Archived - Government of Canada’s Response to the Joint Review Panel Report for the Proposed Darlington New Nuclear Power Plant Project in Clarington Ontario

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Introduction

The Joint Review Panel (JRP or the Panel) for the proposed Darlington New Nuclear Power Plant Project released its Report on August 25, 2011, in which it concluded that the Darlington New Nuclear Power Plant Project (the Project) is not likely to cause significant adverse environmental effects, provided the mitigation measures proposed and commitments made by Ontario Power Generation (OPG) during the review, and the Panel’s recommendations, are implemented.

Those recommendations were directed by the JRP to specific Responsible Authorities (RAs) and Federal Authorities (FAs) with responsibilities or roles in the Project under the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act (CEAA), as well as to the Government of Canada, the Government of Ontario, the Municipality of Clarington and OPG.

This document is the Government of Canada’s Response to those recommendations.

The Project

The Project is a proposal by OPG for the site preparation, construction, operation, decommissioning and abandonment of up to four new nuclear reactors at its existing Darlington Nuclear site, in the Municipality of Clarington, Ontario. The Project would be expected to generate up to 4,800 megawatts of electricity for delivery to the Ontario grid, with an initial need of 2,000 megawatts.

The Project includes the preparation of the site; construction of up to four new reactors and associated facilities; the operation and maintenance of the reactors and related facilities for approximately 60 years, including the management of conventional and radioactive waste; and, the decommissioning and eventual abandonment of the nuclear reactors and associated facilities.

A number of vendors and reactor technologies were considered in the procurement process initiated by the Government of Ontario. No decision was made on the choice of a reactor technology prior to the start of the environmental assessment (EA). For the purposes of the environmental assessment, OPG used a Plant Parameter Envelope to encompass the range of reactor technologies under consideration and provide a bounding envelope of plant design and site parameter values from the multiple technologies to describe the bounding features of the Project. The following reactor technologies formed the basis of the Plant Parameter Envelope: Advanced CANDU Reactor (ACR) 1000 by Atomic Energy of Canada Limited (AECL); EPR by AREVA; AP1000 by Westinghouse; and Enhanced CANDU 6 (EC6) by AECL. It should be noted that the assets of the AECL CANDU Reactor Division have been sold, on October 2, 2011, to Candu Energy Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of SNC-Lavalin Group Inc.

Federal Regulatory Approvals

The Project requires:

  1. Licences from the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission under subsection 24(2) of the Nuclear Safety and Control Act (NSCA), the first of which would be a Licence to Prepare Site;
  2. Authorization from Fisheries and Oceans Canada under section 32 of the Fisheries Act to permit the destruction of fish by means other than fishing; and authorization under subsection 35(2) of the Fisheries Act to harmfully alter, disrupt or destroy fish habitat; and
  3. Authorization from Transport Canada under section 5 of the Navigable Waters Protection Act.

The Canadian Transportation Agency participated in the Joint Review Panel for the Darlington New Nuclear Power Plant Project for the purpose of authorizing a federally regulated railway line relocation necessitated as a result of a potential Panel’s recommendation. As the Panel made no such recommendation, the Canadian Transportation Agency has no further responsibilities with regards to this Project.

OPG’s application for these licences and authorizations require that the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, Fisheries and Oceans Canada and Transport Canada ensure that an EA is completed for the proposed Project, and a course of action taken pursuant to the CEAA, before proceeding with any action that would permit the Project to be carried out.

The Environmental Assessment Process

OPG applied to the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission for a Licence to Prepare Site under the NSCA in September 2006. Following the receipt of certain additional information, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission commenced an environmental assessment (EA) under the CEAA in May 2007. The Federal Minister of Environment subsequently referred the EA to a Joint Review Panel in March 2008.

The public and Aboriginal groups were invited to submit comments on the draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) Guidelines and the JRP Agreement from September to November 2008. The Minister of the Environment issued the final EIS Guidelines and the Joint Review Panel Agreement in March 2009.

The Joint Review Panel Agreement between the Minister of the Environment and the President of the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission established a Panel that would constitute a review panel pursuant to sections 40, 41 and 42 of the CEAA for the purposes of carrying out an EA of the Project and constitute a panel of the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, created pursuant to section 22 of the NSCA, for the purposes of the review of the Licence to Prepare Site application pursuant to section 24 of the NSCA.

Through the Major Project Management Office (MPMO) Initiative, a whole of government approach is being taken to the review of the Project. A Project Agreement was signed in May 2009 by the Deputy Heads of Natural Resources Canada, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency, the Canadian Transportation Agency, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Transport Canada, Environment Canada and Indian and Northern Affairs (now Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development). The Project Agreement sets out roles and responsibilities and guidelines for the length of each stage of the federal review process, including the environmental assessment, Aboriginal consultations, and regulatory decisions.

OPG submitted an EIS with documentation for an application for a Licence to Prepare Site to the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission in September 2009. In November 2009, the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency awarded a total of $155,927 to five applicants to support their participation in the EA process. Following a review by the Joint Review Panel, federal officials and the staff of the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission undertook a technical review of the EIS and application for a Licence to Prepare Site. Concurrently, the opportunity was provided for the public, Aboriginal groups and other stakeholders to request information and provide comments to the Joint Review Panel. The Panel announced on December 14, 2010, that there was sufficient information to proceed to public hearings.

Public hearings began in the Municipality of Clarington on March 21, 2011, continued for 17 days, and ended on April 8, 2011. The hearing record closed on June 3, 2011.

Aboriginal Consultation Process

The common law duty to consult with Aboriginal groups applies when the Crown contemplates actions that may adversely affect potential or established Aboriginal or treaty rights. Federal departments involved in the review of the Project, participated in a whole-of-government approach to uphold the honour of the Crown and consider Aboriginal peoples’ potential or established Aboriginal or treaty rights pursuant to section 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982. This approach was outlined in the Project Agreement that was developed for this Project.

Following the whole-of-government approach, Aboriginal consultation has been integrated into the EA and regulatory review processes to date. With agreement between the Responsible Authorities, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission has acted as the Crown Consultation Coordinator for the federal review in relation to the Project, outlined in the Project Agreement.

With the support from the other RAs, the Crown Consultation Coordinator conducted research and created a distribution list of Aboriginal groups who may have an interest in the proposed Project, which was updated throughout the review process.

Groups identified for engagement and consultation were informed of the Project, the regulatory review and Aboriginal engagement and consultation processes. The RAs and FAs have made themselves available to meet with groups throughout the regulatory review process to date. Letters (and where appropriate, follow-up phone calls) were sent out at key points in the EA process. Regular updates were sent via email regarding information related to the rounds of information requests, open houses hosted by the Panel co-managers and other relevant Panel process matters. This included informing all interested groups that the Panel hearings would be considered as part of the Aboriginal consultation process. Therefore, the Crown Consultation Coordinator encouraged groups to submit information to the Panel and to participate in the public hearings.

Funding to participate in the EA review of this Project was made available to Aboriginal groups through the CEA Agency’s Participant Funding Program and the Aboriginal Funding Envelope. All Aboriginal groups identified on the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission’s distribution list were made aware of the available funding and were encouraged to apply. The Métis Nation of Ontario was awarded $77,604 to coordinate consultation activities among the Métis people in the Georgian Bay and Kawartha Traditional Territories, as well as those represented by the Oshawa Métis Council to participate in consultation activities with the Federal Government, review the Environmental Impact Statement, prepare for and participate in the Panel hearings and to submit a report to the Panel.

