We’re in court today to kill a nuclear zombie.   Lawyers representing Greenpeace, Northwatch and Lake Ontario Waterkeeper will ask a federal judge to overturn federal approvals permitting Ontario Power Generation (OPG) to proceed building new reactors. 

While the Ontario government announced last month it was cancelling plans to proceed with new reactors, federal authorities gave OPG a licence in 2011 allowing it to start building new reactors at any time over the next decade.

This open-ended approval means OPG’s Darlington new reactor proposal isn’t dead.  It’s undead.

The Darlington zombie threatens to continue eating up resources and distracting us from more affordable and environmentally friendly energy options for years.

The best way to kill a nuclear zombie is with evidence.  That’s why we’re in court.  

When the Ontario government first announced it would proceed with building new reactors in 2006, Greenpeace said it was a bad idea.   We said the nuclear industry’s claims that new reactors were needed, affordable and safe wouldn’t stand up to public scrutiny.

The Ontario government sadly was in an unnecessary rush and exempted its nuclear plan from a provincial environmental review and punted its responsibility to protect the environment to the federal government. 

Nevertheless, Greenpeace intervened in good faith throughout the four year federal review process and we’re going to court because we don’t believe federal authorities fulfilled their legal responsibilities to gather evidence.

Key issues, such as the need, alternatives, and environmental protection, weren’t properly examined during the federal review process.

Ignoring and omitting evidence is the disease that creates nuclear zombies.

These holes in the federal review allow OPG to continue pretending new reactors are needed, affordable and desirable. 

We allege that these holes in the federal review make OPG’s decade-long licence illegal.  Our lawyers will ask the federal court to force federal authorities to respect the law and fill in those holes.

Indeed, Ontario’s recent admission that new reactors are too costly and not even needed confirms what Greenpeace has been saying for years.  We should learn a lesson from this.

If we had started out with a proper review of new nuclear’s costs and risks back in 2006 it would have saved Ontario a lot of time and money.  

That’s why our lawyers from Ecojustice and the Canadian Environmental Law Association are in court.   We want to make sure this doesn’t happen again.

Nuclear zombies come into being when governments ignore nuclear power’s forty year history of cost overruns, accidents and radioactive waste.  

It’s time to put this zombie down permanently, so something better can take its place.