Media Release: Darlington nuclear panel conclusions a stab in the dark

Media Release

Greenpeace and Lake Ontario Waterkeeper have asked federal environment minister Peter Kent to reconvene the panel responsible for reviewing Ontario Power Generation’s proposal to build new reactors at the Darlington nuclear site. The panel must continue to address flaws and omissions in their conclusions that could put Ontarians’ health and pocketbooks at risk.

In a letter sent yesterday to the minister, the groups outlined the flaws, errors and omissions in the panel’s analysis and their potential impact on the environment. The panel should be sent back to work until all the outstanding information is provided by Ontario Power Generation, so that the requirements of the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act can be met.

“It’s only six months after the Fukushima disaster and Canada still hasn’t realized that nuclear power is hazardous to our health and expensive,” said Greenpeace nuclear campaigner Shawn-Patrick Stensil. “Instead of considering safer and cheaper green energy options, we have conclusions in a report that are nothing more than a poorly educated guess that trivializes the potential effects on human and environmental health.”

In their letter, the groups point to serious deficiencies in the panel’s report. There are large gaps in information and analysis and a failure to gather the evidence necessary to assess possible environmental effects. Despite OPG’s failure to determine which reactor design or cooling water technology it will use, the panel’s report concludes that significant adverse environmental effects from the project are unlikely.

Until the 67 gaps identified in the panel report are filled, the government should not allow the project to go ahead. Ecojustice and the Canadian Environmental Law Association are helping the groups to analyze the report and consider whether it complies with the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act.

“You can’t build an addition to your house without submitting detailed plans and yet we’re willing to build multiple nuclear reactors based on an assessment that neglected to identify key information about the project – information needed to determine whether people, fish and other aquatic species in Lake Ontario will be protected,” said Mark Mattson, President of Lake Ontario Waterkeeper.

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For more information:
Richard Lindgren, Canadian Environmental Law Association 613-385-1686
Mark Mattson, President | Lake Ontario Waterkeeper 416-861-1237
Shawn-Patrick Stensil, Nuclear Analyst | Greenpeace 416-884-7053 (English/French)