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Canadian company seeks new site to bury nuclear waste

By JOHN FLESHER

AP Environmental Writer

TRAVERSE CITY– A power company is reconsidering its options after dropping plans to bury waste from its nuclear plants on the Canadian shore of Lake Huron, officials said Wednesday.

Ontario Power Generation abandoned its 15-year campaign to permanently store the waste in a deep underground chamber in Ontario after members of the Saugeen Ojibway Nation voted overwhelmingly last week to reject it. The company had pledged not to move forward without the tribe’s support.

“We’re going to continue to look for lasting solutions,” communications manager Fred Kuntz said. “Lessons learned is part of our culture.”

The company long contended that placing low- and intermediate-level waste such as discarded parts and ashes from incinerated floor sweepings inside rock chambers 2,230 feet below the earth’s surface was the safest way to secure them. The preferred site was at the Bruce Power generating station near Kincardine, Ontario.

Company officials said the material would be entombed far below Lake Huron’s greatest depths in the vicinity. But because the preferred site was less than a mile from the lakeshore, it drew wide opposition from Canadian activists and many elected officials in the U.S.

“Nuclear waste remains radioactive for thousands of years, and burying it next to the Great Lakes would have threatened our economy and clean drinking water for over 40 million people,” said U.S. Rep. Dan Kildee.