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Fight continues over underground nuclear waste disposal near Lake Huron

Bruce Power
Ontario Power Generation

Controversy still swirls around a Canadian company's plan to bury low- and intermediate-level nuclear waste a little more than half a mile from the shores of Lake Huron.

Opponents of the proposal have slammed a study Ontario Power Generation recently submitted to the Canadian environment ministry.  

OPG's study concluded that the Bruce Nuclear site near Lake Huron is the right place for an underground nuclear waste repository.

But critics say the company didn't study the feasibility of any specific alternative sites, as Canada's minister of Environment and Climate Change requested. 

"They want to bury the most lethal materials humans have every created right beside the drinking water of 40 million people," said Beverly Fernandez, spokesperson for Stop the Great Lakes Nuclear Dump, a group that opposes OPG's plan. "And they didn't consider any other sites."

Fernandez said instead of studying actual alternatives to the Bruce Nuclear site that were not near a wetland or Great Lake, they presented two vast geologic regions covering most of Ontario.

OPG spokesperson Kevin Powers does not disagree about what the study examined.

"We looked at two large geologic and geographic regions which would be able to technically and economically hold a deep geologic repository," said OPG spokesperson Kevin Powers.

But Powers said the company believes it was responding to the request of the minister of the Environment and Climate Change.

"Perhaps there is a distinction between our understanding of the request from the Minister and that of our critics," said Powers. "Ultimately it's going to be up to the minister of the Environment and Climate Change to determine whether or not we've met her criteria."  

Fernandez said that whatever process is followed, burying radioactive nuclear waste near Lake Huron will always be a bad idea.

Virginia Gordan has been a part-time reporter at Michigan Radio since fall 2013. She has a general beat covering news topics from across the state.