Media Release: Provincial Parties will weigh in on future of Lake Huron nuclear waste burial

Media Release

Kincardine, ON – At least three of Ontario’s political parties will step in on the future of the underground radioactive waste dump Ontario Power Generation (OPG) wants to build beside Lake Huron, according to the results of a policy survey released by civil society organizations today.

“The Liberals, NDP and Greens all acknowledge they will need to address growing public opposition to OPG’s plan to bury its radioactive waste next to Lake Huron. The Progressive Conservatives indicated in a follow-up communication that they are open to more information,” said Theresa McClenaghan, executive director at the Canadian Environmental Law Association.

OPG’s proposal to bury its radioactive waste below the Bruce nuclear site on the shores of Lake Huron has experienced growing opposition on both sides of the Canada-U.S. border.

Over 50 Canadian and American municipalities and 56,000 individuals have also registered their opposition through petitions and resolutions. In Canada Windsor MP Brian Masse has tabled a motion in the House of Commons calling for a suspension of the project and a review of the regulator oversight of such projects. In the United States Michigan legislators asked President Obama to intervene and stop the dump.

“This is a radioactive hot potato for the next Ontario government. These survey results show the provincial parties for the most part acknowledge that the decision on whether to bury OPG’s radioactive waste next to world’s largest source of fresh water will ultimately be a political decision,” said Brennain Lloyd of Northwatch.

The survey asked whether parties would direct OPG to halt its burial plans and commission and then submit an independent review of alternatives to waste burial at the Bruce site to the Legislature. In response:

  • The Liberals said they’ll consider the results of the federal environmental review currently underway before they “determine whether additional processes need to be initiated.”
  • The NDP noted its “serious concerns” about the project and said it would “commission an independent examination of alternatives to the proposed nuclear burial site and consult with community groups.”
  • The Green Party said it would suspend OPG’s efforts and “commission an independent examination of alternatives to” the project and “submit the findings to the Legislature.”
  • The Progressive Conservatives referred to their Million Jobs Plan and asked for more information, indicating they are open to further discussions after the provincial election.

A controversial federal environmental review of the project has been extended because of OPG’s failure to examine alternatives, disclose the volume and types or radioactive waste planned for the site, and how long the underground repository could contain the radioactivity.

OPG will also need the approval of the Ontario government to pass the costs back to electricity consumers. OPG’s 2012 estimate put the cost at over $2 billion, before doubling the size and volume of waste.

The survey was distributed by the CELA, Greenpeace, Northwatch, Citizens’ Clearinghouse on Waste Management, the Inverhuron Committee, the Huron Grey Bruce Citizens Committee on Nuclear Waste and Save Our Saugeen Shores.

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For more information:

Documents and links are at;
Download party leader questions and responses: ELECTION2014-OPG-DeepGeologicRepository_Response-Summary

Theresa McClenaghan, Canadian Environmental Law Association, cell 416 662 8341
Brennain Lloyd, Northwatch, tel 705 497 0373 cell 705 493 9650