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Canada puts off decision on proposed nuclear waste dump near Lake Huron

Nov 27, 2015

The Canadian government has announced it needs more time to decide if it will OK permits for a nuclear waste storage facility near the shore of Lake Huron. 

Aerial photo of the Bruce Nuclear Generating Station near Kincardine, Ontario.
Credit CHUCK SZMURLO / WIKIMEDIA COMMONS

Ontario Power Generation wants to bury approximately 200,000 cubic meters of low to medium level nuclear waste 680 meters – just under a half mile – below ground. The utility insists the rock formation in the area, less than a mile from Lake Huron, is geologically stable.  

The Trudeau government had faced a December 2nd deadline to decide if it would approve the permits for the facility. But the agency responsible for the review announced today it is delaying the decision until March 1st. 

Beverly Fernandez is with the group Stop the Great Lakes Nuclear Dump.  She welcomes today’s decision.

“We are hopeful that the minister will act to protect the Great Lakes and ultimately say ‘no’ to OPG’s plan,” says Fernandez, “This really is a matter that does affect all the people in Canada and the U.S. The Great Lakes are a shared natural resource.”

Fernandez hopes the decision to delay is a sign the Trudeau government may will willing to reject the project.

The proposed nuclear waste storage facility has been controversial on both sides of the border. Dozens of local governments in Michigan have passed resolutions opposing it. Environmental groups have protested against it. 

Michigan’s congressional delegation has raised serious concerns about the potential consequences to the Great Lakes if the facility fails to contain the radioactive waste. 

The former Conservative Canadian government appeared friendly to the planned nuclear waste storage facility. But the government of Prime Minister Stephen Harper was defeated by the Liberals in recent elections.