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Growing opposition in both Canada and USA to nuclear waste dumping near the Great Lakes

Opposition to the project, though, has swelled. More than 180 county boards, city councils and other local elected bodies near the Great Lakes in both countries have passed proclamations urging a veto of the plan.

Bruce NGS Great Lakes Lake Huron

Plan to store nuclear waste near Great Lakes proves radioactive, WP   By Steve Friess May 16 KINCARDINE, Ontario — If there was an off-key moment during the otherwise flawlessly executed trip to the U.S. Capitol this spring by the new Canadian prime minister, Justin Trudeau, it might have come when he was cornered by Rep. Debbie Dingell.

“We never want to see nuclear waste in the Great Lakes,” the freshman Democrat from Michigan sternly told Trudeau during a visit to the office of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.).

Trudeau knew what Dingell was talking about. A few weeks earlier, his administration delayed an expected final ruling on whether Ontario Power Generation (OPG) could blast an area twice as big as the White House in a hole as deep as four Washington Monuments and then dump and seal inside 50 years’ worth of low- and intermediate-level radioactive waste amassed by the province’s three nuclear power plants.

The material, which will take thousands of years to decay to levels that are not toxic, would reside beneath layers of rock that geologists say have not moved in tens of millions of years. The planned Deep Geological Repository is controversial in part because it would sit about a mile from the bottom of Lake Huron. And that has prompted widespread activism throughout the Great Lakes region among those who see the concept as too risky for the 40 million people who rely on this, the largest freshwater network in the world.

Trudeau has remained tight-lipped on the plan, much to the frustration of many in both the United States and Canada……..

The decision ultimately will fall to one person, Canada’s freshly installed environment minister, Catherine McKenna. The provincial government approved the plan last year after the independent review panel endorsed its safety. Now the federal government, specifically McKenna, must either green-light or kill it. She had promised to rule by March, but in February she asked OPG for more information; the utility said in April that it would comply by the end of the year…..

Opposition to the project, though, has swelled. More than 180 county boards, city councils and other local elected bodies near the Great Lakes in both countries have passed proclamations urging a veto of the plan. Dingell was among 32 members of Congress who signed a bipartisan letter to Trudeau asking him and McKenna to reject it. The GOP-dominated Michigan Senate unanimously passed a resolution calling on the White House and Congress to intervene under the Boundary Waters Treaty. (The White House referred questions to the State Department, which declined to comment on the issue.)…….

The Bruce Energy facility here in Kincardine is the world’s largest nuclear-power-generation site, with eight of the province’s 20 nuclear reactors. Since the early 1970s, the Bruce site has stored the low- and intermediate-level waste for all of Ontario’s power plants in above-ground bunkers and vaults, which are evidenced only by dozens of cement caps of various shapes arrayed in neat rows across a concrete plain near the reactor buildings. OPG and Bruce officials have long assured the public that such storage is safe, and they’re not backing away from that contention.

Yet it is an expensive long-term solution that relies on hundreds of future generations to maintain and defend it. …….https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/plan-to-store-nuclear-waste-near-great-lakes-proves-radioactive/2016/05/16/b6c25a9c-0651-11e6-bdcb-0133da18418d_story.html

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May 18, 2016 - Posted by | Canada, politics international, USA, wastes

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