A petition — so big that, with accompanying comments, it would have run 6,000 pages — is in the federal environment minister’s in-box to argue against a deep nuclear waste storage vault along the Great Lakes near Kincardine.
The document represents “a very strong voice” opposed to the underground nuclear-waste repository, said Beverly Fernandez, head of Stop the Great Lakes Nuclear Dump, which has lobbied against the plan by provincial electricity producer Ontario Power Generation (OPG).
Environment Minister Catherine McKenna is expected to rule this spring whether to endorse OPG’s plan, already green-lighted by a federal review panel, to bury low-grade radioactive waste from Ontario’s nuclear plants in a proposed limestone vault deeper than the CN Tower is high.
The petition has the backing of Southwestern Ontario’s ranking mayor, Mike Bradley of Sarnia, who worked with organizers. He notes his city is the largest along Lake Huron, its shore a little more than a kilometre from where the deep-burial vault would be drilled in the Bruce Peninsula’s rock.
“I would like the new Trudeau government to send a strong environmental message about being protectors of the Great Lakes and deny application for the repository,” Bradley said Wednesday.
OPG says the rock below lands at the Bruce Power station — the provincially owned but privately run complex that is the world’s largest operating nuclear plant — is impermeable, so stable it hasn’t changed in tens of millions of years.
The waste would include dry material that has come into contact with the nuclear-generating process, but would not include spent fuel rods.
But critics say if there’s a need for below-ground nuclear-waste storage, it shouldn’t be anywhere near the Great Lakes, a source of drinking water for 40 million people in Canada and the U.S.
More than 180 Canadian and U.S. communities representing about 20 million people, including Toronto and Chicago, have logged their opposition to the proposal.
By Debora Van Brenk, The London Free Press, Wednesday, January 20, 2016 10:18:37 EST PMWith files by Dan Brown, The London Free Press