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Beyond Nuclear thankful for indefinite delay on Great Lakes nuclear waste dump, vows to redouble efforts to nip the "DUD" in the bud

The Great Lakes serve as the drinking water supply for 40 million people in eight U.S. states, two Canadian provinces, and a large number of Native American First Nations.Ottawa, Ontario, Canada and Washington, D.C., U.S.A.--Late yesterday afternoon, the Canadian federal Minister of Environment and Climate Change, the Honourable Catherine McKenna, issued the following statement, a Public Notice entitled Deep Geologic Repository Project — Ministerial Request for Additional Information, posted at the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency website:

The Minister of Environment and Climate Change, the Honourable Catherine McKenna, today requested additional information and further studies on the environmental assessment for the proposed Deep Geologic Repository (DGR) Project for Low and Intermediate Level Radioactive Waste in Kincardine, Ontario.

After considering the Joint Review Panel Environmental Assessment Report, the Minister has requested that the proponent, Ontario Power Generation, provide additional information on three aspects of the environmental assessment: alternate locations for the project, cumulative environmental effects of the project, and an updated list of mitigation commitments for each identified adverse effect under the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, 2012 (CEAA 2012).

Ontario Power Generation has been asked to provide the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency, by April 18, 2016, with a schedule for fulfilling the information request. The Minister will contact the Panel, at a future date, regarding its role in the review of the additional information and studies.

The Minister's request for information from the proponent has paused the timeline for an environmental assessment decision to be issued, as per section 54(6) of CEAA 2012. At a later date, the Minister will seek a further timeline extension from the Governor in Council.

March 1, 2016 had previously been set as the ultimate decision deadline for the Canadian Environment Minister to determine whether or not to accept the Joint Review Panel's Environmental Assessment Report recommendation that the DGR be allowed to proceed to construction and operation. The newly announced delay appears to be indefinite in nature, as OPG must report by April 18th on how long it needs to fulfill the three very broad additional information requests made by the Minister.

Kevin Kamps, Beyond Nuclear’s Radioactive Waste Watchdog, released the following statement in response.

The Environment Minister's actual letter to OPG is posted here.

A grassroots environmental movement opposed to the DGR has grown from voices in the wilderness, to an international groundswell, over the course of the past 15 years.

But one example of this long, determined defense of the Great Lakes is the October 13, 2012 "Huron Declaration," signed by a large number of individuals, representing many organizations, in opposition to the DUD. (DUD, short for Deep Underground Dump, is an acronym and phrase coined by Dave Martin of Greenpeace Canada.) The "Huron Declaration" came out of the Nuclear Labyrinth conference, organized by Michael Keegan of Coalition for a Nuclear-Free Great Lakes, featuring Dr. Gordon Edwards of Canadian Coalition for Nuclear Responsibility as keynote speaker, and hosted by Timothy J. Jurkovac, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Sociology, Program Director, Criminal Justice, at Bowling Green State University's Firelands College in Huron, Ohio.

While named after the location of the conference, the "Huron Declaration" also is an allusion to the "Port Huron Statement," which marked the formation of the Students for a Democratic Society in the early 1960s, at a gathering held in Port Huron, Michigan. In fact, the Huron Declaration came 50 years after the Port Huron Statement -- 1962 to 2012.

Recently, Port Huron has become a hotbed of resistance to the DUD, with a St. Clair River rally in August 2015, the formation of Great Lakes Environment Alliance in recent months, a November 2015 event at St. Clair County Community College again featuring Dr. Gordon Edwards of CCNR as keynote speaker, etc.

Port Huron, Michigan is located at the point where Lake Huron flows into the St. Clair River. Port Huron's sister city, Sarnia, Ontario, has also long been a hotbed of resistance to the DGR, thanks in large part to the leadership of its long-serving progressive and environmental mayor, Mike Bradley. Port Huron and Sarnia are the nearest population center downstream of the proposed DUD -- in fact, Sarnia is the biggest city on the shores of Lake Huron.

The international environmental coalition resisting the DUD will now redouble efforts, in hopes of blocking the insane scheme outright. The movement will then move on to address the many other radioactive risks to the Great Lakes, concentrated at the Bruce Nuclear Generating Station, and at many other places along the Great Lakes shorelines, as overviewed by the International Institute of Concern for Public Health's Great Lakes Region Nuclear Hot Spots map.