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Lawmakers ask State to fight nuclear disposal plan via The Detroit News

Washington — A bipartisan group of lawmakers from Great Lakes states wrote to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Tuesday, urging him to stop the Canadian plan to build a nuclear waste repository less than a mile from Lake Huron in Ontario.

The letter – led by Michigan Reps. Debbie Dingell, D-Dearborn, and Dave Trott, R-Birmingham – follows a report last week by Ontario Power Generation supporting its plan for an underground storage facility for low- to mid-level nuclear waste near Kincardine, Ontario. The company has sought approval for the project for more than a decade.

Thirty-two members of Congress, including 13 from Michigan, signed the letter, saying they want the power utility to choose another location outside the Great Lakes Basin, noting that 35 million people (24 million of them Americans) rely on the freshwater lakes for drinking water.


The administration of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau had asked OPG to review the possibility of relocating the project. It did, finding that alternate sites, while technically feasible, would increase environmental impacts and costs, delay the project up to 40 years and offer no added safety benefits.

Selecting an alternate site would mean as much as $2.6 billion in additional costs and delays of 15 to 40 years, considering the time and expense of constructing and licensing a new nuclear facility, and repackaging and transporting the waste there, OPG spokesman Kevin Powers said.

The company’s preferred location is at an existing nuclear facility where the waste is currently stored above ground in warehouses 100 yards from the site, Powers said.

“While price and time are factors, there’s also additional risks in any of the other proposed alternate projects around all the repackaging and transportation. All of that would add risk to the project,” Powers said.


OPG has also committed to not move forward with the project without the consent of the Saugeen Ojibway Nation, an aboriginal group on whose territory the site is located. “We are in active talks with them right now,” Powers said.

The U.S. lawmakers noted that 186 local, county and state governments representing more than 23 million people in the U.S. and Canada have approved resolutions opposing OPG’s proposed site near Lake Huron, citing concerns about water contamination.

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