Ecojustice Blog – Climate change, Healthy communities Posted on March 22, 2013 (updated: March 29, 2017)

What Ontario must learn from Fukushima nuclear disaster

Two years after Japan’s nuclear disaster, you still don’t know whether a plan to build new reactors in Ontario will threaten your health or drinking water. Read on to see how we’re working to get you those answers.

Today, Ecojustice is requesting dates for a Federal Court hearing where we’ll challenge the decision to issue approvals for new nuclear reactors plant in Clarington, Ont., on the shores of Lake Ontario. It’s a part of the work we’re doing to protect you from the risks associated with nuclear power.

Why Are We Involved?
A federal environmental assessment on the plan to build new reactors at the Darlington Nuclear Generating Station concluded that there would be no significant adverse effects. But we and our co-counsel from the Canadian Environmental Law Association, and our clients, reviewed the report and found that it failed to properly assess the project’s environmental effects on the surrounding community and Lake Ontario.

What We Don’t Know
What type of reactor will be built;
How or where the nuclear waste will be stored for the thousands of year it will remain toxic; and
Whether the assessment truly considered alternatives to the project, including renewable energy.

Those are just a few of the gaps. Plenty of others questions remain unanswered. We sent our concerns and recommendations to Environment Minister Peter Kent and the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission in September 2011. When our letter went unanswered, we used Canada’s environmental laws to try and prevent construction before a fulsome assessment. We’re asking the Federal Court to judge whether the assessment and licence issued for the plant are illegal.

We’ve partnered with…
Canadian Environmental Law Association
Lake Ontario Waterkeeper

What’s Fukushima Got To Do With Ontario
Today is the second anniversary of Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant disaster when a earthquake and tsunami triggered a nuclear meltdown. The disaster at Fukushima forced 150,000 people from their homes and spewed radioactive pollution into the air and water. Recent estimates peg Japan’s cleanup costs at more than $250 billion. An independent panel found that, although a natural disaster triggered the accident, “the accident was clearly man-made.” It saw collusion between government, the plant operator and, most importantly, the regulator. Instead of ensuring that the plant was operating in a manner that would protect nearby communities, the regulator acted as the nuclear industry’s personal cheerleader.

Two years later, Fukushima reminds us that nuclear power needs multiple levels of accountability and careful planning. By failing to provide proper oversight, government regulators created an atmosphere ripe for a nuclear disaster.

What We Believe
Our governments cannot afford to make the same mistakes as those made in Japan. Precaution must be the priority when it comes to your health and access to safe and clean drinking water. We must learn from Fukushima and ensure that new nuclear reactors don’t jeopardize the Great Lakes and the communities and species that rely on its ecosystems.

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