Lawmakers in the U.S. try to stop Ontario's plans to put nuclear waste dump on shore of Lake Huron.

Nuclear Waste Dump Off The Shore Of Lake Huron? U.S. Lawmakers Have Their Say

On March 1, the Canadian Minister of the Environment will either approve or disapprove Ontario Power Generation’s plan to build a deep geological repository that will store nuclear waste right off the coast of Lake Huron. The Great Lakes make up one-fifth of the world’s supply of fresh water, so many, not just environmental activists, are wondering why a nuclear waste dump located less than one mile from Lake Huron seems like a smart idea.

Ontario Power Generation’s plans assert that the nuclear waste dump will hold the radioactive contents for 100,000 years. Opposition points out that the Great Lakes were only created 12,000 years ago, so the proximity is irresponsible and the alleged lifespan of the repository is unrealistic.

Rep. Candice Miller wants the plans halted for good. Miller writes in The Times Herald that she has “repeatedly called on the State Department to engage the International Joint Commission to ensure we can stop the proposed project.” Miller points out that millions depend on the Great Lakes for their economic and social livelihoods.

Ontario Power Generation is a corporation owned by the Province of Ontario. The company plans to bury and abandon low and intermediate level radioactive nuclear waste almost directly off the shore of Lake Huron, in the Municipality of Kincardine, Ontario. The nuclear waste dump would have 31 burial caverns that would be located 680 metres below the ground encased in limestone. Intermediate level nuclear wastes remain highly radioactive for over 100,000 years, but Ontario Power Generation’s plans indicate the dump should hold just about that long.

The nuclear waste dump was set to span about 100 acres underground near Lake Huron. After loaded with radioactive junk, the nuclear waste dump will be sealed with a sand/clay mixture and concrete. Then, about a decade later, if no leaks are found, it will no longer be actively monitored. After 300 years, it will be completely abandoned where it will be expected to remain for 100,000 years within easy walking distance of Lake Huron.

Senator Phil Pavlov wrote in the Voice News that more than 90,000 people signed petitions at and trying to stop the nuclear waste dump from ending up on the coast of Lake Huron. Senators Debbie Stabenow and Gary Peters also have strongly opposed the nuclear waste dump plans. U.S. Rep. Dale Kildee, several other state lawmakers, Mike Bradley, the mayor of Sarnia, Ontario, and at least 154 American and Canadian communities oppose the plan. The 154 communities mentioned, representing more than 21 million people, all passed resolutions opposing the plan to bury nuclear waste by the waters of the Great Lakes.

Many hope that the newly elected Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, and new Environment Minister, Catherine McKenna, will do something to stop the proposed plans from being implemented.

“I will continue to be a vocal critic of this proposal. Tens of millions of United States and Canadian citizens depend on the Great Lakes for drinking water, fisheries, tourism, recreation and other industrial and economic uses,” Pavlov wrote. “Placing a permanent nuclear waste repository in Kincardine could lead to a leak or breach of radioactivity from the facility or to a similar pollution incident, which could severely harm the ecology of the Great Lakes, perhaps permanently. Astonishingly, OPG failed to consider any other sites besides the location near Lake Huron. That decision is remarkably shortsighted and dangerous.”

What do you think of the proposal to put a nuclear waste dump just off the shore of Lake Huron?

[Image via Stop The Great Lakes Nuclear Dump]