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« Urge Canadian decision makers to pull the plug on the proposed Great Lakes shoreline radioactive waste dump! | Main | Beyond Nuclear speaks at Great Lakes Environmental Alliance rally opposing DGR! »
Monday
Aug212017

Another major delay on Canada's Great Lakes shoreline radioactive waste dump proposal is announced

As announced to Interested Parties, by the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency's (CEAA) Deep Geologic Repository (DGR) Project Team, another major delay has just been announced regarding Ontario Power Generation's (OPG) proposal to dump radioactive waste on the Great Lakes shoreline.

This time, the Minister of the Environment and Climate, Catherine McKenna, has announced an open ended request for additional information to OPG, to accommodate the wishes of the Saugeen Ojibwe Nation (SON) to conduct a community-driven, better informed decision-making process regarding OPG's proposal to dump radioactive waste very near their reservation, on their traditional territories, adjacent to the Great Lakes, their drinking water supply, as well as the habitat for their fisheries.

The SON also have the dubious distinction of "hosting" the largest nuclear power plant on Earth, the Bruce Nuclear Generating Station (BNGS). Its eight operable reactors (and a ninth prototype, long shut down) make it larger than any other nuclear power plant in the world, by number of reactors. Not that the SON were asked for their consent, decades ago, for the construction and operation of the BNGS.

BNGS is also the location of the Western Waste Management Facility (WWMF), which not only stores Bruce's radioactive wastes, but also those imported in from a dozen reactors east of Toronto, from the Pickering (eight reactors) and Darlington (four reactors) nuclear power plants on the shore of Lake Ontario.

All of Ontario's combusitble "low-level" radioactive wastes are even incinerated at the WWMF, with untold radioactivity releases to the air, which then fallout on the surrounding countryside, as well as Lake Huron surface waters. It would be the "low-level" radioactive waste ashes left over from the incineration process, as well as non-combustible "low-level" radioactive wastes, and highly radioactive "intermediate-level" radioactive wastes, that would be buried at the DGR, if OPG gets it way -- 400,000 cubic meters worth!

After the open ended request for additional information is concluded, and OPG submits the additional information to the CEAA, the CEAA will then write a draft summary report for the consideration of the Environment and Climate Mininster. There will also be a public comment opportunity at that time on the conditions proposed for the DUD (Deep Underground Dump, an appropriately sarcastic acronym coined by the late, great Dave Martin of Greenpeace Canada). None of these dates have yet been announced -- this most recent delay is currently open ended.

Beyond Nuclear has been an official party in the licensing proceeding since its founding in 2007. Beyond Nuclear's radioactive waste watchdog, Kevin Kamps, fought the DUD before that, dating back to 2001, when the DUD was first proposed, in his capacity as nuclear waste specialist at NIRS, as well as board member of Don't Waste MI, at that time.

Before this most recent (there have been multiple earlier ones!) postponement announcement, a draft summary report was due any day now (by late summer) from CEAA, for the Minister's consideration. A time period had also been scheduled for members of the public, interested parties, and official parties, to make comment on the draft summary report. The Minister was set to maker her up or down decision re: the DUD this autumn. But now this has all been indefinitely delayed.

Opponents of the DUD had previously protested the fact that OPG's most recent submission of additional information to CEAA had not been accompanied with a public comment period, for CEAA to consider the public's views, as it prepared its latest summary update status report on the additional information submitted by OPG.

And as Beverly Fernandez of the organization Stop the Great Lakes Nuclear Dump asked in Feb. 2016, why is the Environment and Climate Minister, as well as the CEAA, delaying their decision on the DGR (Deep Geologic Repository)? Why aren't the Minister and CEAA rejecting OPG's application outright?

Given how unacceptable and insane this scheme is, including how woefully inadequate the construction and operating license application has clearly been (given all the requests for additional information since the Justin Trudeau government was elected), Stop the Great Lakes Nuclear Dump's question is a powerful one!