The Joint Review Panel Environmental Assessment Report

The Panel released its report on August 25, 2011. The Panel assessed the environmental effects of the Project and their significance, including those caused by possible accidents and malfunctions, and the cumulative environmental effects that the Project could cause when combined with the effects from other works, projects, or activities, taking into account the measures that OPG proposed to mitigate these effects. The Panel also considered the purpose and need for the Project, and feasible alternatives, the need for a follow-up program, and the capacity of renewable resources to meet the needs of current and future generations.

In its Report, the JRP summarized the information provided to it during the course of the hearings on Aboriginal rights and title but, consistent with its Terms of Reference, did not draw conclusions on the determination of scope of the duty of the Crown to consult with Aboriginal groups or whether Canada had met its duty to consult and accommodate any infringement on Aboriginal rights and title.

For specific Aboriginal-related topics, the JRP presented its assessment of current use of land and resources by Aboriginal persons and stated that the information before them did not lead the JRP to conclude that Aboriginal persons currently use the land and resources at the Project site for traditional purposes. For physical and cultural heritage, the JRP concluded that there were no likely significant adverse environmental effects if all mitigation measures are implemented.

The Panel presented 67 recommendations in their report. In responding, the Government of Canada uses the terminology “accept”, “accept the intent” and “does not accept”.

  • Where the Government of Canada “accepts” a recommendation, it means that the Government of Canada fully approves the recommendation and agrees to implement it as written.
  • Where the Government of Canada “accepts the intent of a recommendation”, the Government of Canada agrees with the underlying spirit of the recommendation but may not implement it precisely as written by the Joint Review Panel.
  • If the Government of Canada “does not accept” a recommendation, it means that the recommendation is rejected.

Of the 67 recommendations, 43 are explicitly directed to the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, the majority of which recommend that the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission require OPG to implement mitigation measures, to conduct a specific follow-up or monitoring study, or other similar activities. The statutory authority to require the proponent to undertake such activities is primarily through future licensing under the Nuclear Safety and Control Act. Where the Government Response accepts or accepts the intent of these recommendations, it is understood that the JRP’s recommendations will be given full and fair consideration by the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission through future regulatory activities.

The JRP made recommendations to the Province of Ontario and the Municipality of Clarington. The Government of Canada has chosen to neither accept nor reject these recommendations, and will not be taking these recommendations into account in making its decision under the CEAA.

Government of Canada Conclusions

The Government of Canada is providing this response to the Panel’s Report and Recommendations to meet its obligations pursuant to subsection 37(1.1) of the CEAA. The Response was developed in consultation with other federal departments and is approved by the Governor in Council.

Under subsection 37(2.2) of the CEAA, a Responsible Authority is required to ensure the implementation of mitigation measures. Similarly, under subsection 38(2) a Responsible Authority is required to design a follow-up program and ensure its implementation.

In preparation of this Government of Canada Response, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Transport Canada and the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, as RAs under the CEAA, considered the report submitted by the Joint Review Panel. The Government of Canada, through the RAs under the CEAA, will ensure that the appropriate follow-up programs are designed and implemented and will also ensure or satisfy itself that the implementation of appropriate mitigation measures, as set out by the JRP in the EA will be implemented, for areas of jurisdiction that the Government of Canada has regulatory responsibility. The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission regulates the use of nuclear energy and materials to protect the health, safety and security of Canadians and the environment; and to implement Canada's international commitments on the peaceful use of nuclear energy.

Taking into consideration the Report of the Panel and the implementation of any mitigation measures that the RAs consider appropriate, the Government of Canada has determined that the Project is not likely to cause significant adverse environmental effects.

Course of Action Decision

Paragraph 37(1.1)(c) of the CEAA, indicates that the RAs shall take a course of action that is in conformity with the approval of the Governor in Council.

As a result, under Subsection 37(1) of the CEAA, the RAs, may exercise any power or perform any duty or function conferred on them by or under any Act of Parliament that would permit the Project to be carried out in whole or in part.

Response to Recommendations

Recommendation 1

The Panel understands that prior to construction, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission will determine whether this environmental assessment is applicable to the reactor technology selected by the Government of Ontario for the Project. Nevertheless, if the selected reactor technology is fundamentally different from the specific reactor technologies bounded by the Plant Parameter Envelope, the Panel recommends that a new environmental assessment be conducted.

Response

The Government of Canada accepts the intent of this recommendation, but acknowledges that any RA under the CEAA will need to determine whether the future proposal by the proponent is fundamentally different from the specific reactor technologies assessed by the JRP and if a new EA is required under the CEAA.

Recommendation 2

The Panel recommends that prior to site preparation, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission require OPG to conduct a comprehensive soils characterization program. In particular, the potentially impacted soils in the areas OPG identifies as the spoils disposal area, cement plant area and asphalt storage area must be sampled to identify the nature and extent of potential contamination.

Response

The Government of Canada accepts the recommendation to require OPG to conduct a comprehensive soils characterization program. The Government of Canada also notes that the recommended soils characterization program could also support future ecological risk assessment activities by OPG. Environment Canada can provide available scientific and technical expertise to the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, upon request, to assist in the implementation of this recommendation.

Recommendation 3

The Panel recommends that the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission require that as part of the Application for a Licence to Construct a reactor, OPG must undertake a formal quantitative cost-benefit analysis for cooling tower and once-through condenser cooling water systems, applying the principle of best available technology economically achievable. This analysis must take into account the fact that lake infill should not go beyond the two-metre depth contour and should include cooling tower plume abatement technology.

Response

The Government of Canada accepts the intent of this recommendation to require OPG to conduct a formal quantitative cost-benefit analysis for cooling tower and once-through condenser cooling water systems, as recommended, but acknowledges that this analysis may be required earlier than indicated in the recommendation given the relationship between site layout and the choice of condenser cooling technology.

Fisheries and Oceans Canada and Environment Canada can provide available scientific and technical expertise to the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, upon request, to assist in the implementation of this recommendation.

The Government of Canada further acknowledges the connection of this Recommendation with Panel Recommendation #31 and as such notes that Fisheries and Oceans Canada will work with OPG to ensure through its regulatory process and conditions of authorization under the Fisheries Act that any Harmful Alteration, Disruption and Destruction (HADD) is limited to the 2 metre depth contour of Lake Ontario.

Recommendation 4

The Panel recommends that the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission exercise regulatory oversight to ensure that OPG complies with all municipal and provincial requirements and standards over the life of the Project. This is of particular importance because the conclusions of the Panel are based on the assumption that OPG will follow applicable laws and regulations at all jurisdictional levels.

Response

The Government of Canada accepts this recommendation, however recognizes that it is the responsibility of provincial and municipal officials to ensure compliance with their own requirements and standards over the life of the Project.

Recommendation 5

To avoid any unnecessary environmental damage to the bluff at Raby Head and fish habitat, the Panel recommends that no bluff removal or lake infill occur during the site preparation stage, unless a reactor technology has been selected and there is certainty that the Project will proceed.

