Published on Thursday November 15, 2012
Business Reporter, Toronto Star
The Canadian mayor who helped stall transport of radioactive equipment on the Great Lakes is pushing for an “international debate” on Canada’s plan for storing nuclear waste.
Sarnia Mayor Mike Bradley has asked fellow mayors on both sides of the U.S.-Canada border to take a “strong position” on Canadian proposals for nuclear waste.
He has written to the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative to get the ball rolling.
The group has more than 90 member cities and towns including Toronto, Chicago, Montreal, Milwaukee and Rochester.
Twenty Canadian communities – 10 of them near Lake Huron, and 17 of them in the Great Lakes basin – have expressed interest in being the site for a deep, underground depository for high-level nuclear waste.
A separate process is also under way to evaluate a proposed low and mid-level waste sitedeep in the rock at the site of the Bruce nuclear station near Kincardine. It would be operated by Ontario Power Generation. (OPG)
Bradley has forwarded a motion from a Kincardine area group, asking for no low-level waste site to be approved until it’s been debated by “all government bodies including federal, provincial and municipal, and representatives from the United States.”
In an interview, Bradley says he has “great concern” about any depository being located close to other Great Lakes.
“It just amazes me,” he said. “Forty million Canadians and Americans take their water from there, and we continue to treat it like it’s a toilet bowl.”
“I wasn’t asking for anything outlandish,” in writing to the Great Lakes body, Bradley said. “It was simply saying: Let’s make sure there’s a full public process, and an international debate on this initiative.”
“I do not believe on the American side that there’s very much knowledge what’s going on, on this side of the border.”
His letter asks his fellow mayors to support “a full public process that would allow an international debate on this initiative.”
He encloses a motion drafted by the Inverhuron Committee requesting a debate on both side of the border. Inverhuron is a small community, technically part of Kincardine, that is the Bruce nuclear plant’s closest neighbour.
Bradley was one of those who protested Bruce Power’s plans to ship old, radioactive steam generators to Sweden for recycling through the Great Lakes. The shipment was put on hold.
The Kincardine area site would contain slightly radioactive material such as clothing and mop, plus items such as metal parts from the reactor core that have become irradiated over years of use.
Public hearings on the Kincardine site are expected to open next year. It will be several years before a site for the high level waste is selected.
Kincardine hasn’t volunteered for the high level waste, but a number of nearby towns and townships have done so.
Currently, used nuclear fuel is stored on the sites of the reactors that produced it. Low and intermediate waste from all Ontario’s reactors is stored in buildings on the Bruce nuclear site.
OPG spokesman Neal Kelly said there has already been an extensive public process on the company’s plans for its waste depository, which will culminate with federal hearings starting next year.
Kelly said OPG has already spoken with some members of the Great Lakes mayors group.
“We welcome Mayor Bradley’s views, and all views,” he said.
“We encourage public comment on this project at any time during the process, including international comment,” Kelly said.