OPG Intends to Double Size of Radioactive Waste Burial on Lake Huron

Kincardine – Over twenty-five environmental groups will ask the federal Joint Review Panel today to suspend the hearings assessing Ontario Power Generation’s (OPG) radioactive waste dump proposal until the company clarifies the actual volume and types of radioactive wastes it plans to store at the facility.

The groups say OPG plans to double the amount of long-lived radioactive wastes to be stored in its proposed underground radioactive waste dump under Lake Huron, but failed to reveal this during the seven year-long federal environmental review.

“After participating in the process for six years, it is completely unfair and dishonest of OPG to double the size, add a new category of waste, and increase the radioactive threat of the proposed waste dump under Lake Huron,” said Paula Lombardi, legal counsel for a family living beside the proposed radioactive waste dump.

At a public meeting of the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) last month an OPG representative said the company intends to also put longer-lived radioactive wastes from the dismantling of the province’s reactors in the proposed facility. This would equal approximately 130,000 m3 of additional radioactive waste and double the size of the dump. Public consultations have been underway since 2007 on a smaller dump for less radioactive waste.

“This approach amounts to project splitting which is not a permissible way to do Environmental Assessments under the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act,” said Theresa McClenaghan, Executive Director and Counsel with the Canadian Environmental Law Association. “This environmental assessment is for the whole life of the project and must include the entire project as reasonably anticipated.”

Ms. McClenaghan will file the formal procedural request on behalf of the organizations on Tuesday afternoon.

Some of the groups requesting the hearings be suspended include: Greenpeace, Northwatch, Huron-Grey-Bruce Citizens Committee on Nuclear Waste, Save our Saugeen Shores, Beyond Nuclear, International Institute of Concern for Public Health, Bruce Peninsula Environmental Group, Algonquin Eco Watch, Sierra Club Canada, Citizens for Alternatives to Chemical Contamination, Canadian Coalition for Nuclear Responsibility, and Bluewater Coalition.

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For more information:
Theresa McClenaghan, Canadian Environmental Law Association, 416-662-8341
Paula Lombardi, SisKinds LLP, 226-236-1146
Brennain Lloyd, Northwatch, 705-493-9650