Response

The Government of Canada accepts this recommendation to avoid any unnecessary environmental damage to the bluff at Raby Head and fish habitat as recommended. Fisheries and Oceans Canada and Environment Canada can provide available scientific and technical expertise to the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, upon request, to assist in the implementation of this recommendation.

The Government of Canada further notes that authorization under the Fisheries Act will be required prior to any lake infill taking place, and confirms that Fisheries and Oceans Canada will work with OPG to ensure that as a condition of that authorization, that no lake infill occurs unless there is certainty that the Project will proceed and appropriate mitigation measures and habitat compensation have been implemented.

Recommendation 6

The Panel recommends that prior to site preparation, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission require OPG to update its preliminary decommissioning plan for site preparation in accordance with the requirements of Canadian Standards Association (CSA) Standard N294-09. The OPG preliminary decommissioning plan for site preparation must incorporate the rehabilitation of the site to reflect the existing biodiversity in the event that the Project does not proceed beyond the site preparation phase.

OPG shall prepare a detailed preliminary decommissioning plan once a reactor technology is chosen, to be updated as required by the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission.

Response

The Government of Canada accepts the intent of the recommendation to require OPG to maintain a preliminary decommissioning plan for site preparation in accordance with the requirements of CSA Standard N294-09, which provides direction on the decommissioning of licensed facilities and activities consistent with Canadian and international recommendations. The Government of Canada accepts the recommendation to require OPG to revise the preliminary decommissioning plan once a reactor technology is selected.

Recommendation 7

The Panel recommends that prior to site preparation, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission require that OPG establish a decommissioning financial guarantee to be reviewed as required by the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission. Regarding the decommissioning financial guarantee for the site preparation stage, the Panel recommends that this financial guarantee contain sufficient funds for the rehabilitation of the site in the event the Project does not proceed beyond the site preparation stage.

Response

The Government of Canada accepts the intent of this recommendation to require OPG to establish a financial guarantee for the site preparation stage, however, notes that the financial guarantee must be sufficient to cover the cost of decommissioning work outlined in the preliminary decommissioning plan referenced in Recommendation #6.

Recommendation 8

The Panel recommends that prior to site preparation, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission require OPG to develop a follow-up and adaptive management program for air contaminants such as Acrolein, NO2, SO2, SPM, PM2.5 and PM10, to the satisfaction of the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, Health Canada and Environment Canada. Additionally, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission must require OPG to develop an action plan acceptable to Health Canada for days when there are air quality or smog alerts.

Response

The Government of Canada accepts this recommendation to require OPG to develop a follow-up and adaptive management program for air contaminants and a smog alert action plan. Health Canada and Environment Canada can provide available scientific and technical expertise to the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, to assist in the implementation of this recommendation.

Recommendation 9

The Panel recommends that the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, in collaboration with Health Canada, require OPG to develop and implement a detailed acoustic assessment for all scenarios evaluated. The predictions must be shared with potentially affected members of the public. The OPG Nuisance Effects Management Plan must include noise monitoring, a noise complaint response mechanism and best practices for activities that may occur outside of municipal noise curfew hours to reduce annoyance that the public may experience.

Response

The Government of Canada accepts this recommendation to require OPG to develop and implement a detailed acoustic assessment. Health Canada can provide available scientific and technical expertise to the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, to assist in the implementation of this recommendation.

Recommendation 10

The Panel recommends that the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission require OPG to undertake a detailed site geotechnical investigation prior to commencing site preparation activities. The geologic elements of this investigation should include, but not be limited to:

  • collection of site-wide information on soil physical properties;
  • determining the mechanical and dynamic properties of overburden material across the site;
  • mapping of geological structures to improve the understanding of the site geological structure model;
  • confirming the lack of karstic features in the local bedrock at the site; and
  • confirming the conclusions reached concerning the liquefaction potential in underlying granular materials.

Response

The Government of Canada accepts the intent of this recommendation to require OPG to undertake a detailed site geotechnical investigation, however, notes that this investigation may be performed concurrently with site preparation activities. Natural Resources Canada can provide available scientific and technical expertise to the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, upon request, to assist in the implementation of this recommendation.

Recommendation 11

The Panel recommends that the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission require OPG to develop and implement a follow-up program for soil quality during all stages of the Project.

Response

The Government of Canada accepts this recommendation to require OPG to develop and implement a follow-up program for soil quality. Environment Canada can provide available scientific and technical expertise to the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, upon request, to assist in the implementation of this recommendation.

Recommendation 12

The Panel recommends that before in-water works are initiated, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission require OPG to collect water and sediment quality data for any future embayment area that may be formed as a consequence of shoreline modifications in the vicinity of the outlet of Darlington Creek. This data should serve as the reference information for the proponent’s post-construction commitment to conduct water and sediment quality monitoring of the embayment area.

Response

The Government of Canada accepts this recommendation to require OPG to collect water and sediment quality data for any future embayment area. Environment Canada and Fisheries and Oceans Canada can provide available scientific and technical expertise to the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, upon request, to assist in the implementation of this recommendation.

The Government of Canada notes that authorization under the Fisheries Act will be required prior to in-water works. Prior to the issuance of an authorization, Fisheries and Oceans Canada will require a water and sediment quality monitoring program. This program is required to assess whether OPG continues to meet the intent of section 36 of the Fisheries Act.

Recommendation 13

The Panel recommends that the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission require OPG to collect and assess water quality data for a comprehensive number of shoreline and offshore locations in the site study area prior to commencing in-water works. This data should be used to establish a reference for follow-up monitoring.

Response

The Government of Canada accepts the intent of this recommendation to require OPG to collect and assess water quality data for a comprehensive number of shoreline and offshore locations in the site study area prior to commencing in-water works, and would further support the collection of sediment quality data as part of a comprehensive program. Environment Canada and Fisheries and Oceans Canada can provide available scientific and technical expertise to the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, upon request, to assist in the implementation of this recommendation.

The Government of Canada notes that authorization under the Fisheries Act will be required prior to in-water works. Prior to the issuance of an authorization, Fisheries and Oceans Canada will require a water and sediment quality monitoring program. This program is required to assess whether OPG continues to meet the intent of section 36 of the Fisheries Act.

Recommendation 14

The Panel recommends that following the selection of a reactor technology for the Project, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission require OPG to conduct a detailed assessment of predicted effluent releases from the Project. The assessment should include but not be limited to effluent quantity, concentration, points of release and a description of effluent treatment, including demonstration that the chosen option has been designed to achieve best available treatment technology and techniques economically achievable. The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission shall also require OPG to conduct a risk assessment on the proposed residual releases to determine whether additional mitigation measures may be necessary.

Response

The Government of Canada accepts this recommendation to require OPG to conduct a detailed assessment of predicted effluent releases from the Project, as recommended. Environment Canada and Fisheries and Oceans Canada can provide available scientific and technical expertise to the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, upon request, to assist in the implementation of this recommendation.

Recommendation 15

The Panel recommends that following the start of operation of the reactors, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission require OPG to conduct monitoring of ambient water and sediment quality in the receiving waters to ensure that effects from effluent discharges are consistent with predictions made in the environmental impact statement and with those made during the detailed design phase.

Response

The Government of Canada accepts this recommendation to require OPG to conduct monitoring of ambient water and sediment quality in the receiving waters as recommended. Environment Canada and Fisheries and Oceans Canada can provide available scientific and technical expertise to the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, upon request, to assist in the implementation of this recommendation.

