8 REASONS TO STOP THE DGR
When the Joint Review Panel issued its report recommending the government approve OPG’s plan to build a nuclear waste dump on the shore of Lake Huron, SOS Great Lakes asked the Federal Court of Canada to quash the report. In a brief submitted to Hon. Catherine McKenna, the newly appointed Minister of the Environment and Climate Change, SOS Great Lakes outlined 8 primary reasons why the Minister should deny OPG’s plan.
Instead of conducting actual geologic research, which is the global standard, OPGs plan is largely derived from projections based on computer modeling – a poor substitute for physical science.
Canadian Environmental Law and process require OPG to study alternative sites to the project and alternative means to permanently store the waste. Despite the fact that no alternative sites were studied, and no other means of disposal were considered, the Joint Review Panel found OPGs plan to be the best. There was no mention of it being the only plan.
PROOF OF SUSTAINABILITY
The precautionary principle and proof of sustainability are important elements of an Environmental Assessment. Despite basing its model on the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in New Mexico (WIPP), a plant which has remained closed due to a fire in 2014, OPG, with the acceptance and support of the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission and the JRP continue to treat the WIPP as a successful precedent for their proposal.
PUBLIC HEALTH AND SAFETY
Despite Environmental Impact Statement Guidelines for baseline health data from which to compare future health data, the JRP allowed OPG to minimize this step. They also permitted OPG, in its contingency planning, to ignore severe climatic events; unplanned malfunction or accidents such as the fire that closed the WIPP or other events that had caused serious unplanned failures at other DGRs in the world.
See our article on Accidents, Malfunctions, Malevolent Acts, and Related Contingency Plans for more details, or view the PDF version of this Issue Report here.
The Canadian Environmental Assessment Act mandates consultation and co-operation of an Environmental Assessment with the United States, U.S. states and Canadian provinces bordering the Great Lakes St. Lawrence basin, and the federally recognized U.S. tribal governments in the Great Lakes Region. Many Great Lakes States, and politicians at the Federal and State levels, oppose this project. Close to 200 municipalities lining the Great Lakes basin have passed formal motions opposing this project.
Public acceptance is a prerequisite for all nuclear waste projects in Canada. Despite that, the Mayor of Kincardine, Ontario, the host community and an employee of Ontario Power Generation, signed the host agreement prior to consulting with the public. The ensuing public consultation consisted of a single ambiguous and misleading question prefaced with a highly biased preamble, which would not be considered reliable by any accredited public opinion survey standard. In return for this support, OPG pledged $35 million to local municipalities and more to the county government.
The JRP Report contains nearly 100 conditions which rely on biased entities to fulfill.
REGULATORS AND REGULATED
OPG, Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission and the Joint Review Panel worked together. The relationship between the regulated and the regulators has been far too close throughout this process. Incredibly, CNSC President Michael Binder, in attendance at a secret and unlawful meeting of local mayors, was quoted years before the public hearings saying he hoped their next meeting would be the ribbon cutting ceremony for DGR1.