Oregon city council on Monday will consider a resolution in opposition of a proposed deep geologic repository for low and intermediate level radioactive wastes near Kincardine, Ontario or any other underground repository constructed near the shore of any Great Lakes or connecting waterways.
“The City of Oregon strongly values the water quality of Lake Erie and the Great Lakes,” states the resolution.
Ontario Power Generation is proposing to construct an underground long term burial facility for all of Ontario’s low and intermediate radioactive waste at the Bruce Nuclear Generation Station, some of which is “highly radioactive and much of which will remain toxic for over 100,000 years,” states the resolution.
“A couple years back, they were actually going to ship some of the radioactive materials overseas, and there was a lot of opposition to that, so that eventually kind of died,” Councilman Sandy Bihn said at a committee of the whole meeting on Monday. “But this facility up at Bruce in Ontario keeps coming back and wanting to do these practices.”
Michigan has a law that prohibits the release of radioactive materials in the Great Lakes,” added Bihn.
The site is less than one mile inland from the shore of Lake Huron and about 440 yards below lake level. It is approximately 120 miles upstream from the main drinking water supply of southeast Michigan and approximately 145 miles upstream from the Toledo/Oregon drinking water intakes.
“Since we’re downstream from Lake Huron, I think it would be appropriate as a community that we would not want to have radioactive waste in the Great Lakes, especially something upstream from our community,” said Bihn.
This type of repository is not found anywhere else within the Great Lakes Basin, according to the resolution.
Lake Huron via the St. Clair River/Lake St. Clair and the Detroit River supplies 95 percent of Lake Erie’s water.
Placing a permanent nuclear waste facility so close to the Great Lakes is “ill advised,” states the resolution.
“The potential damage to the Great Lakes from any leak or breach of radioactivity far outweighs any benefits that could be derived from burying radioactive waste at this site. The ecology of the lakes, which is valuable beyond measure to the health and economic welfare of the entire region, should not be placed at risk by strong radioactive waste so close to the shoreline,” states the resolution.
“I’m very in favor of this resolution,” said Councilman Jerry Peach.
“Protecting the purity of the Great Lakes is probably one of the most important tasks for the legislators at the city and state level throughout the Midwest,” said Councilman James Seaman. “As time goes by, the water source from the Great Lakes is going to become more and more important for purposes of economic development. It’s going to revive the Midwest part of this country as time goes on.”
“That’s absolutely correct,” said Bihn, who is also Western Lake Erie Waterkeeper. She said several counties in Michigan have passed similar resolutions.
“I was called and asked if we could do it for here in Lake Erie. In the next couple of days, I will be doing it in the Cleveland area and elsewhere,” said Bihn.
She recently contacted State Representative Mike Sheehy to ask if he can look into whether Ohio can pass a law similar to Michigan’s if it does have one on the books.