The Government of Canada notes that authorization under the Fisheries Act will be required prior to in-water works. Prior to the issuance of an authorization, Fisheries and Oceans Canada will require a water and sediment quality monitoring program. This program is required to assess whether OPG continues to meet the intent of section 36 of the Fisheries Act.

Recommendation 16

The Panel recommends that prior to the start of construction, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission require the proponent to establish toxicity testing criteria and provide the test methodology and test frequency that will be used to confirm that stormwater discharges from the new nuclear site comply with requirements in the Fisheries Act.

Response

The Government of Canada accepts the intent of this recommendation to require the proponent to establish toxicity testing criteria and provide the test methodology and test frequency for stormwater. The Government of Canada would additionally support the application of this recommended testing for process effluents. Environment Canada can provide available scientific and technical expertise to the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, upon request, to assist in the implementation of this recommendation.

Recommendation 17

The Panel recommends that the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission require OPG to provide an assessment of the ingress and transport of contaminants in groundwater on site during successive phases of the Project as part of the Application for a Licence to Construct. This assessment shall include consideration of the impact of wet and dry deposition of all contaminants of potential concern and gaseous emissions on groundwater quality. OPG shall conduct enhanced groundwater and contaminant transport modelling for the assessment and expand the modelling to cover the effects of future dewatering and expansion activities at the St. Marys Cement quarry on the Project.

Response

The Government of Canada accepts this recommendation to require OPG to provide an assessment of the ingress and transport of contaminants in groundwater on site during successive phases of the Project as recommended. For clarity, the Government of Canada would support enhanced groundwater and contaminant transport modelling extending to appropriate model boundaries, which may not necessarily be site boundaries. Natural Resources Canada and Environment Canada can provide available scientific and technical expertise to the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, upon request, to assist in the implementation of this recommendation.

Recommendation 18

The Panel recommends that based on the groundwater and contaminant transport modelling results, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission require OPG to expand the Radiological Environmental Monitoring Program. This program shall include relevant residential and private groundwater well quality data in the local study area that are not captured by the current program, especially where the modelling results identify potential critical groups based on current or future potential use of groundwater.

Response

The Government of Canada accepts this recommendation to require OPG to update the Radiological Environmental Monitoring Program, based on the groundwater and contaminant transport modelling results. Natural Resources Canada and Environment Canada can provide available scientific and technical expertise to the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, upon request, to assist in the implementation of this recommendation.

Recommendation 19

The Panel recommends that the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission require OPG to expand the scope of the groundwater monitoring program to monitor transitions in groundwater flows that may arise as a consequence of grade changes during the site preparation and construction phases of the Project. The design of the grade changes should guide the determination of the required monitoring locations, frequency of monitoring and the required duration of the program for the period of transition to stable conditions following the completion of construction and the initial period of operation.

Response

The Government of Canada accepts this recommendation to require OPG to expand the scope of the groundwater monitoring program to monitor transitions in groundwater flows that may arise as a consequence of grade changes during the site preparation and construction phases of the Project. Natural Resources Canada can provide available scientific and technical expertise to the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, upon request, to assist in the implementation of this recommendation.

Recommendation 20

The Panel recommends that the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission require OPG to perform a thorough evaluation of site layout opportunities before site preparation activities begin, in order to minimize the overall effects on the terrestrial and aquatic environments and maximize the opportunity for quality terrestrial habitat rehabilitation.

Response

The Government of Canada accepts this recommendation to require OPG to perform a thorough evaluation of site layout opportunities before site preparation activities begin, as recommended. Environment Canada and Fisheries and Oceans Canada can provide available scientific and technical expertise to the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, upon request, to assist in the implementation of this recommendation.

As part of the conditions of authorization under the Fisheries Act, Fisheries and Oceans Canada also commits to working with OPG to ensure overall impacts to aquatic habitat are minimized with appropriate mitigation and habitat compensation.

Recommendation 21

The Panel recommends that the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission require OPG to compensate for the loss of ponds, like-for-like, preferably in the site study area. The Panel also recommends that the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission require OPG to use best management practices to prevent or minimize the potential runoff of sediment and other contaminants into wildlife habitat associated with Coot’s Pond during site preparation and construction phases.

Response

The Government of Canada accepts the recommendation to require OPG to use best management practices to prevent or minimize the potential runoff of sediment and other contaminants. The Government of Canada accepts the intent of compensating for the loss of ponds, but would also support the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission requiring OPG to design compensation ponds that maximize ecological function, and not necessarily limited to “like-for-like”. Environment Canada can provide available scientific and technical expertise to the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, upon request, to assist in the implementation of this recommendation.

Recommendation 22

The Panel recommends that the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission require OPG to develop a follow-up program for insects, amphibians and reptiles, and mammal species and communities to ensure that proposed mitigation measures are effective.

Response

The Government of Canada accepts the intent of this recommendation to require OPG to develop a follow-up program for insects, amphibians and reptiles, and mammal species and communities as appropriate, and would support a focus for this follow-up program on species at risk and the use of this follow-up program to verify the conclusions of the Ecological Risk Assessment. Environment Canada can provide available scientific and technical expertise to the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, upon request, to assist in the implementation of this recommendation.

Recommendation 23

The Panel recommends that Environment Canada collaborate with OPG to develop and implement a follow-up program to confirm the effectiveness of OPG’s proposed mitigation measures for bird communities should natural draft cooling towers be chosen for the condenser cooling system.

Response

The Government of Canada accepts the intent of this recommendation to collaborate with OPG to develop such a follow-up program for bird communities, and would further support the consideration of potential impacts from habitat disturbance, as well as from bird collision impacts, in the scope of that program. The Government of Canada acknowledges that the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission has the statutory authority and powers to ensure such a follow-up program is implemented through future licensing under the Nuclear Safety and Control Act. Environment Canada can provide available scientific and technical expertise to the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, upon request, to assist in the implementation of this recommendation.

Recommendation 24

The Panel recommends that during the site preparation stage, Environment Canada shall ensure that OPG not undertake habitat destruction or disruption between the period of May 1 and July 31 of any year to minimize effects to breeding migratory birds.

Response

The Government of Canada accepts the intent of this recommendation to avoid habitat destruction or disruption between the period of May 1 and July 31 of any year to protect most bird species’ nesting activities. However, Environment Canada does not have the ability to ensure that OPG conducts all of its land clearing activities when migratory bird nests are not active since the department does not have a regulatory permitting ability to bind the proponent. The Government of Canada acknowledges that the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission has the statutory authority and powers to address this recommendation through future licensing under the Nuclear Safety and Control Act. Environment Canada can provide available scientific and technical expertise to the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, upon request, to assist in the implementation of this recommendation.

Recommendation 25

The Panel recommends that the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission require OPG to conduct more sampling to confirm the presence of Least Bittern before site preparation activities begin.

The Panel recommends that the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission require OPG to develop and implement a management plan for the species at risk that are known to occur on site. The plan should consider the resilience of some of the species and the possibility of off-site compensation.

Response

The Government of Canada accepts this recommendation to require OPG to conduct more sampling to confirm the presence of Least Bittern and to develop and implement a management plan for species at risk, as may be appropriate. Environment Canada can provide available scientific and technical expertise to the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, upon request, to assist in the implementation of this recommendation.

