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No nuclear waste dump near Lake Huron: opposition of indigenous people, Saugeen Ojibway Nation, the deciding factor

OPG ends quest for nuclear waste dump on Lake Huron, Opposition of Saugeen Ojibway Nation is pivotal,   The Voice By Jim Bloch For MediaNews Group Jun 30, 2020

The quest for a deep geologic repository for nuclear waste on the lip of Lake Huron in Ontario is dead.

The 15-plus-year-old effort by Ontario Power Generation to build the underground dump for low and intermediate nuclear waste from Ontario’s 20 reactors appeared to end in January, following the vote of the Saugeen Ojibway Nation against the repository. Eighty-six percent of the first nation voted against the dump, 1,058-170.

SON is made up of the Chippewas of Nawash Unceded First Nation and the Chippewas of Saugeen First Nation. Their territory includes the Bruce Peninsula and runs down the coast of Lake Huron past Goderich and along the shores of Georgian Bay to just beyond Collingwood. SON has roughly 4,500 members.

In 2013, OPG promised that it would not build the nuclear waste dump without SON’s support.

OPG officially terminated the project on May 27 in a letter to Jonathon Wilkerson, the Federal Minister of Environment and Climate Change, asking for the withdrawal of its application for a building license and ending the environmental impact assessment for the DRG.

“… OPG has informed the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission that we do not intend to carry out the Project and have asked that the application for a Site Preparation and Construction License be withdrawn,” said Lise Morton, vice president of OPG’s Nuclear Waste Management Division. “Similarly, OPG requests the minister to cancel the environmental assessment for the Project.”

Wilkerson responded on June 15.

“I accept Ontario Power Generation’s request to withdraw the project from the federal environmental assessment process…,” said the minister.

Wilkerson also forwarded his decision to Rumina Velshi, president of the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission……..

The long term safety of the project — located less than a half-mile from Lake Huron, one of the five Great Lakes that provide drinking water to at least 34 million people in two countries — was at the heart of the controversy. …..

The underground dump was designed to store 200,000 cubic meters of nuclear waste, some of which would remain toxic for at least 100,000 years, roughly 10 times longer than the Great Lakes have been in existence; some of it would remain lethal for more than a million years.

Depositing so much toxic waste on the edge of 20% of the world’s surface fresh water was dubbed as insanity by critics, who pointed to the possibility of the DGR being overtopped by fresh water tsunamis like the Great Lakes Hurricane of 1912, breached by seismic activity in the region, of which there has been a significant amount, threatened by rising lake levels due to climate change, or even targeted by terrorists.

Critics noted that all major underground repositories for nuclear waste to date have failed.

July 2, 2020 - Posted by | Canada, indigenous issues, wastes

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