Federal Environment Minister Puts a Halt on Nuclear Waste Dump Ontario Power Generation Must Do Additional Studies

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[dropshadowbox align=”none” effect=”lifted-both” width=”280px” height=”” background_color=”#ffffff” border_width=”1″ border_color=”#dddddd” ]ENVIRONMENT MINISTER’S STATEMENT IS POSTED ON THE CANADIAN ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT REGISTRY. CLICK HERE FOR THE PUBLIC NOTICE. CLICK HERE FOR THE LETTER TO OPG. An excerpt, from Catherine McKenna: “After considering the Joint Review Panel Environmental Assessment Report, the Minister has requested that the proponent, Ontario Power Generation, provide additional information on three aspects of the environmental assessment: alternate locations for the project, cumulative environmental effects of the project, and an updated list of mitigation commitments for each identified adverse effect under the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, 2012 (CEAA 2012). Ontario Power Generation has been asked to provide the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency, by April 18, 2016, with a schedule for fulfilling the information request.”[/dropshadowbox]Federal minister of Environment and Climate Change Catherine McKenna issued directions to Ontario Power Generation yesterday to carry out additional studies to support their request for an approval of a controversial plan to bury radioactive wastes right beside Lake Huron. The Minister has determined that more information is required before she can make an environmental assessment decision. “This is a good decision”, said Brennain Lloyd, Project Coordinator with the environmental coalition Northwatch. “It points out some of the key failings of the Ontario Power Generation’s environmental assessment studies, and signals that the Minister is not satisfied with the conclusions of the Joint Review Panel who reported to the Harper government last year. The Minister needs to take charge of this file, and it certainly looks like she is prepared to do that”. McKenna had previously extended the timeline for issuing a decision statement on Ontario Power Generation’s proposal to bury up to half a million cubic metres of radioactive wastes beside Lake Huron to March 1st, after the previous government delayed their own pre-election deadline to just weeks after their successors, the new Liberal government, came to office. Ontario Power Generation’s proposal was to bury 200,000 cubic metres of low and intermediate level radioactive wastes produced during reactor operations deep underground in a series of underground caverns carved out of limestone. Weeks before the federal hearing began in September 2013, OPG publicly acknowledged its intention to double that amount by adding decommissioning wastes – including radioactive reactor components and contaminated building materials and rubble – through a license amendment after approval based on the initial proposal has been issued. OPG spokesperson Neal Kelly, in an e-mailed statement to the London Press, said the utility is committed to conducting the requested technical, environmental and economic studies. “OPG understands the sensitivity of decisions around nuclear waste and respects the minister’s request for further information to inform a science-based decision . . .” The proposal faces large and growing public opposition. 184 municipalities representing more than 22 million people have passed resolutions opposing OPG’s proposed waste repository. On November 5, 2015, a bipartisan group of six U.S. Senators and 26 U.S. Representatives from a number of Great Lakes states wrote to Prime Minister Trudeau urging him to block the deep geological repository. [author ]About Northwatch Northwatch is the regional coalition of environmental and citizen organisations and individual members in northeastern Ontario. Founded in January of 1988, Northwatch has as a priority regional issues. In addition to acting on these issues as a representative body, Northwatch provides support to local citizen’s groups addressing these and other environmental concerns in their community. Northwatch is currently working with members and member groups to improve forest management, promote community involvement in mine monitoring and management, and prevent northeastern Ontario from becoming the receiving ground for foreign wastes, including Toronto’s garbage, Ontario’s biomedical waste, Canada’s nuclear reactor fuel waste, and PCB’s from around the world. [/author]

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