Ontario Power Generation insists on burying nuclear waste beside Lake Huron: Walkom via The Star

Environment Minister Catherine McKenna keeps asking OPG to look at other locations. The utility keeps not obliging.

Credit Ontario Power Generation for this: When it comes to choosing a place to store nuclear waste, the crown corporation is consistent.

It wants to bury the stuff beside Lake Huron. Period.

And no matter how many times federal regulators ask it to seriously examine other locations, OPG respectfully rags the puck.

It makes a cursory examination and then stubbornly comes back with the same answer: Lake Huron.

It did it again this week.

The Lake Huron saga has been going on since 2005. Ontario’s nuclear generating plants produce radioactive waste that is now stored above ground. OPG was charged with finding a place to bury some of it.


Sure, the proposed 680-metre deep crypt would be only 1.2 kilometres from Lake Huron — a fact which has alarmed communities on the American side as well as many Ontarians who depend on the Great Lakes for drinking water. But OPG was adamant that the waste wouldn’t leak.

Somewhere along the line, the utility announced that it wanted to double the size of the dump. It also said it planned to store dismantled reactor parts there, some of which would remain radioactive for more than 100,000 years.

None of the highly radioactive fuel rods from Ontario’s nuclear generating plants would be stored in this particular crypt. A separate federal agency is looking for somewhere to bury these items.


It is, however, easy to understand OPG’s frustration. The utility has been at this game for years. It even found a willing municipal host — no easy task.

Still, McKenna’s environmental assessment agency was unimpressed. It told OPG its report was far too vague and ordered it to provide more information.

Which this week it did.

The latest report still doesn’t identify specific alternate sites. But as an OPG spokesperson told my colleague Jennifer Wells last year, it wasn’t asked to look at “sites,” only at “locations.”

In OPG lingo, “locations” are different from “sites.” Specifically, a “site” is a location with a willing municipal host. And right now, the only Ontario municipal politicians willing to bury nuclear waste are those in the Kincardine area.

This week’s report says all that is needed to seal the deal is the support of local First Nations.

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