Opponents of the Ontario Power Generation’s plan to bury nuclear waste near Lake Huron at the Bruce Nuclear site have scored a partial victory.
The federal government has put off making a decision for a second time. A decision was due March 1st, but that has been delayed so the Trudeau Liberals can review some environmental studies.
OPG says Environment Minister Catherine McKenna has instead has requested three studies:
– An updated analysis of potential combined environmental effects of the OPG low and intermediate level DGR site and a potential Nuclear Waste Management Organization (NWMO) site located close to the proposed DGR site.
– An updated list of OPG’s commitments to mitigate any identified effects from the project.
– A study into the environmental effects of alternate sites.
The deadline for OPG to meet those requests is April 16th.
In a statement released on their website, the crown company said, “OPG maintains that a deep geologic repository is the right answer for Ontario’s low and intermediate level waste, and that the Bruce site is the right location. OPG is confident that further studies will confirm this.”
The proposal by Ontario Power Generation calls for hundreds of thousands of cubic metres of so-called low and intermediate level nuclear waste to be buried 680 metres underground the bedrock at the Bruce nuclear plant near Kincardine.
The plan has been met with stiff opposition. Over 150 cities in Canada and the U.S., including London, have officially opposed the proposal. London was among the first to publicly come out against it in October 2013.
The opposition has been led by the group Stop The Great Lakes Nuclear Dump.
In an emailed statement to AM980, spokesperson Beverly Fernandez said they were disappointed the federal government didn’t cancel the plan.
“The Trudeau government could have rejected this plan today. Instead they have chosen an indefinite delay. They have ignored the Flint Michigan water disaster and all the leaking DGRs on the planet. They have ignored the strong opposition from First Nations, Canadians and Americans, US politicians and Great Lakes communities. Their future review ignores controversial aspects of this plan: only one site considered, no consultation of Great Lakes communities, secret meetings, large cash payments for local support, etc. No matter what process is followed, burying and abandoning radioactive nuclear waste in the Great Lakes Basin will always be a bad idea. The Trudeau government’s environmental credibility is on the line.”
Last month the group sent a 92,000 signature petition outlining its concerns to McKenna.
OPG has maintained since the beginning the proposal was safe, saying the deep geologic repository (DGR) would “permanently and safely isolate and contain the waste 680 meters underground, ensuring protection of the water and the environment.”
A Canadian environmental assessment released last May concluded the OPG plan was the best way to deal with the waste, and found little risk to the lake.
One domino that has yet to fall is the Saugeen Ojibway Nation, who have full veto power and could override any decision by the federal government. However, the area first nation has yet to announce a decision on the proposal.