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New Darlington units given environmental OK
the building of up to four new reactors at the Darlington plant in Ontario has been cleared by an independent panel appointed by the Canadian government. The panel’s final report has concluded that the construction is unlikely to cause adverse environmental effects. The panel took two full years to come to a final decision.
After public hearings and reviews of all supportive documents the panel is now making several recommendations highlighting actions that are required to address potential effects on the environment, health, waste management, emergency preparedness and the consequences of a severe accident, nuclear liability insurance and land use.
However, the report concludes that “the project is not likely to cause significant adverse environmental effects, provided the mitigation measures proposed and commitments made by OPG during the review, and the panel’s recommendations are implemented.”
The federal government will now decide on whether the project may proceed or not. If it rules in favour of the project, the review panel could make a decision on the issuance of a licence for preparatory work to begin at the Darlington site. The reactor technology to be used for the new units has yet to be selected.
The request dates back to 2006, when Ontario Power Generation (OPG) submitted its application to the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC). The four reactors are planned to add up to 4800 MWe of generating capacity to the Darlington plant.
The environmental impat assessment report prepared by OPG predicted that the main impact would come from noise and traffic during construction works. The changes to the shoreline included in the project would somehow affect wildlife, but to a limited extent. As for visual impact, local residents would only see cooling towers. OPG said that impacts from the units would primarily be within three kilometres of the existing four-reactor plant and they could all be managed and mitigated.