The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) Joint Review Panel (JRP) has said that it will issue a Nuclear Power Reactor Site Preparation License to Ontario Power Generation Inc. (OPG) for its new Darlington nuclear site power plant project for a 10 year period. The license will be valid from August 17th, 2012 to August 17th, 2022.
OPG announced in June that it had signed agreements with Westinghouse and SNC-Lavalin/Candu Energy Inc. to prepare detailed construction plans, schedules and cost estimates for two potential nuclear reactors at the Darlington Nuclear site.
The JRP received and considered submissions from OPG and 264 interveners and 14 government departments during a 17-day public hearing held March 21st to April 8th, 2011.
Established in 2009, the JRP was formed to consider the environmental assessment and the license application to prepare a site for the proposed Darlington project. The JRP has said that the decision is a very important milestone in Canada’s nuclear history and that the Panel is satisfied that OPG meets the requirements of section 24 of the Nuclear Safety and Control Act, that OPG is qualified to carry out the activities that will be permitted under the license and that the health and safety of people and the environment will be protected. The JRP’s environmental assessment which concluded that the project was not likely to cause significant adverse environmental effects, was submitted to the Government of Canada in August 2011. The government agreed with the JRP’s recommendation and authorized the project to proceed to licensing to prepare a site in May 2012.
Authorization for site preparation marked the end of the first step in the multiphase CNSC licensing process that is required for any new nuclear power plant project in Canada. The JRP has directed OPG to prepare a mid-term report on the conduct of the licensed activities and the implementation status of commitments made during the environmental assessment. The next regulatory process step will be the CNSC licensing decision phase to construct a plant, once OPG’s application is submitted.