CALGARY, Alberta (Reuters) - Canada's natural resources minister said on Wednesday he approved Ontario Power Generation's plans for a multibillion-dollar expansion of the Darlington nuclear power station near Toronto, saying the project is not likely to cause adverse environmental impact.
The project, which had been vetted by a joint review panel, would add four new reactors generating up to 4,800 megawatts. Government-owned Ontario Power Generation must now seek a site preparation license from the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission.
The project is part of the Ontario government's 20-year, C$33 billion ($33 billion) energy plan, which also includes closing coal-fired power plants and reducing greenhouse gases.
Environmental groups had opposed it, saying it would be too expensive, block expansion of green energy in the province and increase risks of a nuclear accident at the site, 70 kms east of Toronto.
The panel approved the expansion last August, with 67 recommendations to address health and environmental effects, as well as waste management and emergency readiness. ($1=$0.99 Canadian)
Reporting by Jeffrey Jones and Scott Haggett; Editing by Peter Galloway and M.D. Golan