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Canadian panel endorses plan for nuclear waste facility near Lake Huron

Aerial photo of the Bruce Nuclear Generating Station near Kincardine Ontario.
Chuck Szmurlo
Wikimedia Commons

A Canadian advisory panel has recommended approval of a permanent, underground nuclear waste repository within a mile of Lake Huron in Ontario.

The panel made its recommendation this week in a report to Canada's environment minister, who is expected to make a decision within four months. 

Ontario Power Generation wants to bury about 7 million cubic feet of low- and intermediate- level radioactive waste from its nuclear power plants and build the underground nuclear waste facility on the Bruce nuclear site near Kincardine, Ontario.

The advisory panel said the project is unlikely to cause significant environmental harm, including to Lake Huron.

Michigan U.S. Rep. Dan Kildee, D-Flint, wants to stop the project.

"The Great Lakes propel our economy and provide fresh drinking water to millions of people, both in the U.S. and Canada," said Kildee. "We can't afford to jeopardize our livelihood and the world's largest freshwater body. Surely in the vast land mass that comprises Canada, there has to be a more logical place to permanently store nuclear waste."

Michigan U.S. Rep. Candice Miller, R-Harrison Twp., also thinks having a nuclear repository so close to the Great Lakes is too risky for the environment and the economy.

Miller wants Secretary of State John Kerry to engage the International Joint Commission to encourage the Canadian government to reassess its plans. 

"Canada has always been a great neighbor and ally of the U.S., as well as a great steward of the lakes," said Miller. "And I believe that, working through the International Joint Commission, we can come up with a viable alternate site for their proposed nuclear waste facility."

You can find an overview of the controversial plan in this week's Environment Report here.

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