Canada delays Lake Huron nuclear waste decision
Energize Weekly, June 10, 2015
The Canadian environment minister has delayed a decision to green light a proposed nuclear waste facility on the shores of Lake Huron until after elections in the fall, postponing a potential firestorm for now.
Federal Minister of Environment Leona Aglukkaq has extended the timeline for a decision until December to allow for public comment on a government report that backed construction of the repository, to be built by Ontario Power Generation (OPG) on the site of the Bruce nuclear power plant in Kincardine.
The facility, which has bitterly divided communities in the region, would store 7 million cubic feet of low and intermediate nuclear waste from the Bruce power station and other nuclear power plants. Opponents of the facility include environmental activists and municipal leaders in the U.S. and Canada, as well as coalition of lawmakers from Great Lake states in the U.S.
Earlier this year, the three-person Joint Review Panel recommended in a 450-page report that OPG be allowed to build the repository, suggesting that the project is the “preferred solution” for storing low and intermediate level waste and “is not likely to cause significant adverse environmental effects.” Minister Aglukkaq has until September 3 to issue a decision statement for or against the facility. That date has been bumped back to December 2. The change would ensure no decision is made until after the Canadian general election on October 19.
Michigan Representative Dan Kildee (D-Flint Township) said that over 150 municipalities from Toronto to Chicago have passed resolutions opposing the facility, and that he “hopes that Canada considers a different location for a site.”
Fellow Michigan Congresswoman Candice Miller (R-Harrison Township) said that she welcomed the move to delay a decision.
“Imposing this 90-day comment period, which delays the decision until after Canada’s federal election, shows just how controversial this project is and, hopefully, will give Canadian authorities time to reconsider moving forward with this proposed site,” she said.
Other municipalities in the Bruce region have endorsed the plan, including Kincardine where the site is located. They say that the project will create jobs and stimulate economic activity in the region.
Depending on Minister Aglukkaq’s decision, the Joint Review Panel would then decide for or against issuing OPG a license to build the facility.