nuclear power

The Bruce Nuclear Generating Station right on Lake Huron in Ontario.
user Cszmurlo / Wikimedia Commons

Canadian officials will open a public hearing Tuesday looking at plans for a nuclear waste storage facility very close to Lake Huron.  

Ontario Power Generation wants to build the facility in Kincardine, Ontario, less than a mile from the lakeshore. The plan concerns environmentalists, who fear the underground facility could contaminate Lake Huron.

One Michigan congressman plans to introduce a resolution this week opposing the current site chosen for the facility.

Utility officials insist their plans to build a massive underground storage facility are safe. The facility would descend nearly 700 meters below the surface and eventually store 200,000 cubic meters of low and intermediate nuclear waste from Canadian nuclear stations.

“The geology, the geosphere, the repository design, the depth will protect the environment,” insists Neal Kelly, a spokesman for Ontario Power Generation.

He says 70% of the waste to be stored in the facility would only be low-level nuclear contamination. 

This week’s public hearing will focus on technical issues tied to the planned facility.     

It will be many years before the utility can build the billion dollar nuclear waste storage facility, even if Canadian regulators grant the utility a license to build it. 

The Deep Geologic Repository Joint Review Panel will hold its hearing on Tuesday in Kincardine.

You can find more about the hearing by following this link from the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

DTE and Consumers Energy electric customers may notice a slight dip in their monthly bills.

Since 1982, utilities have tacked on a 15 to 20 cent fee on monthly electric bills.

It was supposed to pay for a federal program to dispose of spent fuel from nuclear power plants. Only one problem: The program never actually disposed of any waste.

Last fall, a federal court ordered an end to the fee.

Michigan Public Service Commissioner Greg White was part of the lawsuit.

Mark Savage / Entergy

Anti-nuclear power groups are fighting a bill that’s working its way through the Michigan House. The bill outlines when security officers at nuclear power plants can use deadly force to stop intruders.

Kevin Kamps is a radioactive waste specialist with the nuclear watchdog group Beyond Nuclear.

At Palisades, spent fuel cools for at least six years before being considered for dry storage. There are 17 dry casks storing waste at Palisades.
Mark Savage / Entergy

Federal law regulates nuclear power plants in almost every way. But state law dictates the use of force to keep people off the property.

State Rep. Al Pscholka introduced the bill. He says it was not inspired by any actual security breaches.

FirstEnergy

OAK HARBOR, Ohio (AP) - Operators of a northern Ohio nuclear plant that sits along Lake Erie say workers there found a gap within the concrete of a protective wall.

Officials at the Davis-Besse nuclear plant near Toledo describe the gap as an air pocket and say they don't believe it affected the structural integrity of the shield wall.

The gap was discovered Thursday while the plant was shut down to replace two steam generators.

The Palisades Nuclear Plant sits on the shores of Lake Michigan in southwest Michigan.

COVERT TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) - Operators of southwestern Michigan's Palisades Nuclear Power Plant say it's now offline for refueling and maintenance.

New Orleans-based Entergy Corp. says operators took the plant out of service at 11 a.m. EST Sunday. It's located on the shore of lake Michigan in Van Buren County's Covert Township, about 55 miles southwest of Grand Rapids.

Plant spokeswoman Lindsay Rose says workers will replace 64 fuel assemblies in the reactor as well doing maintenance, tests and inspections.

Bruce Power / Ontario Power Generation

DETROIT (AP) — U.S. Sens. Debbie Stabenow and Carl Levin of Michigan are asking Secretary of State John Kerry to intervene in a Canadian plan to store nuclear waste underground near Lake Huron.

Ontario Power Generation proposes a radioactive waste disposal facility at the Bruce nuclear power site in the city of Kincardine. If approved, it would house more than 200,000 cubic feet of waste about a mile from the lake.

In a letter Monday to Kerry, the Democratic senators say they're concerned how storing so much radioactive material that close to the lake would affect the environment and industries such as fishing and tourism.

They ask Kerry to urge the Canadian government to reconsider its plans.

The company says the underground rock formations would keep the waste safe for thousands of years.

Joseph Xu / Michigan Engineering Communications & Marketing

Engineering researchers at the University of Michigan are trying to figure out how radiation damages the different materials used to make nuclear power plants.

There are roughly 100  nuclear power plants in the U.S., and most of them are getting old. Researchers want to figure out how long the reactors can hold up in such harsh environments over time.

daBinsi / Flickr

Local environmental activists are concerned over a proposal that would create a nuclear waste dump less than a mile from the shores of Lake Huron. Community members met at a town hall meeting this week at Wayne State University to discuss the proposal.