Recommendation 26

The Panel recommends that the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission require OPG to develop a comprehensive assessment of hazardous substance releases and the required management practices for hazardous chemicals on site, in accordance with the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, once a reactor technology has been chosen.

Response

The Government of Canada accepts this recommendation to require OPG to develop a comprehensive assessment of hazardous substance releases and the required management practices for hazardous chemicals on site once a reactor technology has been chosen. Environment Canada can provide available scientific and technical expertise to the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, upon request, to assist in the implementation of this recommendation.

Recommendation 27

The Panel recommends that prior to any destruction of the Bank Swallow habitat, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission require OPG to implement all of its proposed Bank Swallow mitigation options, including:

  • the acquisition of off-site nesting habitat;
  • the construction of artificial Bank Swallow nest habitat with the capacity to maintain a population which is at least equal to the number of breeding pairs currently supported by the bluff and as close to the original bluff site as possible; and
  • the implementation of an adaptive management approach in the Bank Swallow mitigation plan, with the inclusion of a threshold of loss to be established in consultation with all stakeholders before any habitat destruction takes place.

Response

The Government of Canada accepts the intent of this recommendation to require OPG to implement the identified Bank Swallow mitigation measures using an adaptive management approach, and would support determining required mitigation based on reasonable estimates of actual burrow loss. The Government of Canada expects that the acquisition of offsite nesting habitat should only be necessary if follow-up monitoring shows that onsite mitigation is unsuccessful, and notes that onsite mitigation may also include the enhancement of potential natural nesting sites within the Site Study Area. Environment Canada can provide available scientific and technical expertise to the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, upon request, to assist in the implementation of this recommendation.

Recommendation 28

The Panel recommends that Fisheries and Oceans Canada require OPG to continue conducting adult fish community surveys in the site study area and reference locations on an ongoing basis. These surveys shall be used to confirm that the results of 2009 gillnetting and 1998 shoreline electrofishing reported by OPG, and the additional data collected in 2010 and 2011, are representative of existing conditions, taking into account natural year-to-year variability.

Specific attention should be paid to baseline gillnetting monitoring in spring to verify the findings on fish spatial distribution and relatively high native fish species abundance in the embayment area, such as white sucker and round whitefish. The shoreline electrofishing habitat use study is needed to establish the contemporary baseline for later use to test for effects of lake infill armouring, if employed, and the effectiveness of mitigation.

Response

The Government of Canada accepts this recommendation. Fisheries and Oceans Canada will work with Environment Canada, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and OPG to develop the details of an ongoing fisheries monitoring program which will be included as a condition of a Fisheries Act authorization.

Recommendation 29

The Panel recommends that Fisheries and Oceans Canada require OPG to continue the research element of the proposed Round Whitefish Action Plan for the specific purpose of better defining the baseline condition, including the population structure, genome and geographic distribution of the round whitefish population as a basis from which to develop testable predictions of effects, including cumulative effects.

Response

The Government of Canada accepts this recommendation. Fisheries and Oceans Canada will work with Environment Canada, Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and OPG to develop and finalize the Round Whitefish Action Plan. This plan, as a condition of a Fisheries Act authorization, will form part of the ongoing monitoring program and feed into an adaptive management plan to protect the round whitefish population into the future.

Recommendation 30

In the event that a once-through condenser cooling system is chosen for the Project, the Panel recommends that prior to the construction of in-water structures, Fisheries and Oceans Canada require OPG to conduct:

  • additional impingement sampling at the existing Darlington Nuclear Generating Station to verify the 2007 results and deal with inter-year fish abundance variability and sample design inadequacies; and
  • additional entrainment sampling at the existing Darlington Nuclear Generating Station to better establish the current conditions. The program should be designed to guard against a detection limit bias by including in the analysis of entrainment losses those fish species whose larvae and eggs are captured in larval tow surveys for the seasonal period of the year in which they occur. A statistical optimization analysis will be needed to determine if there is a cost-effective entrainment survey design for round whitefish larvae.

Response

The Government of Canada accepts this recommendation. Fisheries and Oceans Canada will work with the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, and the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources to develop an impingement and entrainment sampling program. The Government of Canada would also like to note that authorization under the Fisheries Act will be required prior to any lake infill taking place and commits that Fisheries and Oceans Canada will work with OPG to ensure that the impingement and entrainment sampling program is developed and implemented as a condition of that authorization.

Recommendation 31

Irrespective of the condenser cooling system chosen for the Project, the Panel recommends that Fisheries and Oceans Canada not permit OPG to infill beyond the two-metre depth contour in Lake Ontario.

Response

The Government of Canada accepts the intent of this recommendation. Fisheries and Oceans Canada will work with OPG to ensure that the HADD of fish habitat associated with the proposed lake infill is limited to the area within the two-metre depth contour of Lake Ontario. The extent of the HADD as well as appropriate mitigation and habitat compensation will be included in the conditions of authorization under the Fisheries Act.

Recommendation 32

In the event that a once-through condenser cooling system is chosen for the Project, the Panel recommends that Fisheries and Oceans Canada require OPG to mitigate the risk of adverse effects from operation, including impingement, entrainment and thermal excursions and plumes, by locating the system intake and diffuser structures in water beyond the nearshore habitat zone. Furthermore, OPG must evaluate other mitigative technologies for the system intake, such as live fish return systems and acoustic deterrents.

Response

The Government of Canada accepts this recommendation. Fisheries and Oceans Canada will work with Environment Canada and the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission to determine the appropriate location for the intake and diffuser structures, and to evaluate other mitigation options for both the intake and the diffuser structures, in order to mitigate adverse effects. Fisheries and Oceans Canada will work with OPG to ensure implementation through its regulatory process and conditions of authorization under the Fisheries Act.

Recommendation 33

The Panel recommends that Fisheries and Oceans Canada require OPG to conduct an impingement and entrainment follow-up program at the existing Darlington Nuclear Generating Station and the Project site to confirm the prediction of adverse effects, including cumulative effects, and the effectiveness of mitigation. For future entrainment sampling for round whitefish, a statistical probability analysis will be needed to determine if unbiased and precise sample results can be produced.

Response

The Government of Canada accepts this recommendation. Fisheries and Oceans Canada will work with the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission and Ontario Power Generation to develop an impingement and entrainment study on the existing Darlington Nuclear Generating Station and at the proposed Project site to confirm predicted adverse effects and will further ensure implementation through its regulatory process and conditions of authorization under the Fisheries Act.

Recommendation 34

In the event that a once-through condenser cooling system is chosen for the Project, the Panel recommends that prior to construction, Environment Canada ensure that enhanced resolution thermal plume modeling is conducted by OPG, taking into account possible future climate change effects. Fisheries and Oceans Canada shall ensure that the results of the modeling are incorporated into the design of the outfall diffuser and the evaluation of alternative locations for the placement of the intake and the diffuser of the proposed condenser cooling water system.

Response

The Government of Canada accepts the intent of this recommendation. Environment Canada is committed to reviewing the information provided by OPG, and will rely on Fisheries and Oceans Canada authorization for a HADD associated with the intake or outfall to ensure that OPG undertakes this modelling.

Fisheries and Oceans Canada will work with Environment Canada, and the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission to incorporate the results from the thermal plume modeling into the determination of the appropriate location for the intake and diffuser structures to mitigate adverse effects. Fisheries and Oceans Canada will ensure implementation through conditions of a Fisheries Act authorization.

