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Proposal for Nuclear Waste Dump
On Shore Of Lake Huron
Unprecedented underground site would store radioactive waste materials from all of Ontario's nuclear reactors
May 23, 2008 (Toronto, ON) - Ontario Power Generation is planning to site an underground radioactive waste dump in Bruce County, Ontario, a mere one kilometer (half a mile) from the shore of Lake Huron. Environmental groups fear the independence of the environmental assessment panel will be compromised by the presence of the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission.
"The Canadian government wants to build a nuclear waste dump on the shores of the world's largest freshwater ecosystem. There are serious risks involved in doing this and we want to ensure a full and independent assessment of what the consequences will be, free of bias from the nuclear establishment," said Gordon Edwards of the Canadian Coalition for Nuclear Responsibility.
"An independent panel is one that has no conflict of interest because its members are not involved in promoting, defending, or licensing nuclear facilities," Edwards continued.
The nuclear regulator has never had a seat on a panel for environmental assessments, and their role in this one could set a dangerous precedent, downplaying the dump's radiological risks to health and the environment.
Great Lakes United's Green Energy and Nuclear Free Task Force urges that a completely independent review board be established, without Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission presence. The Task Force also calls on Great Lakes residents on both sides of the border to speak out, given the potential hazards of the proposed dumpsite for the entire Great Lakes watershed.
After pressure from citizen groups and elected officials in both Canada and the United States, the Canadian government has committed to a Full Panel Review, but the presence of the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission threatens to bias decision-making in favor of a pro-nuclear position, despite the risks.
"The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, like the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, has all too often rubberstamped risky nuclear experiments. Given the grave radiological risks of this proposed dumpsite on the shore of the Great Lakes, they would have a conflict of interest and undermine an independent environmental assessment," said Kevin Kamps of Beyond Nuclear in Washington, D.C.
"Citizens from across the Great Lakes region will be living with the consequences of this decision for thousands of years. Their voices, and not only those in favor of nuclear power, must be heard," said Michael Keagan of the Coalition for a Nuclear Free Great Lakes. "The public deserves an independent and accountable environmental assessment. It is crucial that citizens engage strongly today to ensure their voices are heard during the environmental assessment."
The proposal involves building a deep repository beneath the Bruce Nuclear plant site near Kincardine, Ontario. The largest nuclear power plant in North America, it is looking to build new reactors which could make it the largest nuclear power plant in the world. The dumpsite would contain all radioactive wastes, except spent radioactive fuel, from Ontario's twenty nuclear reactors. Waste to be stored includes transuranic radionuclides, such as plutonium, contaminated filters from irradiated fuel pools; thousands of highly radioactive metallic pipes and other contaminated items.
Last week the Macomb County Water Quality Board and the Macomb County Board of Commissioners in Michigan both passed resolutions opposing any underground radioactive waste dump in the Great Lakes region. Over the past two years, members of Congress have repeatedly spoken out against the proposed dump, including Energy Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee Chairman Bart Stupak of northern Michigan, and Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers of Detroit.
"Macomb County is saying very clearly that the actions of its neighbors have a huge impact on the health of its communities and environment," said Kay Cumbow of Citizens Against Chemical Contamination. "Siting a nuclear waste dump right next to the drinking water supply of over 30 million Canadians and Americans is a disaster waiting to happen."
The documents under review, and the comment process can be found online at: http://www.ceaa-acee.gc.ca/050/DocHTMLContainer_e.cfm?DocumentID=26204
Great Lakes United Green Energy and Nuclear Free Task Force
The Task Force is made up of concerned citizens and organizations promoting green energy solutions for the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River. It is part of the Great Lakes United coalition, an international voice dedicated to preserving and restoring the health of the Great Lakes - St. Lawrence River ecosystem. Great Lakes United is made up of 170 member organizations representing environmentalists, conservationists, hunters and anglers, labor unions, community groups, and citizens of the United States, Canada, and First Nations and Tribes.
For More Information
Gordon Edwards, Canadian Coalition for Nuclear Responsibility 514-839-7214
Kevin Kamps, Beyond Nuclear, 240-462-3216
Michael Keagan, Coalition for a Nuclear Free Great Lakes, 734-770-1441
Kay Cumbow, Citizens for Alternatives to Chemical Contamination 810-346-4513