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Michigan lawmakers raise concerns about proposed nuclear waste storage near Great Lakes

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

Michigan lawmakers are raising concerns about a proposed nuclear waste storage facility near Lake Huron.

There are now two proposed nuclear waste storage facilities along Lake Huron. The resolution raises concerns about one.

Canadian officials previously stated that limestone in the region makes it ideal for the long term storage of nuclear waste.

State Senator Ruth Johnson introduced a bipartisan resolution expressing concern about a low-level facility proposed less than a mile from Lake Huron.

“We’re talking about storing this waste for a longer period of time than what we would consider modern civilization and there’s not been any study that can tell me unequivocally that this material will be safely contained for thousands of years,” she said.

Canadian officials said currently nuclear waste is being stored in temporary facilities near the lakes on both the Canadian and US side. They said that is not a long term solution.

Johnson said long term storage is important but it should not be done so close to the Great Lakes.

“If you looked at the whole country of Canada there would be safe sites there that aren’t bordering one of our Great Lakes.”

Johnson said the Great Lakes are the jewel of both the US and Canada.

“When you consider that they contain 95% of North America's surface fresh water we need to do everything we can to protect them with the resources we have.”

According to Johnson, the flush rate of Lake Huron is 100 years - so if anything leaks into the lake it would stay there for a century.

A second nuclear waste facility has been proposed near Lake Huron. It would house high level waste - which remains radioactive for roughly one million years.