Recommendation 35

In the event that a once-through condenser cooling system is chosen for the Project, the Panel recommends that prior to operation, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission require OPG to include the following in the surface water risk assessment:

  • the surface combined thermal and contaminant plume; and
  • the physical displacement effect of altered lake currents as a hazardous pulse exposure to fish species whose larvae passively drift through the area, such as lake herring, lake whitefish, emerald shiner and yellow perch.

If the risk assessment result predicts a potential hazard then the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission shall convene a follow-up monitoring scoping workshop with Environment Canada, Fisheries and Oceans Canada and any other relevant authorities to develop an action plan.

Response

The Government of Canada accepts this recommendation to require OPG to update a comprehensive surface water risk assessment as recommended, however would clarify that an assessment of the combined thermal and contaminant plume should consider not only the surface area of the plume, but its vertical extent as well. Environment Canada and Fisheries and Oceans Canada can provide available scientific and technical expertise to the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, upon request, to assist in the design of the surface water risk assessment and any subsequent action plan development.

Recommendation 36

In the event that a once-through condenser cooling system is chosen for the Project, the Panel recommends that during operation, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission require OPG to undertake adult fish monitoring of large-bodied and small-bodied fish to confirm the effectiveness of mitigation measures and verify the predictions of no adverse thermal and physical diffuser jet effects.

Response

The Government of Canada accepts this recommendation to require OPG to undertake adult fish monitoring to confirm the effectiveness of mitigation measures and effect predictions. Environment Canada and Fisheries and Oceans Canada can provide available scientific and technical expertise to the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, upon request, to assist in the implementation of this recommendation.

Fisheries and Oceans Canada is committed to working with OPG to develop their fish and fish habitat monitoring and follow-up program and ensuring implementation through conditions of authorization under the Fisheries Act.

Recommendation 37

In the event that a once-through condenser cooling system is chosen for the Project, the Panel recommends that prior to construction, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission require OPG to determine the total area of permanent aquatic effects from the following, to properly scale mitigation and scope follow-up monitoring:

  • the thermal plume + 2°C above ambient temperature;
  • the mixing zone and surface plume contaminants;
  • physical displacements from altered lake currents; and
  • infill and construction losses and modifications.

Response

The Government of Canada accepts the intent of this recommendation to require OPG to determine the total area of permanent aquatic effects from identified impacts. The Government of Canada would further support inclusion of cumulative effects assessment in this assessment, including the effects of impingement and entrainment and climate change. Environment Canada and Fisheries and Oceans Canada can provide available scientific and technical expertise to the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, upon request, to assist in the implementation of this recommendation. Further, Fisheries and Oceans Canada is committed to working with the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission and OPG to ensure that any permanent aquatic habitat effects are mitigated and appropriate habitat compensation is developed and implemented as a condition of any Fisheries Act authorization.

Recommendation 38

The Panel recommends that the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission require that the geotechnical and seismic hazard elements of the detailed site geotechnical investigation to be performed by OPG include, but not be limited to:

  • Prior to site preparation:
    • demonstration that there are no undesirable subsurface conditions at the Project site. The overall site liquefaction potential shall be assessed with the site investigation data; and
    • confirmation of the absence of paleoseismologic features at the site and, if present, further assessment to reduce the overall uncertainty in the seismic hazard assessment during the design of the Project must be conducted.
  • During site preparation and/or prior to construction:
    • verification and confirmation of the absence of surface faulting in the overburden and bedrock at the site.
  • Prior to construction:
    • verification of the stability of the cut slopes and dyke slopes under both static and dynamic loads with site/Project-specific data during the design of the cut slopes and dykes or before their construction;
    • assessment of potential liquefaction of the northeast waste stockpile by using the data obtained from the pile itself upon completion of site preparation;
    • measurement of the shear strength of the overburden materials and the dynamic properties of both overburden and sedimentary rocks to confirm the site conditions and to perform soil-structure interaction analysis if necessary;
    • assessment of the potential settlement in the quaternary deposits due to the groundwater drawdown caused by future St. Marys Cement quarry activities; and
    • assessment of the effect of the potential settlement on buried infrastructures in the deposits during the design of these infrastructures.
  • Prior to operation:
    • development and implementation of a monitoring program for the Phase 4 St. Marys Cement blasting operations to confirm that the maximum peak ground velocity at the boundary between the Darlington and St. Marys Cement properties is below the proposed limit of three millimetres per second (mm/s).

Response

The Government of Canada accepts the intent of this recommendation to require OPG's detailed site investigation to include the noted geotechnical and seismic hazard elements, however, notes that this investigation may be performed concurrently with site preparation activities. Natural Resources Canada can provide available scientific and technical expertise to the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, upon request, to assist in the implementation of this recommendation.

Recommendation 39

The Panel recommends that prior to construction, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission require OPG to prepare a contingency plan for the construction, operation and decommissioning Project stages to account for uncertainties associated with flooding and other extreme weather hazards. OPG shall conduct localized climate change modelling to confirm its conclusion of a low impact of climate change. A margin/bound of changes to key parameters, such as intensity of extreme weather events, needs to be established to the satisfaction of the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission. These parameters can be incorporated into hydrological designs leading up to an application to construct a reactor, as well as measures for flood protection. OPG must also conduct a drought analysis and incorporate any additional required mitigation/design modifications, to the satisfaction of the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, as part of a Licence to Construct a reactor.

Response

The Government of Canada accepts this recommendation to require OPG to prepare a contingency plan to account for uncertainties associated with flooding, drought and other extreme weather hazards, as recommended. The Government of Canada accepts the intent of the recommendation to conduct localized climate change modelling; however, if OPG uses reputable published studies to evaluate the anticipated impact of climate change for the Project area, localized climate change modelling may not be necessary. Environment Canada can provide available scientific and technical expertise to the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, upon request, to assist in the implementation of this recommendation.

Recommendation 40

The Panel recommends that prior to construction, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission require OPG to:

  • establish an adaptive management program for algal hazard to the Project cooling water system intake that includes the setup of thresholds for further actions; and
  • factor the algal hazard assessment into a more detailed biological evaluation of moving the intake and diffuser deeper offshore as part of the detailed siting studies and the cost-benefit analysis of the cooling system.

Response

The Government of Canada accepts this recommendation to require OPG to establish an adaptive management program for algal hazards to the cooling water system intake, and factor that assessment into planned siting studies and cost-benefit analyses. Fisheries and Oceans Canada and Environment Canada can provide available scientific and technical expertise to the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, upon request, to assist in the implementation of this recommendation.

Recommendation 41

The Panel recommends that prior to site preparation, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission coordinate discussions with OPG and key stakeholders on the effects of the Project on housing supply and demand, community recreational facilities and programs, services and infrastructure as well as additional measures to help deal with the pressures on these community assets.

Response

The Government of Canada accepts the intent of this recommendation for the CNSC to initiate discussions with OPG and key stakeholders, however, notes that these discussions may occur concurrently with site preparation activities.

Recommendation 42

The Panel recommends that on an ongoing basis, OPG pursue its strategy to ensure that Aboriginal students can benefit from the permanent job opportunities that will be available during the lifetime of the Project. In this regard, OPG should collaborate with various secondary and post-secondary education institutions as well as Aboriginal groups to ensure that such programs would be successful.

