Nanticoke nuclear bid goes to review panel - Bruce Power Erie wants to build two reactors

NANTICOKE – The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission has asked the Minister of Environment to refer the environmental assessment of Bruce Power’s proposal to build two nuclear reactors in the industrial area of Haldimand County to a review panel.

The commission says in a statement late Wednesday an assessment is required before it can consider Bruce Power’s licence application and has concluded that public and stakeholder concerns warrant that a request be made to the minister for an early referral to a review panel.

Bruce Power, which operates a nuclear power plant on Lake Huron near Port Elgin is seeking to build the reactors beside the coal-fired Nanticoke generating Station which is set to be closed in 2014.

The province is not endorsing the proposal, but it has support of Haldimand and Norfolk council’s, local MPs and federal cabinet minister Diane Finley.

A review panel is a group of experts selected and appointed by the minister of the environment.

The commission said it has considered Bruce Power Erie's project description, the views already expressed by the public, interest groups, Aboriginal groups and in media reports on previous major nuclear projects, as well as its own experience with consultation on major nuclear projects and decided “…public and stakeholder concerns warrant that a request be made to the minister for an early referral to a review panel.”

A group calling itself Grand Erie Energy Quest has launched a petition requesting a moratorium on nuclear development in Nanticoke because its members feel there has not been sufficient public discussion of contamination, cost and security issues.

Jim Elve, spokesperson for the group, said today the commission decision comes as no surprise. “its the next step,” he said.

Grand Erie Energy Quest, which expects its petition to gain momentum with better canvassing in good weather, wants the questions of contamination, cost and most importantly disposal of nuclear waste generated by the plant given a full airing, he said.

“We want to know just where you’re going to put it ... forever,” said Elve.

Elve said the group’s visibility in Haldimand and Norfolk rising as more and more of its dandelion yellow signs are popping up on lawns.

Bruce Power Erie applied in October 2008 for a licence to prepare a site for the future construction and operation of two nuclear reactors to potentially generate between 2,200 and 3,200 megawatts of electricity to the Ontario grid. The application for a licence to prepare a site is the first in a series of applications to build and operate a new nuclear power plant, as part of the CNSC licensing process.

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