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Disastrous problem of nuclear waste just won’t go away

text-wise-owlA disaster waiting to happen: nuclear waste and Lake Huron, Michigan Radio, By  , 25 Feb 16 Michigan has been so preoccupied with our own environmental disaster in Flint that we may have missed the announcement that Canada last week indefinitely delayed a decision about whether to bury low-level nuclear waste near Lake Huron……..

Had the conservative government of Prime Minister Stephen Harper been reelected last fall, the decision announced last week would almost certainly have been to bury the waste here. But Harper’s party lost in an unexpected landslide to Justin Trudeau’s more environmentally conscious liberals.

The outcome may be especially welcome in poor, battered Flint. The city hopes to eventually switch to a new water provider using Lake Huron, and the last thing anyone wants to worry about is radioactive waste leaching into the water, as unlikely as that may be.

But this also means we still don’t have an answer to what is to be done with 200,000 cubic feet of nuclear waste, currently stored in above-ground containers near Ontario’s immense Bruce nuclear generating station.

Even more important is finding a permanent home for all those highly radioactive, spent nuclear fuel rods in both our nations. Scientific American estimated seven years ago that the United States alone had produced 64,000 metric tons of those rods.

There’s more now, and any effort to establish a permanent burial site has been killed by narrow, NIMBY, not-in-my-backyard thinking, as it has in Canada.

This is a disaster waiting to happen – there’s tons of this stuff in “temporary,” above-ground storage everywhere from Monroe to Charlevoix, where an old nuclear plant was torn down nearly twenty years ago.

If the apparent decision to not bury low-level waste near Lake Huron makes us forget this far bigger problem, then it is no kind of victory at all.

February 27, 2016 - Posted by | USA, wastes

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