Federal government wants questions answered concerning alternative nuclear waste locations

TORONTO—The federal government is far from being satisfied with a report from Ontario Power Generation (OPG) on burying nuclear waste on the shoreline of Lake Huron. The OPG had indicated in a report that the Lake Huron shoreline would be the best place to bury radioactive waste. But the report failed to provide the information, nor alternative locations to bury the waste, that the government had requested, federal environmental authorities say.

Subsequently, the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency (CEAA) criticized the utility’s (OPG) report as being inadequate in a detailed letter and document.

“The good news is that the (CEAA) has noticed that OPG has once again not provided the information that they should be,” stated Brennain Lloyd, of North Watch. “The bad news is that it appears they (CEAA) are going to be giving OPG another chance and deadline to answer these questions and provide the information required.”

“These jokers (OPG) have been told the guidelines, the information requested, and even hired independent experts to help with providing the additional information required and have not done any of this,” said Ms. Lloyd. “So this is round five of OPG being told to provide information being requested (by CEAA). At some point the agency needs to be given the order by the Environment Minister (Catherine McKenna) that they have been turned down on their entire application for not providing the information that has been requested. They (OPG) are wasting everyone’s time, and money.” She noted the extension for the OPG to provide the information required appears to have no timeline.

The OPG report came after Environment Minister Catherine McKenna asked the utility in February of 2016 to provide information on, among other things, the feasibility of burying the low or moderately radio-active waste elsewhere.

In response, OPG insisted the Bruce Nuclear plant near Kincardine was the best location for its proposed deep geologic repository-a massive underground rock bunker about 1.2 kilometres from Lake Huron. The OPG had said that it would be cost-prohibitive and more dangerous to truck the hazardous waste elsewhere.

“The plot continues to thicken,” stated Ms. Lloyd. “There is a letter from the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency to OPG dated April 5, 2017, indicating again that they (OPG) did not provide alternate locations as has been requested.”

OPG proposes to construct and operate the underground facility for the long-term management of radioactive waste at the Bruce nuclear site near Kincardine. The proposal calls for hundreds of thousands of cubic metres of so-called low and intermediate level nuclear waste to be buried 680 metres underground in the bedrock.

“The good news is the agency (CEAA) does not accept the OPG not providing the information that has been requested,” said Ms. Lloyd. “The bad news is that they are going to let them try again in answering all these questions-information.”

“However, the bottom line is that any day with no DGR is a good day,” added Ms. Lloyd.