Michigan Delegates Unaware of Canadian Great Lakes Nuclear Waste Sites

IR 2002-08
INVERHURON, Ontario – May 16, 2002
Michigan Delegates Unaware of Canadian Great Lakes Nuclear Waste Sites

Delegates to a Citizens for Alternatives to Chemical Contamination (CACC) conference held May 10-12, near Clare, Michigan have expressed concern about U-S nuclear waste in sites throughout the Great Lakes basin. But U-S nuclear waste facilities are by no means the only sites holding radioactive waste, as the convention learned.

Most delegates were completely surprised to hear about a high level waste storage area being built at the Bruce nuclear facility in Ontario, Canada. The high level storage area is part of the Western Waste Management Facility (WWMF) at the Bruce nuclear facility, the operated by Ontario Power Generation (OPG) on the Lake Huron Shoreline in Inverhuron, 50 miles from the Michigan coastline.

The realtively unknown Bruce nuclear complex is huge. It has been called the largest combined nuclear power site in the world, with 9 reactors (four operating, two more coming back on line, two mothballed and one decommissioned), a low level radioactive waste incineration plant (the only production facility of its kind in Canada), low and medium level waste storage sites (taking in radioactive waste from OPG reactor sites across Ontario) and a high level waste storage site now under construction.

The high level waste storage area will store up to 20,000 tons of nuclear waste, produced by the Bruce nuclear reactors. Over the next two decades, the reactors are expected to produce another 20,000 tons of high level radioactive waste for storage. That would make storage at the Bruce site about half the size of the Yucca Mountain facility, which is proposed to hold 77,000 tons of radioactive waste.

Add to the WWMF high level storage the existing and projected high level waste produced at OPG reactors at Pickering and Darlington nuclear facilities on Lake Ontario, and you have the equivalent of Yucca Mountain, above ground on the Canadian shoreline of the Great Lakes.

While some U-S Great Lakes politicians appear to support Yucca Mountain on the basis that it will serve to clear radioactive toxic waste from the Great Lakes basin, they have failed to factor in the Canadian reality.

Said one delegate to the CACC conference: “These are international bodies of water! How can such waste sites be established without international consultation?”

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