Response

The Government of Canada supports this proposal and notes that such programs are consistent with OPG’s presentation to the Panel on Aboriginal Interests on March 28, 2011 and with OPG’s Aboriginal Relations Policy.

Recommendation 43

The Panel recommends that the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission engage appropriate stakeholders, including OPG, Emergency Management Ontario, municipal governments and the Government of Ontario to develop a policy for land use around nuclear generating stations.

Response

The Government of Canada accepts this recommendation for the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission to engage appropriate stakeholders in developing policy for land use around nuclear generating stations.

Recommendation 44

The Panel recommends that the Government of Ontario take appropriate measures to prevent sensitive and residential development within three kilometres of the site boundary.

Response

This recommendation was directed to the Government of Ontario.

Recommendation 45

The Panel recommends that the Municipality of Clarington prevent, for the lifetime of the nuclear facility, the establishment of sensitive public facilities such as school, hospitals and residences for vulnerable clienteles within the three kilometre zone around the site boundary.

Response

This recommendation was directed to the Municipality of Clarington.

Recommendation 46

Given that a severe accident may have consequences beyond the three and 10-kilometre zones evaluated by OPG, the Panel recommends that the Government of Ontario, on an ongoing basis, review the emergency planning zones and the emergency preparedness and response measures, as defined in the Provincial Nuclear Emergency Response Plan (PNERP), to protect human health and safety.

Response

This recommendation was directed to the Government of Ontario.

Recommendation 47

The Panel recommends that prior to site preparation, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission ensure the OPG Traffic Management Plan addresses the following:

  • contingency plans to address the possibility that the assumed road improvements do not occur;
  • consideration of the effect of truck traffic associated with excavated material disposal on traffic operations and safety;
  • further analysis of queuing potential onto Highway 401; and
  • consideration of a wider range of mitigation measures, such as transportation-demand management, transit service provisions and geometric improvements at the Highway 401/Waverley Road interchange.

Response

The Government of Canada accepts this recommendation to require that OPG's Traffic Management Plan consider elements related to contingency plans, truck traffic, queuing potential on Highway 401 and additional mitigation measures.

Recommendation 48

In consideration of public safety, the Panel recommends that prior to site preparation, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission coordinate a committee of federal, provincial and municipal transport authorities to review the need for road development and modifications.

Response

The Government of Canada accepts the intent of this recommendation to support a federal, provincial and municipal review of the need for road development and modifications, however, notes that this review may be performed concurrently with site preparation activities.

Recommendation 49

The Panel recommends that prior to construction, Transport Canada ensure that OPG undertake additional quantitative analysis, including collision frequencies and rail crossing exposure indices, and monitor the potential effects and need for mitigation associated with the Project.

Response

The Government of Canada accepts the intent of this recommendation to require OPG to undertake additional rail safety studies, monitor the potential effects and determine the need for mitigation. The Railway Safety Act (RSA) places crossing safety responsibilities on the Railways and the Road Authorities. This policy reflects the objectives of Section 3 of the RSA.

Ultimately, the Railway and the Road Authority must take the responsibility of performing the crossing assessment. Transport Canada is committed to provide assistance and expertise to the interested parties if required during the risk assessment and in the evaluation of any proposed mitigation measures.

Recommendation 50

The Panel recommends that prior to construction, Transport Canada require OPG to conduct a risk assessment, jointly with Canadian National Railway, that includes:

  • an assessment of the risks associated with a derailment or other rail incident that could affect the Project;
  • an analysis of the risks associated with a security threat, such as a bomb being placed on a train running on the tracks that bisect the Project;
  • a comparative evaluation of the effectiveness of various mitigation measures or combination of measures (e.g., blast wall, retaining wall, recessed tracks, berm and railway speed restrictions within the vicinity of the site);
  • a determination of the design criteria necessary to ensure the effectiveness of these measures (e.g., the appropriate height, strength, material and design of a blast wall); and
  • a critical analysis to confirm that these measures, when properly designed and implemented, would be sufficient to provide protection to the Project site in the event of a derailment at full speed or other adverse event.

Response

The Government of Canada recognizes that the CNSC has the statutory authority and powers to address this recommendation through future regulatory activities under the Nuclear Safety and Control Act.

Transport Canada is committed to provide assistance and expertise to the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission and other parties if required during the risk assessment and in the evaluation of any proposed mitigation measures.

Recommendation 51

In the event that a once-through condenser cooling system is chosen for the Project, the Panel recommends that prior to construction, Transport Canada work with OPG to develop a follow-up program to verify the accuracy of the prediction of no significant adverse effects to boating safety from the establishment of an increased prohibitive zone. OPG must also develop an adaptive management program, if required, to mitigate potential effects to small watercraft.

Response

The Government of Canada accepts the intent of this recommendation. Transport Canada will provide guidance and support to OPG to assist in their development of a follow-up program to confirm that boating safety will not be significantly adversely affected. If an adaptive management program is required, Transport Canada can provide support and expertise to OPG in its development.

Recommendation 52

The Panel recommends that prior to construction, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission require OPG to make provisions for on-site storage of all used fuel for the duration of the Project, in the event that a suitable off-site solution for the long-term management for used fuel waste is not found.

Response

The Government of Canada accepts the intent of this recommendation to the extent that it is the responsibility of waste owners for managing and funding the safe and secure operation of their own wastes. Canada’s 1996 Radioactive Waste Policy Framework states that the owners of radioactive waste are responsible for developing and implementing solutions, including all costs associated with safely and securely managing their wastes.

Recommendation 53

The Panel recommends that prior to construction, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission require OPG to make provisions for on-site storage of all of low and intermediate-level radioactive waste for the duration of the Project, in the event that a suitable off-site solution for the long-term management for this waste is not approved.

Response

The Government of Canada accepts the intent of this recommendation to the extent that it is the responsibility of waste owners for managing and funding the safe and secure operation of their own wastes, in accordance with CNSC's regulatory requirements. Canada’s 1996 Radioactive Waste Policy Framework states that the owners of radioactive waste are responsible for developing and implementing solutions, including all costs associated with safely and securely managing their wastes.

Recommendation 54

The Panel recommends that during operation, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission require OPG to implement measures to manage releases from the Project to avoid tritium in drinking water levels exceeding a running annual average of 20 Becquerels per litre at drinking water supply plants in the regional study area.

Response

The Government of Canada accepts the intent of this recommendation to safeguard drinking water; however, it notes that any proposed limits should be consistent with the tritium standards put in place by the relevant regulatory authorities. Health Canada's Guidelines for Canadian Drinking Water Quality, based on the recommendations of the International Commission on Radiological Protection and the World Health Organization, establish a safe consumption guideline limit of 7,000 Bq/L for tritium in drinking water. This limit has been accepted as a standard by the Province of Ontario. Since water quality is primarily a provincial responsibility in Canada, the provinces may adopt federal guidelines, or may establish their own criteria.

The Government of Canada further notes that the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission regulates potential releases of tritium to the environment from nuclear facilities by imposing regulatory limits as well as precautionary action levels for tritium releases into air or water on a licence-specific basis. These limits are set with a goal to protect human health. The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission's Radiation Protection Regulations require that releases are kept "As Low As Reasonably Achievable" (ALARA), social and economic factors taken into account.

