Casework: Darlington Nuclear Generating Station Refurbishment
In 2011, Ontario Power Generation (OPG) sought approval to refurbish the Darlington Nuclear Generating Station (DNGS) in Clarington, Ontario, one of the largest nuclear power plants in North America. The project would refurbish the four DNGS reactors and enable continued operations for approximately 25 to 30 years beyond their original operating lifespan. The OPG’s proposal, at a cost of $8 – $14 billion, was subject to a federal environmental review. In March of 2013, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) and the Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada approved the OPG environmental assessment (EA) of the project. CELA and a number of groups argued that the CNSC’s approval of the EA failed to meet the requirements of the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act because it failed to consider, among other factors:
- the environmental effects of accidents or malfunctions that may occur in connection with the project;
- the potential effects on Lake Ontario’s water quality and fisheries;
- the legal duty to protect the environment and human health, to apply the precautionary principle, and to take actions to promote sustainable development.
Note that the refurbishment approval was granted and the court challenges were unsuccessful. The refurbishment of Darlington 2, begun in October of 2016, was completed in June of 2020. Refurbishment of Darlington 3 is scheduled to begin in late 2020, with completion expected in 2024. Further, work on unit 1 and unit 4 is scheduled for 2022 and 2023 respectively. The entire refurbishment project is scheduled for completion by the end of 2026.