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As more sectors of Ontario’s economy move toward electrification, there will be a growing demand for clean electricity.

That’s why OPG is exploring innovative energy options to power Ontario's future – including advancements in reliable, virtually carbon-free nuclear power, which can help meet Ontario’s changing energy needs while combating climate change.

OPG’s Darlington Nuclear station is already an important part of Ontario’s clean energy future – the station provides close to 20% of Ontario’s electricity, and the Darlington Refurbishment Project will ensure this world-class generator continues to provide reliable power for decades to come.

In parallel, as Canada’s only site licenced for new nuclear with a completed and accepted Environmental Assessment (EA), the Darlington Nuclear site offers a significant solution to secure Ontario’s clean energy future.

Chronology of Darlington New Nuclear

A chronology of Darlington New Nuclear key activities and milestones including relevant documents.

Later this year, OPG will be applying for a licence renewal from the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) for the site preparation activities that would be required for new nuclear generation at OPG’s Darlington site.

OPG currently holds a Licence to Prepare Site for the Darlington Nuclear site, the first of a series of licences that would be required for additional nuclear generation capacity. The current 10-year licence was obtained following comprehensive environmental impact studies and an extensive public hearing conducted by a Joint Review Panel of the CNSC and the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency in 2012.

OPG has not yet undertaken any licensed activities on the site. However, the existing licence allows OPG to carry out activities to prepare the site for future construction, for example:

  • Clearing and grubbing vegetation
  • Excavation and grading of site
  • Installing services and utilities required to service the future project facilities (e.g., domestic water, fire water, sewage, electrical, communications, natural gas)
  • Constructing support buildings

As the licence expires in 2022, renewing the licence will help maintain the option for reliable, low carbon nuclear energy to remain a key part of Ontario’s low-emission energy mix.

The licence renewal application to the CNSC will be submitted this year, after which the CNSC will determine the timing and process for review. A decision by the commission members is expected in 2021. Relevant documents, including the application, will be publicly available for review on this website.

  • OPG issues notification to the CNSC of our intent to apply to renew the site licence that is set to expire in August 2022.
  • OPG submits a licence Mid-Term report to the CNSC, outlining the activities undertaken since the licence was granted as well as a report providing an update on the commitments made by OPG during the licencing process.
  • OPG continues to maintain the licence in accordance with the licence conditions.
  • Citing lower than planned power consumption growth combined with a strong supply situation, the Government of Ontario, through the 2013 Long-Term Energy Plan, requests that OPG defer the construction of new nuclear reactors but maintain the existing licence.
  • The CNSC issues the Licence to Prepare Site to OPG for a period of 10 years, valid from August 17, 2012 to August 17, 2022.
  • The Government of Canada issues a response accepting the recommendation of the Joint Review Panel and accepting the Environmental Assessment (EA).
  • As required by the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act (1992), an Environmental Assessment (EA) of the proposed project is conducted, including comprehensive studies undertaken by OPG and consultation with Indigenous communities, local community members and the broader public.
  • The Government of Ontario, OPG’s shareholder, directs OPG to initiate the federal approvals process for new nuclear generating units in response to recommendations from the Ontario Power Authority’s Integrated Power System Plan.
  • The Plan calls for investment in new nuclear generation capacity in order to maintain Ontario’s nuclear generating capacity at 14,000 MWe, consistent with nuclear energy’s share of the 2005 supply mix.
An aerial view of the Darlington Nuclear Generating Station.

Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission’s licensing process for nuclear power plants

The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) is mandated, under the Nuclear Safety and Control Act (NSCA), to regulate all nuclear facilities and nuclear-related activities; including the possession, use, and transport or storing of nuclear substances in Canada.

The CNSC Information Guide “Licensing Process for New Nuclear Power Plants” provides an overview of the licences required for the various phases of a nuclear power plant lifecycle, including the many opportunities for Indigenous and public participation.