The first new nuclear power plant to be built in Canada in decades is slated for review beginning next Monday.
Lake Ontario Waterkeeper, other NGOs, members of the nuclear industry, and government departments have been preparing for the hearing for years. Waterkeeper's research focuses on cooling water systems and impacts on fish habitat: the kinds of impacts a nuclear power plant has on the environment during its day-to-day operations.
OPG's written proposition is so vague and so incomplete that it is virtually impossible to predict all of the environmental impacts of the new Darlington Nuclear Power Plant. OPG does not yet know, for example, which type of reactor or cooling water system it will build.
Waterkeeper's experts have identified a lengthy list of decisions, information, and data that are not included in OPG's plan. On the first day of the hearing, Waterkeeper will ask the review panel if the hearing can continue without this important information. If the hearing does proceed as scheduled, we will present our scientific analysis on Monday, March 28, 2011.
Numerous media reports speculate that recent events in Japan may dampen enthusiasm for nuclear power. We expect that intervenors and media will be asking questions about the future of nuclear power in Canada and the potential risks it poses. Concerns about safety and emergency preparedness will likely be foremost in many people's minds as the Joint Review Panel convenes Canada's first environmental assessment hearing of a new nuclear power plant.