Nuclear waste problems elsewhere – Canada, Lake Huron, Bruce County

Canada’s nuclear waste will be deadly for 400,000 years.
What town would like the honour of hosting it?

With his wife, Fran, Tony McQuail operates a lush organic farm near Lucknow, Ontario, within hailing distance of Bruce Power, the world’s largest nuclear power facility. The plant’s grounds, on the shores of Lake Huron, are also the place where nearly half of Canada’s nuclear fuel waste is “temporarily” stored. McQuail says,

“What they’ve done, would be like me piling up decades’ worth of my operation’s waste, which is to say shit, and leaving it out by the road. If I piled any quantity of shit out there and left it with no disposal plan, I’d be shut down and condemned within weeks. And here’s an industry with the capacity for global devastation, with no permanent plan for their garbage, the most dangerous stuff on Earth, and they’re allowed to keep producing it indefinitely.”


A portion of the Bruce Power facility. “A” is the Bruce B power station; “B” marks low-level waste storage buildings; the triangle is the location of a proposed Deep Geological Repository for low- and intermediate-level waste. A search is under way for a separate DGR site to house high-level waste—the spent fuel from Canada’s nuclear reactors. (Peter Andrew for The Globe and Mail)

There is in fact a plan for that waste. A federally mandated body, the Nuclear Waste Management Organization (NWMO), wants to bury it in what the nuclear industry calls a Deep Geological Repository, or DGR. First, though, the organization must complete its quest—in effect, a competition, although the NWMO doesn’t see it that way—to find a municipality that will serve as a “willing host” for the repository. Among the contenders for the distinction are the municipalities of Huron-Kinloss, South Bruce and Central Huron, all of them close neighbours to Fran and Tony McQuail.

If it doesn’t seem like a competition any municipality would want to win, consider that spending on the project will likely run as high as $24 billion. And, the construction phase aside, the jobs involved are not the sort that will last only until another, perhaps cheaper, location is found. According to the NWMO’s plan, 400,000 years or more will pass between the point at which the waste is buried and the happy day when any sort of safety sticker is likely to be affixed to the vast toxic grave. […]

Read much more here: Toronto Globe and Mail

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