For immediate release – Monday, October
Groups Warn Canadian
Radioactive Waste Dump
on Lake Huron Would
Contacts: Kevin Kamps, Nuclear Info. & Resource Service,
office (301) 270-6477 x14
Michael Keegan, Coalition for a Nuclear-Free Great Lakes, (734)
Dave Martin, Energy Coordinator, Greenpeace Canada, cell (416) 627-5004
Kincardine, Ontario, Canada - At public hearings on Monday in Canada,
a coalition of nearly two dozen grassroots Michigan environmental organizations
urged the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) to say “no” to
a low-level environmental assessment on Canadian nuclear utility Ontario Power
Generation’s (OPG) proposed radioactive waste dump, just over half a mile
from the shore of Lake Huron, at its sprawling Bruce nuclear power complex.
Bruce is just 50 miles east, across Lake Huron, from the tip of Michigan’s “Thumb.”
“This unprecedented scheme to permanently dump radioactive
wastes on the Lake Huron shoreline threatens future
generations downstream for hundreds of thousands of years,” said Kevin Kamps of watchdog group Nuclear Information
and Resource Service.
“Such extreme risks demand the highest level of
scrutiny and independence – not the low-level environmental assessment
proposed by the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission,” said Alice Hirt of
Don’t Waste Michigan in Holland.
OPG’s proposal calls for burying all of the so-called
“low” and “intermediate” level radioactive wastes from
20 atomic reactors (8 at Pickering and 4 at
Darlington, near Toronto; 8 at Bruce) in the Province of Ontario
on the Lake Huron shoreline. By comparison, Michigan has 5 atomic
reactors, four still-operating, and one permanently shut down. Most of Michigan’s so-called “low” level
radioactive wastes are dumped at a leaking site in Barnwell,
South Carolina, as well as in Clive,
Utah, although some is known to be buried at
the local garbage dump in Waters Township in Otsego County,
just south of Gaylord.
Many Michigan towns and cities,
such as Bay City, Port Huron,
Detroit, and Monroe,
draw their drinking water from Lake Huron and points downstream – the St.
Clair River, Lake St. Clair, the Detroit
River, and Lake
“My constituents depend upon the Great
Lakes as a source for drinking water. I am very concerned
about this dump leaking radioactive contamination into Lake Huron and the
potential downstream impacts this leak could have on our supply of clean
drinking water,” said U.S. Congressman John Conyers of
Michigan’s 14th District representing parts of Detroit and the
Downriver area. Conyers is the ranking member of the House Judiciary Committee.
The battle against the proposed dump has been joined by 23 Michigan environmental groups concerned about trans-boundary
risks of radioactive contamination of the Great Lakes.
U.S. Congressman Bart Stupak has written to the CNSC and Canada’s Environment Minister
expressing his concern about the proposal, and has asked the U.S. Environmental
Protection Agency and the U.S.-Canadian International Joint Commission to
“In the 1980s and 1990s, Don’t Waste Michigan stopped
a scheme by 8 U.S. states to
dump their radioactive wastes in Michigan,”
said Michael Keegan of Coalition for a Nuclear-Free Great Lakes in Monroe. “We
won’t sit idly by as the Canadian nuclear establishment attempts to
create a nuclear sacrifice zone in the heart of the Great
A national coalition of Canadian environmental organizations is
also fighting the proposed radioactive waste dump. The local indigenous Saugeen
Ojibway Nations are also calling on the CNSC for the proposed low-level
environmental assessment to be upgraded to a Panel Review, the highest level
environmental review under Canadian federal legislation.
coalition of 72 grassroots groups, representing over 200,000 Michigan
citizens, is very concerned about the precedent of a permanent dump for
radioactive waste anywhere on the Great Lakes shoreline,” said James
Clift, Policy Director at Michigan Environmental Council (MEC) in Lansing.
The CNSC hearing will be held on Monday, October 23, 2006, in Kincardine, Ontario,
Canadian and Michigan environmental groups
will call on CNSC to: expand the study area to include downstream communities
on the Great Lakes in Canada
and the U.S.A., especially Michigan; include a worst-case accident scenario
involving leakage of radioisotopes from the dump into Lake
Huron; consider alternatives to current large-scale radioactive
waste incineration at the Bruce nuclear complex.