Ecojustice Blog – Climate change Posted on March 21, 2013 (updated: March 29, 2017)

Environmental review of new nuclear reactors in Ontario needs a reboot

No nuclear power plant comes without risks. That’s why, six months after the Fukushima meltdown, the people of Ontario deserve to know more about the environmental and health consequences of building up to four new nuclear reactors on the shore of Lake Ontario.

On Aug. 25, 2011, a federal panel released a report identifying large gaps in information and analysis in the Ontario Power Generation’s plan for new reactors at its Darlington site in Clarington, Ont. Despite identifying these gaps and omissions in the proposal, the panel’s report said significant adverse environmental effects from the plant would be unlikely. We disagree.

The panel’s report was flawed because it lacked information needed to properly assess whether people, fish and other aquatic species in Lake Ontario would be protected. Without that information, the report is incomplete and doesn’t offer an informed view of what the true environmental and human health costs of this nuclear project could be.

On Monday, Sept. 12, we asked Canada’s Minister of the Environment Peter Kent and the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission to put the health of Ontarians and the environment first. We need all the relevant information in order for government to make an informed decision. Until the panel has gathered and assessed this information, its report doesn’t meet the requirements of the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act.

Our letter, submitted in partnership with Greenpeace Canada, NorthWatch, Lake Ontario Waterkeeper, the International Institute of Concern for Public Health, Safe and Green Energy and the Canadian Environmental Law Association, also questioned whether or not the panel truly considered safer and greener alternatives to nuclear power.

In light of the gaps and omissions in the panel’s report, we’re asking for precaution. The government should not approve any plan to build new nuclear reactors until the true environmental impacts are known and addressed.

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