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Agency fails OPG on its nuke dump homework

From The Times Herald

We hope this isn’t how Ontario Power Generation operates its Bruce Peninsula nuclear power plant and pray it manages its nuclear waste storage facility much better, no matter where and when it gets permission to do so.

As we've pointed out previously, when the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency asked the electrical utility whether it had considered any alternatives to the nuclear waste dump it has proposed near Kincardine and far too near Lake Huron, OPG’s answer consisted mainly of complaining that hauling the waste farther away from a fifth of the world’s fresh surface water would be more expensive.

The Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency has assessed OPG’s answer. It agrees with everyone whose lives and livelihoods depend on the Great Lakes that “it would cost more” was no answer at all to the question of whether a better, safer, more logical and reasonable site could be found.

Because of that, OPG’s permit application is on hold again while it answers more questions from the CEAA. The letter from the agency to Ontario Power reads like a high school English teacher’s critique of the worst written-at-the-last-minute student essay.

OPG, for instance, answered that trucking the waste elsewhere would result in more vehicle exhaust emissions. The environmental agency wants to know how much, and whether that offsets the risks of a waste site to close to Lake Huron.

OPG answered that it “assumed that waste rock in the crystalline alternative location would not be acid generating.” CEAA asked how it could come to that assumption, since geologists at the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources say otherwise — and beside, wouldn’t investigating be better than assuming?

OPG answered that animals would be harmed if it built its waste repository at the inland site it identified. CEAA officials want to know if the rare and endangered turtles and snakes at the Kincardine site would be harmed.

We could keep going.

Ultimately, the environmental agency suggests that OPG hasn’t done its homework. More than that, “the agency finds that the selection of the preferred alternative locations is based on limited criteria, and that differences among locations that have not been clearly described.”

In other words, OPG prefers the cheap site over the better site for no other reason than profit.

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