Media Release

Environmental Group Demands Rejection of New Nuclear Reactors at the Darlington Site

May 18 2011

Toronto – The Canadian Environmental Law Association (CELA) has filed legal arguments which call for the rejection of the proposal by Ontario Power Generation (OPG) to construct and operate new nuclear reactors at the Darlington site located in the Region of Durham.

CELA’s legal arguments were filed with the Joint Review Panel that was established under federal law to examine the ecological, social and economic impacts of the OPG proposal. In March and April, the Panel held three weeks of public hearings, and CELA and other public interest organizations intervened in opposition to the costly and risk-laden OPG proposal.

“Given the proximity of the Darlington site to large populations, and given the inadequacy of existing and proposed emergency measures, CELA submits that the site is wholly unsuitable for new nuclear reactors. Thus, the Panel should refuse to issue OPG a license to prepare the site under the Nuclear Safety Control Act,” said Theresa McClenaghan, CELA Executive Director and Counsel. “In addition, the lessons from the ongoing Japanese nuclear accident suggest that the Panel must consider – rather than discount or downplay – the potential for severe accidents, with catastrophic consequences, to occur at the Darlington site.”

OPG is seeking approval to build up to four new nuclear reactors at the Darlington site, but Ontario has not yet specified which type of reactor technology will be utilized, nor has Ontario quantified the multi-billion dollar cost of the OPG proposal. It is also unclear whether the high level radioactive waste (i.e. used fuel rods) from the new reactors will be stored at the Darlington site, or at OPG’s proposed (but unapproved) Deep Geologic Repository near Kincardine, Ontario.

“In our opinion, the Environmental Impact Statement prepared by OPG is fundamentally deficient, and does not satisfy the requirements of the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act,” said Richard Lindgren, CELA Counsel. “For example, OPG has not objectively demonstrated that there is an actual need for new nuclear reactors, and OPG has failed to properly examine cheaper, cleaner and safer alternatives, such as hydroelectric, wind and solar facilities.”

Within 90 days of the close of the hearing, the Panel must determine whether approvals should be granted under the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act and the Nuclear Safety Control Act, and must set out its findings in a report to the federal Minister of the Environment.

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CELA’s legal argument is available at www.cela.ca.
For more information, please contact: Theresa McClenaghan, CELA (416-960-2284, ext. 219); Richard Lindgren, CELA (613-385-1686)