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Thursday, April 18, 2024 | Back issues
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Greens Challenge Canadian Nuke Plant

TORONTO (CN) - Canada rubber-stamped an environmental assessment plan to refurbish one of the country's largest nuclear power plants, giving it permission to operate until 2055, Greenpeace claims in Federal Court.

Greenpeace Canada, the Canadian Environmental Law Association, Lake Ontario Waterkeeper and Northwatch sued Canada's attorney general, the minister of fisheries, and Ontario Power Generation, which operates the Darlington Nuclear Generating Station.

The environmentalists claim the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission's approval violated the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act.

Canada plans to let the nuclear plant about 40 miles outside Toronto generate power until 2055, but its reactors won't be shut down until 2085, according to the complaint. "(H)owever, the radioactive wastes resulting from the overall project will continue to exist, and have to be safely managed, for thousands of years," the complaint states.

Ontario Power Generation needs permission to operate from the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans and the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission. During public hearings, the plaintiffs claim their input was restricted to just 10 minutes for each matter at issue, including the power plant project and two related pending applications filed by Ontario Power.

They dispute the commission's March 13 ruling that the plant is "'not likely to cause significant adverse environmental effects."'

They claim the commission "incorrectly or unreasonably construed the legal requirements" of Canadian environmental law, ignored the potential harm from accidents or malfunctions, and failed to consider "the direct and cumulative environmental effects of OPG's project."

"In the absence of such critical information, the screening [environmental assessment] cannot be considered 'complete' or 'compliant' with [Canadian Environmental Assessment Act] requirements, as erroneously claimed in the [Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission] decision," the complaint states.

The groups want the court to declare the applications incomplete.

They are represented by Theresa A. McClenaghan and Justin Duncan in Toronto.

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