The Toronto Star has asked, "How do you safely store 40 years of radioactive waste?" Do you bury it beside the drinking water supply for 40 million people in 8 U.S. states, 2 Canadian provinces, and a large number of Native American First Nations?
This is what Ontario Power Generation (OPG) proposes to do with 200,000 cubic meters of operational and refurbishment so-called "low" and "intermediate" level radioactive wastes from 20 atomic reactors across Ontario, at the Bruce Nuclear Generating Station on the Lake Huron shoreline, just 50 miles to the east of the tip of Michigan's Thumb.
However, as mentioned in the article, OPG is trying to pull a fast one. Watchdogs, such as the regional environmental group Northwatch, have forced OPG to admit that it plans to nearly double the capacity of its so-called DGR (for Deep Geologic Repository), by adding decommissioning wastes. Critics refer to the DGR as the DUD, a sarcastic acronym standing for Deep Underground Dump.
An environmental coalition has also questioned whether this first DUD will simply morph with a second DUD in the nearby vicinity, this one for high-level radioactive waste from 22 atomic reactors across three Canadian provinces. A half-dozen Bruce area municipalities have "volunteered" to be considered as "willing hosts" for all of Canada's irradiated nuclear fuel. The same Nuclear Waste Management Organization (NWMO), comprised of nuclear industry officials, is in charge of both the DGR1 license application and the DGR2 site search.
As reported by the article, last Friday the federal Joint Review Panel (JRP) overseeing OPG's environmental assessment on DUD1 has rejected formal demands (Requests for Ruling) made by dozens of environmental groups, including Beyond Nuclear, for full disclosure on what exactly is to be buried on the Lake Huron shore. The JRP will neither suspend the month-long hearings, nor require OPG to fully explain its intentions surrounding decommissioning wastes or irradiated nuclear fuel.