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Public Statements

Letter to Joint Review Panel Secretariat, Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission - Ontario Nuclear Waste Site near Great Lakes Potentially Threatens Both U.S. and Canada's Economy, Water Resources

Letter

By:
Date:
Location: Unknown

Congressman Dan Kildee (MI-05) today expressed "significant concern" over plans by a Canadian energy corporation to store nuclear waste less than a mile from Lake Huron. In a letter to the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, Congressman Kildee was joined by other members of the Michigan delegation imploring the Joint Review Panel to consider alternative locations for the site.

"Millions of people -- both in the U.S. and Canada -- depend on fresh water from the Great Lakes for drinking, fishing, and tourism. Every year, the Great Lakes pump billions of dollars into the economy and support thousands of good-paying jobs," the letter reads. "Lake Huron, which together with Lakes Superior, Erie, Michigan and Ontario constitute the largest group of freshwater lakes on earth, comprise 21 percent of the world's surface freshwater. If the Great Lakes were to be contaminated with nuclear waste, it would cause significant damage to this vital natural resource," the letter continues.

"Our state's livelihood depends on preserving the Great Lakes. Not only do they propel Michigan's economy through fishing and tourism, our beautiful lakes also provide sanctuary and serenity to millions of visitors from all over the world each year," Congressman Kildee said. "Like all Michiganders, I have vivid memories of family vacations up north on the pristine shores of our state. I now have the great honor of representing Lake Huron and towns along the water in Congress, and I will always fight to preserve our beautiful freshwater lakes from harm."

The letter to the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission comes as the panel is closing its public comment period on the proposed site. Congressman Kildee's letter is also signed by Rep. Gary Peters (MI-14), Rep. Sander Levin (MI-12) and Rep. John Dingell (MI-13).

The underground nuclear waste storage facility, proposed by Ontario Power Generation, would store approximately 52 million tons of radioactive waste from Ontario's 20 nuclear reactors. The plans include burrowing nuclear waste 2,200 feet underground near Kincardine, Ontario, a small town with just over 11,000 people.

The facility would be built in the Great Lakes basin and, in the event of an accident, could also threaten a large supply of the world's freshwater resources. Lake Huron, along with Lakes Superior, Erie, Michigan and Ontario, constitute the largest group of freshwater lakes on earth, comprising over a fifth of the world's freshwater resources.

Full text of the letter is below.

--

October 30, 2013

Joint Review Panel Secretariat -- DGR

c/o Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission

P.O. Box 1046, Station B

280 Slater Street, Ottawa, ON K1P 5S9

Dear Joint Review Panel:

We are writing to express significant concern about a proposal to store 52 million gallons of low and intermediate level nuclear waste near the U.S.-Canadian border and less than a mile away from Lake Huron.

Millions of people -- both in the U.S. and Canada -- depend on fresh water from the Great Lakes for drinking, fishing, and tourism. Every year, the Great Lakes pump billions of dollars into the economy and support thousands of good-paying jobs. Lake Huron, which together with Lakes Superior, Erie, Michigan and Ontario constitute the largest group of freshwater lakes on earth, comprise 21 percent of the world's surface freshwater. If the Great Lakes were to be contaminated with nuclear waste, it would cause significant damage to this vital natural resource.

This nuclear storage facility is anticipated to remain radioactive for centuries; as a result, it will impact the people of both countries for perpetuity. For this reason, an environmental assessment focused on the location of this facility should be made with great caution and deliberation. Neither the U.S. nor Canada can afford the risk of polluting the Great Lakes with toxic nuclear waste.

Finally, we ask that you continue to work with federal, state, provincial and local governments on both sides of the border as you evaluate this decision to help guarantee the protection of the Great Lakes. Although we recognize Canada's right to decide its own energy future, this storage facility could jeopardize water resources shared by both countries. Thus, we ask that you continue to explore all other locations for this site, including constructing it outside of the Great Lakes basin.


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