Recommendation 55

The Panel recommends that Health Canada and the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission continue to participate in international studies seeking to identify long-term health effects of low-level radiation exposures, and to identify if there is a need for revision of limits specified in the Radiation Protection Regulations.

Response

The Government of Canada accepts the recommendation to continue its participation in international studies seeking to identify long-term health effects of low-level radiation exposures.

The Government of Canada accepts the intent of the recommendation to identify if there is a need for revision of limits specified in the Radiation Protection Regulations based on the results of international studies. Health Canada and the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission will continue to participate in international studies dealing with long-term health effects of low-level radiation exposures; participate in committees/working groups with relevant international organizations; and, regularly review the reports published by these international groups for developments in radiation protection. Health Canada can provide expertise to the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, upon request, in support of the review of limits specified in the Radiation Protection Regulations.

Recommendation 56

The Panel recommends that over the life of the Project, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission require OPG to conduct ambient air monitoring in the local study area on an ongoing basis to ensure that air quality remains at levels that are not likely to cause adverse effects to human health.

Response

The Government of Canada accepts this recommendation to require OPG to conduct ambient air monitoring to ensure that air quality is not likely to cause adverse effects to human health. Environment Canada can provide available scientific and technical expertise to the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, upon request, to assist in the implementation of this recommendation.

Recommendation 57

The Panel recommends that prior to construction, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission require OPG to undertake an assessment of the off-site effects of a severe accident. The assessment should determine if the off-site health and environmental effects considered in this environmental assessment bound the effects that could arise in the case of the selected reactor technology.

Response

The Government of Canada accepts this recommendation to require OPG to undertake an assessment of the off-site effects of a severe accident. Environment Canada can provide available scientific and technical expertise to the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, upon request, to assist in the implementation of this recommendation.

Recommendation 58

The Panel recommends that prior to construction, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission confirm that dose acceptance criteria specified in RD-337 at the reactor site boundary—in the cases of design basis accidents for the Project’s selected reactor technology—will be met.

Response

The Government of Canada accepts this recommendation to ask the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission to confirm that dose acceptance criteria specified in RD-337 will be met.

Recommendation 59

The Panel recommends that the Municipality of Clarington manage development in the vicinity of the Project site to ensure that there is no deterioration in the capacity to evacuate members of the public for the protection of human health and safety.

Response

This recommendation was directed to the Municipality of Clarington.

Recommendation 60

The Panel recommends that prior to construction, the Government of Canada review the adequacy of the provisions for nuclear liability insurance. This review must include information from OPG and the Region of Durham regarding the likely economic effects of a severe accident at the Darlington Nuclear site where there is a requirement for relocation, restriction of use and remediation of a sector of the regional study area.

Response

The Government of Canada accepts the intent of this recommendation, that the Government of Canada review the adequacy of the provisions for nuclear liability insurance.

In bringing forward modernized nuclear civil liability legislation to replace the current Nuclear Liability Act, the Government of Canada will continue to review the adequacy of the provisions for nuclear liability insurance, taking into consideration the risk of Canadian nuclear installations and other relevant factors.

Recommendation 61

The Panel recommends that during operation, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission require OPG to monitor aquatic habitat and biota for potential cumulative effects from the thermal loading and contaminant plume of the discharge structures of the existing Darlington Nuclear Generating Station and the Project.

Response

The Government of Canada accepts this recommendation to require OPG to monitor aquatic habitat and biota for potential cumulative effects from the thermal loading and contaminant plume. Environment Canada and Fisheries and Oceans Canada can provide available scientific and technical expertise to the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, upon request, to assist in the implementation of this recommendation.

The proponent will also be required to undertake an aquatic monitoring program as a condition of any Fisheries Act authorization.

Recommendation 62

The Panel recommends that prior to site preparation, Environment Canada evaluate the need for additional air quality monitoring stations in the local study area to monitor cumulative effects on air quality.

Response

The Government of Canada accepts this recommendation to evaluate the need for additional air quality monitoring stations in the local study area to monitor cumulative effects on air quality.

If this evaluation finds that additional air quality monitoring stations in the local study area are required, the Government of Canada acknowledges that the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission has the statutory authority and powers to address the findings of this recommendation through future licensing under the Nuclear Safety and Control Act.

Recommendation 63

The Panel recommends that prior to construction, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission require OPG to evaluate the cumulative effect of a common-cause severe accident involving all of the nuclear reactors in the site study area to determine if further emergency planning measures are required.

Response

The Government of Canada accepts the intent of this recommendation to require OPG to evaluate the cumulative effect of a common-cause severe accident in the site study area. The Government of Canada notes that the CNSC has established a task force to examine the lessons learned from the Japan Earthquake and will evaluate the operational, technical and regulatory implications of the nuclear event in Japan in relation to Canadian nuclear power plants.

Recommendation 64

The Panel recommends that the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency revise the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency Cumulative Effects Practitioner’s Guide to specifically include consideration of accident and malfunction scenarios.

Response

The Government of Canada accepts this recommendation. The Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency is in the process of updating its suite of instruments in support of cumulative effects assessment under the CEAA. An operational policy statement, scheduled for completion by December 2012, will provide core guidance to practitioners and include the consideration of accidents and malfunctions.

Recommendation 65

The Panel recommends that the Government of Canada make it a priority to invest in developing solutions for long-term management of used nuclear fuel, including storage, disposal, reprocessing and re-use.

Response

The Government of Canada accepts the intent of this recommendation that priority be given to invest in solutions for the long-term management of used nuclear fuel. It is the responsibility of waste owners to fund and manage the safe and secure operation of their wastes.

The Nuclear Waste Management Organization, established by the nuclear energy corporations, is responsible for implementing the government-selected plan for managing nuclear fuel waste over the long-term.

The Government of Canada is committed to ensuring that an appropriate and properly funded long-term safe and secure solution is in place for the managing nuclear fuel waste over long term.

Recommendation 66

The Panel recommends that the Government of Canada update the Nuclear Liability and Compensation Act or its equivalent to reflect the consequences of a nuclear accident. The revisions must address damage from any ionizing radiation and from any initiating event and should be aligned with the polluter pays principle. The revised Nuclear Liability and Compensation Act, or its equivalent, must be in force before the Project can proceed to the construction phase.

Response

The Government of Canada accepts the intent of this recommendation, that the Government of Canada update the Nuclear Liability and Compensation Act or its equivalent to reflect the consequences of a nuclear accident. The Government of Canada recognizes the importance of bringing forward modernized nuclear civil liability legislation to bring compensation in line with internationally-accepted levels, and will decide on the timing of the next introduction of the Nuclear Liability and Compensation Act bill in Parliament.

Recommendation 67

The Panel recommends that the Government of Canada provide clear and practical direction to the application of sustainability assessment in environmental assessments for future nuclear projects.

Response

The Government of Canada accepts the intent of this recommendation. However, the scope of the assessment and the factors to be considered in future EAs for nuclear projects are decisions that should be taken on a project-by-project basis by future Responsible Authorities. Recognizing that sustainable development is a principle of the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, should a separate sustainability assessment be required by Responsible Authorities for future nuclear projects, the Government of Canada agrees that it would be desirable for those Responsible Authorities to provide clear and practical direction to proponents and the public on how a sustainability assessment should be conducted.