Subject: Re: Proposed Refurbishment and Continued Operation of Darlington Nuclear Generating Station
c/o Louise Levert
Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission
280 Slater St., P.O. Box 1046, Ottawa, Ontario K1P 5S9
Dear Commission Members:
I’m writing to express my concerns with Ontario Power Generation’s (OPG) plans to refurbish and keep the Darlington nuclear reactors running until 2055.
I believe the Environmental Assessment report has failed to properly address a number of concerns, which I list below, regarding the continued operation of the Darlington nuclear station.
1. Environmental damage and risks to Lake Ontario.
Darlington’s use of Lake Ontario water for cooling destroys millions of fish, larvae and eggs each year. Between 2006 and 2008, OPG estimates Darlington killed between 15,000 and 26,020 fish as well as 15,631,833 eggs and 1,201,943 larvae.
Darlington is also a major source of thermal and chemical pollution in the lake. The Department of Fisheries and Oceans admitted in 2011 that Darlington’s impact on fish populations, heat pollution and the ongoing release of chemicals contravenes the Fisheries Act. This is unacceptable.
2. Accident Risk and Emergency Planning
OPG clearly considers accidents leading to large radiation releases at Darlington a realistic possibility. Because of this fear, OPG has asked for and received special legislation to limit compensation for victims in the event of a large scale accident.
Significant nuclear accidents are happening around the world about once per decade. Given the catastrophic risks associated with a nuclear accident, especially on the doorstep of Canada’s most populated region, I am deeply concerned about insufficient emergency planning procedures at Darlington.
Government must act to ensure that public safety is prioritized over needs and interests of the nuclear industry.
3. Nuclear Waste Management and Decommissioning
The nuclear industry still has no plan for dealing with nuclear waste. Meanwhile, the amount of dangerous nuclear waste continues to grow. Further complicating this issue is the lack of adequate plans for decommissioning reactors. Solar projects require a decommissioning plan, why don’t nuclear plants require one?
As the risks and costs associated with waste management and decommissioning skyrocket, it is unacceptable to place this burden on our children and future generations.
4. Financial Costs
No nuclear project in Ontario’s history has come in on budget or on time. The existing Darlington reactors were supposed to cost $4 billion, but came in $10 billion over budget.
The estimated cost of rebuilding CANDU reactors has ballooned over the past decade from approximately $800 million per reactor in 2002 to $2.5 billion per reactor today. The recent refurbishment at Bruce nuclear is $2 billion over budget and 3 years behind schedule.
Ontario rate payers are still paying for the debt associated with previous nuclear projects. It is unacceptable and irresponsible that the Ontario government has nothing in place to protect ratepayers or taxpayers from nuclear cost overruns.
The Ontario government should conduct an independent review of nuclear costs or alternatives, before proceeding with the Durlington refurbishment.
I am strongly opposed to OPG’s plans to refurbish and continue to operate the Darlington nuclear reactors until 2055. The risks and costs of nuclear are too high to justify.
More affordable, reliable and safer alternatives to nuclear exist. The Darlington refurbishment should be halted until the need for, alternatives to, and environmental effects of nuclear are fully and independently considered.
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