Red Flags on new Nuclear Project at Darlington
Lake Ontario Waterkeeper and Trustee of Lake Ontario Gord Downie filed our first official submissions on the Darlington New Nuclear Power Plant Project on November 19, 2008. We commented on the draft guidelines for reviewing environmental effects of the project. We also commented on a draft agreement between the federal Minister of the Environment and the President of the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC). Expert reports and a summary of our first public survey results accompanied the submissions.
Agreement between Minister Baird* and Michael Binder
This draft agreement is seriously flawed. If the agreement is signed, the Minister relinquishes much of his authority to Michael Binder and the CNSC. Other decision-makers are excluded, including fisheries and navigation experts. The role of the province is greatly minimized. For these reasons, among others, we recommend that the agreement be re-negotiated and released for public input.
Guidelines for studying environmental impacts
Ontario Power Generation (OPG) must follow these guidelines to develop an environmental impact report that in turn becomes the basis for the environmental assessment hearing. Waterkeeper and our experts recommended, among other things:
- The cooling water system needs to be scrutinized thoroughly. (Cooling water systems suck in cold water from the lake and discharge it back at warm temperatures, with the potential to destroy millions of fish each year.)
- The effects of climate change on Lake Ontario and the surrounding environment must be considered. (Climate change is connected to availability of cold water, algae growth, and fish populations, among other things.)
- A “confidentiality clause” in the guidelines document (and the panel agreement) is too broad. It allows the CNSC, the panel, and possibly OPG to withhold information from the general public about environmental impacts, technology, and other key issues. The clause is broader than what appears to be allowed under the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act.
- The portions of the document copied from a different environmental assessment need to be corrected. (e.g., the draft guidelines referred to “Lake Huron” instead of “Lake Ontario”, and identified the proponent as “Bruce Nuclear” instead of “Ontario Power Generation”.)
At the request of Ontario’s Minister of the Environment, OPG plans to construct and operate four new nuclear reactors in Darlington, Ontario. The CNSC, Fisheries and Oceans, Transport Canada, and Canadian Transportation Agency must all complete an environmental assessment under the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act.
Lake Ontario Waterkeeper’s submissions are the subject of this week’s Living at the Barricades.
Fishy: The Darlington New Build
As part of the future of energy in Ontario, the province plans to build four new nuclear plants at the Darlington facility on the shores of Lake Ontario. This week Mark Mattson and Krystyn Tully look at the Environmental Assessment process surrounding the proposal, and discuss the importance of making the right choices and decisions as early as possible in the proceedings. We’ll also hear from Joseph Boyden, 2008 Scotiabank Giller Book Prize winning author and friend of Lake Ontario Waterkeeper. Joesph was the guest at Waterkeeper’s inaugural Book Club. He took time out of the busy night to speak to Living at the Barricades about his love for Ontario’s north and the reasons for his fall article “Prophecies and Power” that appeared in Macleans Magazine.
Music on this weeks show:
Birds-by Dawn Blythe and Dave Clark
Listen to the show…
- Listen to this week’s show online (right-click to download).
- Subscribe to the Living At the Barricades Podcast via iTunes
- Listen to more from Joseph Boyden’s interview with Lake Ontario Waterkeeper
- Read Joseph’s article “Prophecies and Power” from Macleans Magazine
- Take our Darlington Survey
See Lake Ontario Waterkeeper’s submissions to the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency on our new Darlington Page: www.waterkeeper.ca/darlington.
*The federal Minister of the Environment was John Baird at the time, and his signature would appear on the Joint Review Panel Agreement. The current Environment Minister is Jim Prentice.