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E-M:/ STUPAK VOICES CONCERNS ON CANADIAN NUCLEAR WASTE




REP. BART STUPAK

Michigan's 1st

 

 

For Immediate Release                                                         Contact: Alex Haurek

October 19, 2006
                                                                    (202) 225-4735, (202) 374-4779

 

STUPAK VOICES CONCERNS ON CANADIAN NUCLEAR WASTE

 

WASHINGTON
- Congressman Bart Stupak (D-MI) today wrote the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission raising concerns about a proposal to install a repository for low and medium level nuclear waste in Kincardine, Ontario, less than one mile from the shores of Lake Huron.  

 

"While I have yet to hear all the details of this proposal, I have serious concerns about burying radioactive materials so close to our
Great Lakes," Stupak said.  "One would hope that the Canadians would be willing to cooperate to find a site that poses less of an environmental risk."

 

Ontario Power Generation (OPG) has applied for regulatory approval to construct a Deep Geologic Repository (DGR) for the disposal of low and intermediate-level radioactive wastes that are currently generated at the Bruce Nuclear Site in Tiverton as well as waste imported from other nuclear facilities in
Ontario.

 

Low level waste consists of industrial items that have become contaminated with low levels of radioactivity during maintenance at nuclear generating stations. This can include mops, rags, floor sweepings, clothing and tools. While low level waste may be safely handled by workers using normal industrial practices and equipment without any special radiation protection, medium or intermediate level wastes are radioactive to a level where shielding is required to protect workers handling the materials.  Beyond the waste from the Bruce Nuclear Site, the proposed repository would also hold waste produced from the continued operation of OPG-owned nuclear stations at Bruce,
Pickering and Darlington, Ontario.

 

"The
Great Lakes and their watershed are a critically important resources to both the United States and Canada," Stupak's letter notes.  "Given the location of this proposed project, there is the potential for significant risk to the environment, ecology, wildlife, and water quality of the Lake Huron region." 

 

Stupak noted that the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission will be holding a public hearing on Monday, October 23rd in
Kincardine, Ontario.

 

 "As the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission considers this proposal, I would appreciate any information you can provide regarding the environment and public health concerns that may arise from locating this facility so close to Lake Huron," Stupak's letter requests.

 

"According to a 2002 Detroit News article, plant officials have acknowledged that ground water near area homes has tested positive for radioactive waste," Stupak's letter continues.  "By building a permanent storage facility in an area that is already plagued by radioactive contamination, I am concerned that the danger to
Lake Huron and its watershed will increase."

 

"
Canada is a vast country with sprawling landmass," Stupak's letter notes.  "An alternative location for this nuclear material should be investigated."

 

Individuals wishing to provide comments on the proposed DGR site can send them to:

Michael Rinker

Environmental Assessment Specialist

Environmental Assessment and Protection Division

Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission

P.O. Box
1046, Station B

Ottawa, ON

K1P 5S9

 

In
Washington, Stupak is recognized as a leader in protecting the Great Lakes.  Stupak was the author of legislation that banned underwater oil and gas drilling in the Great Lakes.  He also took a lead role in opposing a Canadian company's plans to sell water from the Great Lakes to China.   Stupak's district, Michigan's First Congressional District, contains approximately half of the state's land mass and 1,613 miles of shoreline - more than any other Congressional District in the nation except Alaska.

 

# # #

 

NOTE
: The full text of Stupak's letter is attached.

 

NOTE
: For a radio actuality, dial: 202-225-0157.

 

 

 

October 19, 2006

 

Michael Rinker

Environmental Assessment Specialist

Environmental Assessment and Protection Division

Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission

P.O. Box
1046, Station B

Ottawa, Ontario  K1P 5S9

 

Dear Mr. Rinker:

 

The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission will be holding a public hearing on Monday, October 23rd regarding the Ontario Power Generation Company's proposal to construct a Deep Geological Repository (DGR) on the Bruce Nuclear Site in
Kincardine, Ontario.  Although I am still learning the details, I am concerned that the proposed facility will be located too close to Lake Huron and its watershed.

 

The
Great Lakes and their watershed are a critically important resource to both the United States and Canada.  It is important that we work together to protect this shared resource.  Given the location of this proposed project, there is the potential for significant risk to the environment, ground water, ecology, wildlife, and water quality of the Lake Huron region.  Canada is a vast country with sprawling landmass.  An alternative location for this nuclear material should be investigated.

 

With the large amount of high-level waste that is already temporarily stored at the site, the permanent DGR storage of low and intermediate-level radioactive waste from the Bruce,
Pickering, and Darlington nuclear plants will only add to the current public health and environmental concerns.  According to a 2002 Detroit News article, plant officials have acknowledged that ground water near area homes has tested positive for radioactive waste.  By building a permanent storage facility in an area that is already plagued by radioactive contamination, I am concerned that the danger to Lake Huron and its watershed will increase.

 

I support nuclear energy and understand the issues associated with the responsible disposal of nuclear waste.  Nonetheless, I believe that locating a permanent underground storage facility less than a mile away from
Lake Huron and its watershed raises significant concerns.  The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission and the Ministry of the Environment should thoroughly investigate these concerns and eliminate any current potential risks that may be associated with storage of radioactive waste and contamination.

 

I look forward to working with officials on both sides of the border to find a reasonable solution to this issue. As the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission and the Ministry of the Environment consider this proposal, I would appreciate any information that these agencies can provide regarding the environment, current radioactive waste in the ground water and all other public health concerns that have or may arise from locating this facility at Kincardine and so close to
Lake Huron. 

 

Sincerely,

 

BART STUPAK

Member of Congress

 

cc:        The Honourable Rona Ambrose, P.C., M.P.

            Minister of the Environment

            Paul Steckle

            Member of Canadian Parliament

 

 

# # #

 

Alex Haurek

Press Secretary

Congressman Bart Stupak (MI-01)

202.225.4735

alex.haurek@mail.house.gov