“My preference would be for additional review of alternative sites further away from Lake Huron,” (Michigan Senator ) Hopgood said. ...“If in the future the need arises to address high-level waste, it may just make a whole lot of sense to change the nature of the current operating existing facility.” from "Michigan state Senate says Ontario nuclear waste site ‘raises serious concerns’" by John spears, Toronto Star, May 23, 2013, below)
Nuclear waste, whether of low, medium and high levels of radioactivity, is and will continue to be a political football being kicked down the field as long as there is no technology that will assure contaiment for the thousands of years required.
Moving this low and medium waste site away from the Great Lakes seems only reasonable, and Canadians owe a debt of gratitude to the Michigan Senator who has brought these concerns to light, even if the public comment period has already been extended by some ten months.
His red warning flag that the site could be morphed in a storage site for high level radioactive spent fuel rods also bears serious consideration by the Ontario Power Generation. Their spokesman, Neal Kelly, calls the Michigan Senate resolution 'benign', the last word that could be legitimately applied to the construction of this site, as presumably Kelly would like it to be.
Rethink, re-work and re-submit a proposal that respects the parameters of the Michigan position of construction further away from the Great Lakes....these are reasonable and honourable suggestions, before the site is under construction, and they are in the best interests of the people of both Canada and the United States, whose people not only share a long undefended border, they also literally 'drink the same water'....
Michigan state Senate says Ontario nuclear waste site ‘raises serious concerns’
The proposed site, a Senate resolution notes, is less than 1.6 kilometres from the Lake Huron shoreline and “upstream from the main drinking water intakes for southeast Michigan.”
By John Spears, Toronto Star, May 23, 2013
State senators in Michigan say that a planned nuclear waste disposal site near Kincardine, Ont., “raises serious concerns.”
The concern is expressed in a resolution passed Tuesday by the Senate.
The senate also proposes that the public comment period on the proposal, which wraps up Friday, should be extended.
Sen. Hoon-Yung Hopgood, who introduced the resolution, said that it will be submitted to the formal comment process on the waste site.
Ontario Power Generation (OPG) proposes to construct the facility at the Bruce nuclear station beside Lake Huron.
OPG spokesman Neal Kelly characterized the Michigan resolution as “benign.”
He said the company has met with many Michigan officials and citizens to talk about the site and explain the care taken to select it.
“We based it on international best practice, we based it on scientific data,” Kelly said. “The (site) isn’t located on the shore of Lake Huron; it’s about a kilometre inland.”
“We believe it’s responsible for the safe management of low- and intermediate-level radioactive waste.”
He noted that the public comment period on the proposal has already been extended 10 months from the original deadline.
The proposed site’s proximity to the lake caught the attention of the Michigan senators.
The resolution, which carried without dissent on a voice vote, notes that Michigan rules prohibit low-level nuclear waste from being stored within 10 miles (16 kilometres) of the lakes and rivers in the Great Lakes system bordering Michigan.
“We encourage Canada to consider similar siting criteria,” the resolution says.
The proposed site, the resolution notes, is less than a mile (1.6 kilometres) from the Lake Huron shoreline and “upstream from the main drinking water intakes for southeast Michigan.”
Kelly said that Michigan law permits the construction of waste sites within 10 miles of the lakeshore if they are on the grounds of a nuclear generating plant. That’s the case with OPG’s proposed site on the grounds of the Bruce nuclear station, he said: “We’re in compliance with Michigan law.”
In an interview with the Toronto Star, Hopgood said he’d like to see the disposal site built elsewhere.
“My preference would be for additional review of alternative sites further away from Lake Huron,” Hopgood said.
OPG’s proposed site would not contain high-level nuclear waste such as spent fuel. It would contain low-level waste such as protective clothing worn by workers, and mops or towels used to wipe up spills of contaminated water.
It would also contain medium-level waste, such as used parts from the reactor core which must be packed in radiation-proof containers, and remain dangerous for hundreds of years.
All low- and intermediate-level waste for Ontario’s nuclear reactors is currently stored on the surface at the Bruce nuclear site. Spent fuel is stored on the surface at the nuclear stations where it was used.
The proposal calls for a storage site 680 metres below ground, in what OPG says are stable rock formations over 450 million years old.
A federal review panel will hold hearings on the plan later this year.
Hopgood said he’s uneasy about promises that the proposed site would store only low- and intermediate-level waste.
The Nuclear Waste Management Organization is looking for a place to store high-level waste, and promises that it will be in a separate facility.
A number of municipalities near Kincardine have expressed interest in that proposal.
“There’s talk and consideration of a separate facility (for high-level waste), but that’s not as comforting as it could be,” Hopgood said.
The low- and intermediate-level waste site is due to start operation before the high-level waste site, he noted.
“If in the future the need arises to address high-level waste, it may just make a whole lot of sense to change the nature of the current operating existing facility.”