The Ontario Power Generation Waste Storage Facility Debacle Proves No-One Trusts Nuclear

Written By Neil McKenzie-Sutter, Posted on July 15, 2020

As much as we hear talk of how ‘safe’ and ‘environmentally friendly’ nuclear power is, if you dig with any depth into that claim you see how no regular, sane person really believes that. 

Case and point, we recently saw the withdrawal of an application by the Ontario Power Generation company for a long-pursued construction permit for a deep underground nuclear waste storage facility, on June 24th 2020. 

Reports even as late as January 2020 were saying the facility was all but ready to begin construction, but no longer. 

This facility would’ve been constructed on the Bruce Peninsula, Kincardine, Ontario,  within half a kilometer of the Lake Huron waterline, however opposition from U.S. Democrat, Rep. Dan Kildee of Flint Michigan and the Saugeen Ojibway Nation saw to it that the nuclear waste storage facility will never break ground

As the Detroit Times wrote: “Despite OPG’s (Ontario Power Generation’s) repeated assurances that the repository would be a completely safe, long-term waste storage solution, opposition to the project was nearly unanimous in Michigan.” 

Most cited the potential, however small, of the Great Lakes – the drinking water source for more than 40 million people on both the U.S. and Canadian sides – becoming contaminated with radiation.’

And so good for these people: standing up for their water supply, and everyone’s water supply, really, on the Great Lakes. 

Although,come to think about it,  what are they so worried about? The nuclear energy industry continuously warns us that nuclear power is safe and has no emissions

No emissions means no pollution, right? So nothing, no worries then. Just built that nuclear waste facility anywhere. 

For some odd reason though, the Ontario Power Generation has had difficulty finding a place to leave their waste for the next 10,000 to 1,000,000 years.

Strange, considering how safe and good for the environment nuclear energy is. You’d think communities would be scrabbling for the chance to house all that environmentally friendly nuclear waste. 

Nevertheless, apparently Ontario Power Generation has been looking for a location to build a long term storage facility for over 16 years for the waste. 

With this withdrawal of Kincardine, only the community of Ignace in Northern Ontario remains on the list, which originally contained 22 other possible locations. 

All I can say is that if I lived in Ignace, I’d be looking at options elsewhere. 

Just being realistic: after all the scientists and specialists have their say, doesn’t the fact we’re dumping all this nuclear waste thousands of miles away from civilization; the fact no community wants the storage facility near them; the fact it’s taken Ontario Power Generation 16 years to find a location for the waste, and will take longer than that, doesn’t that totally disprove the myth that nuclear is ‘green?’

Okay; maybe you want to argue that Ontario Power Generation is just doing their due diligence with finding the best location, and that’s part of it, but let’s be honest: this case with Kincardine proves 100% that no one wants to live next to nuclear waste. 

All this talk of nuclear being safe, environmentally friendly, modern; you have to keep in mind that this is just marketing talk, trying to promote the nuclear industry. 

You can’t take for granted that these people aren’t going to set up a location for nuclear waste that might harm us in some way down the road, for example: putting it in a location that could poison our water supply. 

It’s important to note in this regard that Ontario Power Generation is in fact a crown corporation that was commissioned to locate and study possible nuclear waste sites by the Nuclear Waste Management Organization. NWMO is a Canadian non-for-profit organization that was set up by the Canadian government with the express purpose of locating a nuclear waste storage location, as Canadian’s nuclear power infrastructure, the earliest of which dates from the 1960s, begins aging out. 

The true regulating body over all of the nuclear power processes for Canada, including those of safety and waste disposal, is the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission.

Let’s hope that this commission is truly up to the task of keeping Canadians, and Canada’s environment safe.  

Here’s one idea though: how about we plan ahead a little bit, and just skip nuclear altogether? 

What about oil & gas? It’s not like we’re going to run out here in Canada anytime soon, and say what you will about the pollution; at least one of the byproducts isn’t radioactive waste that lasts 10,000 years.

Neil McKenzie-Sutter

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