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A second nuclear waste storage facility has been proposed near Lake Huron

NOAA Great Lakes Environmental Research Labratory
The Fermi Power Plant on Lake Eerie

A high level nuclear storage facility has been proposed at two Canadian sites, one near Lake Huron.

US Lawmakers raised concerns last week about the proposed facility, saying hazardous waste should not be stored near the Great Lakes.

The storage facility would house Canada’s high-level nuclear waste - which experts say remains radioactive for roughly one million years.

One location being considered is near Lake Huron. Another possible site would be north of Minnesota.

Ben Belfadhel is the vice president of site selection at the Nuclear Waste Management Organization. He said currently nuclear waste is being stored at interim sites near the Great Lakes in both Canada and the US. He said that is not a long term solution.

“Doing nothing is not an option,” he said. “We owe it to future generations to provide them with a long term solution.”

Belfadhel said a long term nuclear storage facility will protect the lakes, not endanger them. NWMO has been searching for a suitable site since 2010

Fred Kuntz is with Ontario Power Generation, which has proposed a separate nuclear storage facility near Lake Huron for low and intermediate level nuclear waste. He said the region is well suited for long-term storage.

“If you go down far enough you get to these limestone formations that are virtually impermeable,” he said. “A molecule of water, if it appeared in that stone, would take 300-thousand years to move the length of your arm. That’s considered a good rock to isolate waste.”

Ontario Power Generation’s proposal for a storage facility is awaiting a decision next month from the Saugeen- Ojibway nation. That site would be within tribal territory.

NWMO hopes to have its site selected by 2023.