April 5, the CEAA issued 23 additional information requests to OPG, regarding three reports that OPG submitted in December, 2016: a study of two alternate locations for the DGR besides the current proposed location at the Bruce site; a report on cumulative effects if two waste facilities were to be located in the same region (that is, OPG's repository for low- level and intermediate-level waste only, and a separate repository being explored for used fuel); and a consolidation of all of OPG's environmental commitments made to date on the DGR project.
The CEAA held a period of public comment on these reports and also sought reviews from several federal departments and from Indigenous communities.
"The types of additional questions OPG received last week were expected as a result of those reviews from January to March, and are a normal part of the regulatory process," said Fred Kuntz, OPG's manager of corporate relations and communications – Bruce County. "They will help ensure that every aspect of this project has been examined."
In this case, the CEAA has asked for clarification, elaboration or further description of the project and its potential effects at the two alternate locations, in comparison with OPG’s proposed location at the Bruce site, including with respect to Indigenous communities and the environment, as well as a number of technical criteria. OPG is confident it can address the additional information requests thoroughly in this timeframe.
These 23 questions bring the total number of information requests on the DGR, to 608. They are intended to help the CEAA complete its analysis and report, expected this summer, to the federal minister of environment and climate change. More information about the CEAA process can be viewed at www.ceaa.gc.ca/050/details-eng.cfm?evaluation=17520
Based on extensive scientific research, OPG believes the geology at the Bruce Nuclear site is ideally suited for a DGR. Its 2016 studies found that alternate sites in the Canadian Shield or Southwestern Ontario, while technically feasible, would result in greater environmental effects, costs of up to $3.5-billion higher, and a delay in implementation of 15 years or more, with no additional benefits in safety for the public or environment.
A federal Joint Review Panel report in 2015 found that the DGR would protect the public and the environment, including the Great Lakes, and recommended that the project proceed "sooner rather than later."
If the EA were approved, it would be followed by OPG's application for a construction licence, further design work and site preparation, and eventual construction. The DGR would not be in service until 2026 at the earliest, depending on further stages of approvals.
The DGR has the support of a willing host community, the Municipality of Kincardine, as well as adjacent communities and Bruce County. OPG is also engaged in ongoing, respectful consultation with Indigenous communities, including Historic Saugeen Métis, Métis Nation of Ontario and Saugeen Ojibway Nation (SON). OPG has committed that the DGR will not be built without the free, prior and informed consent of the SON.