Greenpeace Canada and three other environmental groups say they intend to go to court to try to stop the construction of new nuclear reactors in Ontario.

Lawyers with Ecojustice and the Canadian Environmental Law Association — on behalf of the law association, Greenpeace Canada, Lake Ontario Waterkeeper, and Northwatch — have filed an application for judicial review in Federal Court.

The province plans to build two new nuclear reactors at the Darlington Nuclear Generating Station in Clarington, Ont., about 70 kilometres east of Toronto.


A Federal Court suit filed against agencies including Ontario Power Generation alleges a review of an expansion for the Darlington Nuclear Generating Station was flawed. (J.P. Moczulski/Reuters)

A federal government-appointed review panel concluded in August that the project contained no major environmental risk and recommended it be approved.

The environmental groups say the province is fast-tracking construction without proper environmental studies, especially in the wake of the disaster at Japan's Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant, where three reactors melted down after the earthquake and tsunami in March.

Lake Ontario Waterkeeper president Mark Mattson said the panel didn't want to learn from the disaster.

"They were saying, 'We're going ahead. We know enough. It doesn't affect us. We have nothing to learn. Let's go.'"

The suit alleges the review was "flawed, rushed and incomplete."

Lawyer Richard Lindgren said the court will be asked to delay construction until the hearing takes place.

The application from the environmental groups says that the federal assessment was flawed for several reasons, including failure to consider the long-term environmental effects of radioactive waste or to look at green energy alternatives.

The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission and Ontario Power Generation, two agencies named in the suit, declined comment except to say they had received the filing.

The filing also names the attorney general as well as the federal ministers of transport, environment, and fisheries and oceans.