Darlington Nuclear Generating Station

Federal Court of Appeal dismisses appeal on EA decision for Darlington refurbishment

On April 13, 2016, the Federal Court of Appeal dismissed the appeal on the Federal Court decision to dismiss the application for judicial review for the environmental assessment (EA) decision on the refurbishment and continued operation of the Darlington Nuclear Generating Station.

The appeal was brought in November 2014 by Greenpeace Canada, the Canadian Environmental Law Association, Lake Ontario Waterkeeper and Northwatch. They claimed that the Federal Court erred in rejecting their application for judicial review because the Responsible Authorities who conducted the assessment unreasonably excluded severe low probability nuclear accidents from the scope of the assessment and unreasonably failed to give adequate consideration to the long term management of nuclear fuel waste that the Darlington Facility will generate.

The Federal Court of Appeal did not agree. In its decision, among other points, the court stated that “…the CNSC is much better placed than a reviewing court to factually assess and determine what types of possible accidents are likely to occur at a nuclear power plant and how to conduct the assessment of the environmental impacts of potential accidents. It is therefore inappropriate for a reviewing court to second-guess these determinations through a detailed re-examination of the evidence as the appellants would have us do in the instant case.” [60]

Read the Federal Court of Appeal’s decision.

Ontario Power Generation (OPG) owns and is licensed to operate the Darlington Nuclear Generating Station, located in the municipality of Clarington, on the north shore of Lake Ontario. OPG also operates a nuclear waste management facility at the station. The CNSC has full-time staff onsite who perform inspections to evaluate operations and to verify compliance with regulatory requirements and licence conditions.

Plant Information

Location: Clarington, Ontario
Operator: Ontario Power Generation
Reactor type: CANDU (CANada Deuterium Uranium)
Vendor: Atomic Energy of Canada Limited
Number of units: 4 reactors
Installed capacity: 3,512 MW
Status: All four reactors operating
Licence issued: January 1, 2016
Licence expires: November 30, 2025
Start of commercial operation: Between 1990 and 1993
Refurbishment: Planned (Environmental Assessment completed, Integrated Safety Review in progress)
Licensing documentation: Request a copy of the Darlington NGS licence and licence condition handbook by email

Aerial view of the Darlington Nuclear Generating Station

Latest CNSC Plant-Specific Announcements

Latest Licensee Public Disclosures

As part of CNSC's regulatory requirements, major licensees must have robust public information and disclosure programs in place. These programs, for nuclear power plants, include a disclosure protocol developed in consultation with community stakeholders. You may visit OPG's Web site for all public site updates triggered by the protocol's disclosure criteria.

A CNSC Inspector checks a service building that houses the pumps that draw cooling water from Lake Ontario at the Darlington Nuclear Generating Station.

Adjacent Nuclear Facility and Project

Tritium removal facility

The Darlington site includes a Tritium Removal Facility (TRF) designed to minimize the amount of tritium going into the environment, as well as reducing the potential radiation exposure of workers. The TRF extracts tritium from the heavy water used in the reactors. The extracted tritium is then safely stored in stainless steel containers within a concrete vault.

Ontario Power Generation Darlington new nuclear power plant project

The Darlington project is for the site preparation, construction, operation, decommissioning and abandonment of up to four new nuclear reactors at the existing Darlington Site to generate approximately 4,800 megawatts of electricity to the Ontario grid.

Find out more about the status of this project.