Canadian plan to bury nuke waste near lakes is wrong

Unbelievable. That’s our assessment, and the opinion of many others, of a proposal being advanced by a Canadian company to store toxic nuclear waste in a limestone chamber near Lake Huron.

Ontario Power Generation has taken fire since from both sides of the border since it rolled out this dubious proposal several years ago. More recently, company officials submitted proposals for additional sites after being ordered to do so by the Canadian Ministry of Environment and Climate Change. According to The Associated Press, none of the alternative sites were deemed better.

In recent stories, AP reported the location preferred by Ontario Power Generation is on the grounds of the Bruce Power Generating Station near Kincardine, Ontario. It’s the world’s largest nuclear power complex, which has eight reactors. The proposal calls for burying low- and intermediate-level waste such as clothing, brooms and discarded machinery — some of which could remain dangerously toxic for thousands of years — about 2,230 feet underground.

AP noted the waste would be encased in a limestone formation that the company says has been stable for 450 million years. The storage chamber would be much deeper than Lake Huron and the company says there is virtually no chance of radioactive pollution reaching the lake, which is less than a mile away.

Ontario Power Generation, however, stops short of guaranteeing anything. That should tell you a lot.

With upwards of 40 million people depending on the Great Lakes for drinking water and the ability of limestone to stand up to the type of use envisioned uncertain, it’s difficult to see why this ridiculous plan continues to hang around, the company’s convenience aside, of course.

The Mining Journal has used this space in the past to oppose the plan and we are doing so again. This is one mistake that can be avoided. Ontario Power Generation must find a different place to bury its nuclear garbage.