Panel appointed to assess Bruce C proposal

08 September 2008

A Joint Review Panel (JRP) has been established to review the environmental impact of the proposed Bruce C nuclear power plant in Ontario, Canada. Four new reactors could be built - alongside eight already in the vicinity at Bruce A and B.

The existing Bruce site (Image: Bruce Power)
The panel will conduct the environmental assessment and consider the licence application to prepare a site for the project. Bruce Power is proposing the site preparation and construction, operation and decommissioning of up to four new reactors of some 1000 MWe capacity each at the existing Bruce site. The company is still considering which reactor design will be employed, but has said that the new plant will be constructed as two twin-unit modules.

Three panel members have been appointed jointly by Canada's environment minister, John Baird, and the president of the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC), Michael Binder. A condition of their appointment is that they are "unbiased and free of any conflict of interest in relation to the project and are to have knowledge or experience relevant to the anticipated environmental effects of the project."

The panel is to be chaired by Louis Lapierre, professor emeritus in biology at the Université de Moncton. He has previously chaired and participated in many advisory bodies. He was a member of the federal panel that reviewed the management of high level waste (HLW) across Canada.

In addition, André Harvey, a member of the CNSC since June 2006, will also be a member of the Bruce C review panel. He has been a member of various organizations related to water and environmental management.

Moyra McDill, who has been a member of the CNSC since May 2002, has also been appointed to the review panel. Her major research contribution, with colleagues, has been the development of special elements and techniques useful in analyzing welds, heat transfer and stress in many manufacturing processes.

The Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency (CEAR) administers the federal environmental assessment process, which identifies the environmental effects of proposed projects and measures to address those effects, in support of sustainable development.

The appointment of the review panel members follows the publication by CEAR and the CNSC on 22 August of the final environmental impact statement (EIS) guidelines and the JRP agreement related to the Bruce C project. The JRP agreement establishes how the panel will function and the terms of reference for conducting the environmental assessment and for determining the information required to consider the licence application to prepare a site.

The EIS guidelines identify the information needed for Bruce Power to prepare the EIS which will provide a detailed analysis of the potential environmental effects of the proposed new plant.

Meanwhile, the CEAR and CNSC published on 5 September the draft EIS guidelines and JRP agreement for Ontario Power Generation's (OPG's) proposed new nuclear power plant at the existing Darlington site, also in Ontario. The proposed new plant will comprise four reactors with a combined capacity of some 4800 MWe. The 75-day comment period ends on 19 November.