Darlington new nuclear plans need more work, concludes government panel: 67 recommendations released today
Ontario (August 25, 2011) - A new nuclear power plant can be built in Ontario only if Ontario Power Generation and other government bodies can first satisfy sixty-seven scientific and planning recommendations. This is the conclusion of an official report released today by a government-appointed panel.
Ontario Power Generation (OPG) asked the Canadian government for permission to build up to four new nuclear reactors on the north shore of Lake Ontario. Earlier this year, a three-person Joint Review Panel reviewed OPG's plans during an environmental assessment hearing. Today's report summarizes potential environmental effects from the new nuclear plant and contains a series of recommendations for OPG, Environment Canada, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission and other government bodies.
"The panel's report contradicts itself," says Mark Mattson, President & Waterkeeper at Lake Ontario Waterkeeper. "First it lists all kinds of studies that still need to be done to ensure human and environmental health can be protected. Then it lists a bunch of assumptions that are made - for example that OPG will have a perfect record of compliance or that none of the new studies will uncover any issues whatsoever. Then despite all the missing information and all of the assumptions, the panel somehow jumps to the conclusion that putting a new nuclear power plant on the north shore of Lake Ontario will have no environmental impact. This is an impossible conclusion to reach based on the evidence."
The sixty-seven recommendations contained in the panel's report range from conducting more studies to reviewing Canada's nuclear liability program. They reveal major holes in OPG's plan and show that much more environmental study is needed in order to identify impacts on air, water, fish, soil, and species at risk.
The panel's report now goes to Cabinet for approval. If the Governor in Council approves the new nuclear power plant, then departments such as Fisheries and Ocean, the Nuclear Safety Commission, and Transport Canada can start issuing approvals.
"All of the evidence suggests that it is a bad idea to build more nuclear reactors at that Darlington site. We hope that Cabinet will be the first official body to have the courage to say that aloud," says Mattson.