of our retained subject matter experts, including Wilf Ruland, Hydrogeologist, Dr. Peter Henderson, Cooling Water Systems Expert, Doug Howell, Fish Habitat Expert, David Dillenbeck, Aquatic Biologist, and Peter Faye, Energy Systems Consultant.
In this comment, Waterkeeper highlights three primary concerns with the Agreement:
The Agreement is premature
The constitution of the panel is deeply flawed
The process is deeply flawed
These issues threaten the legitimacy of the environmental assessment process and must be addressed before a new draft Agreement is presented to the public and/or signed by the Minister of the Environment.
In this submission we offer a set of twelve specific recommendations that will help alleviate some of the concerns about prematurity, proper delegation of authority, and procedural fairness. Such issues are of paramount importance in a major decision-making process such as the Darlington NNPP project environmental assessment.