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Proposed nuclear waste site triggers fears for Great Lakes, drinking water via The Windsor Star

Opposition is mounting to a proposed underground nuclear waste facility on the edge of the Great Lakes which critics say has potential to forever taint the waterway and the drinking water it provides.

The project proposed by Ontario Power Generation is to construct and operate a disposal site over half a kilometre deep in the earth just north of Kincardine on the grounds of the Bruce Nuclear Site.

The facility would store “low and intermediate” nuclear waste from operations of OPG owned nuclear generation plants at Bruce, Pickering and Darlington.

While there are several above ground nuclear waste storage sites near the Great Lakes, environmentalists and some politicians fear having it stored below ground makes it nearly impossible to address an accident. They say the impact would be devastating if any waste leaks into the Great Lakes.

“This location is very close to Lake Huron,” said Derek Coronado of Windsor’s Citizens Environment Alliance. “They are proposing the majority of nuclear waste from all OPG locations in Ontario be brought to this site and buried at this facility.”

It’s an unnecessary risk, he said. “The concern is they have never attempted anything like this in terms of storage of this material…. If a leak occurs, you can’t get to it without difficulty. You don’t want our drinking water downstream from somebody’s else’s waste.”

[...]

Part of the delay is attributed to an accident in February at a similar underground nuclear waste storage facility in New Mexico, which OPG admits was used as a template for its project. Seventeen workers at the New Mexico site were harmed by radiation, which was said to have drifted 26 miles — but at levels not considered dangerous.

The Bruce site nuclear waste will be under a 450-million-year-old rock formation and extend down 680 metres. That’s 127 metres more than the height of the CN Tower.

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