Nukewatch Quarterly Winter 2015-2016
On November 27, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission extended the timeline to issue a decision on the proposed Deep Geologic Repository (DGR) project by 90 days from December 2, 2015 to March 1, 2016.
The proposal by Ontario Power Generation (OPG) is to construct and operate a deep underground disposal facility at the Bruce Nuclear Site, on the shore of Lake Huron on Bruce Peninsula, Ontario. The DGR would be designed to manage low- and intermediate-level radioactive waste from the operation of OPG-owned nuclear reactors at Bruce, Pickering, and Darlington, Ontario.
“We are deeply thankful to all the US Congress Members who urged that the decision be postponed, and the Honorable Catherine McKenna, the newly appointed Canadian Minister of Environment and Climate Change, for postponing the decision 90 days,” said Kevin Kamps, Radioactive Waste Watchdog at Beyond Nuclear, based in Takoma Park, Maryland, which has helped lead US grassroots resistance to the proposal.
“We urge the delegation of 32 US Senators and Representatives to follow through with securing a meeting with Prime Minister Trudeau and Environment Minister McKenna, to communicate the concerns and objections of tens of millions of US citizens regarding the risks the DGR would inflict on the Great Lakes,” Kamps said.
“We are confident that once Environment Minister McKenna reviews the 13 years of resistance to the DUD, she can do nothing other than reject OPG’s proposal as unacceptably risky to the drinking water supply for 40 million people,” Kamps added. DUD, for Deep Underground Dump, is the opposition’s term for the proposal.
In a November 18 letter to Environment Minister McKenna, a coalition of 65 US and Canadian environmental groups, including Nukewatch, urged an extension of the December 2 decision deadline. But its overriding gist was for Minister McKenna to reject the DGR proposal outright, as it is “plagued by uncertainties, unacceptably risky, unnecessary for the management of the radioactive wastes, and unaffordable from a cost-benefit perspective.”
The coalition’s letter listed the growing opposition, including 182 resolutions passed by municipalities in the US and Canada—including Chicago, Duluth, five communities in metro Detroit, and Toronto—with a combined population of nearly 23 million people. In addition, the National Association of Counties, representing 3,069 counties across the US where 255 million people reside, recently passed a resolution opposing the DGR, as has the Great Lakes Legislative Caucus (comprised of lawmakers in eight US states and two Canadian provinces).
The Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative has long been critical of the DGR as well.
The organization Stop the Great Lakes Nuclear Dump has more information about the growing number of resolutions posted on its website.
—Beyond Nuclear and Nukewatch