Senator Hoon-Yung Hopgood

Wayne County: Allen Park, Ecorse, Lincoln Park, Melvindale, Riverview, Romulus, Southgate, Taylor, Wayne, Wyandotte

Hopgood Resolution on Canadian Nuclear Waste Repository Passes in Senate

LANSING – A resolution raising concerns about the construction of a Canadian underground radioactive nuclear waste repository near the shore of Lake Huron passed today in the State Senate. Senate Resolution 58, introduced by Senator Hopgood, also recommends actions by the Canadians to address these issues, and urges Congress to help ensure Michigan's concerns are fully resolved. It passed unanimously with 26 Senators signing on as co-sponsors.

“Lake Huron and the Great Lakes are some of Michigan's most vital natural resources, containing 95% of North America’s surface fresh water and providing drinking water to tens of millions of people,” said Senator Hopgood. “This type of nuclear waste repository – planned within water-soluble limestone – is unprecedented and could present a danger to our lakes and our environment.”

Ontario Power Generation is proposing to construct an underground permanent burial facility for all of Ontario's low- and intermediate-level radioactive waste at the Bruce Nuclear Generating Station, some of which is highly radioactive and much of which will remain toxic for over 100,000 years. This site, less than a mile inland from the shore of Lake Huron and about 440 yards below the lake level, is approximately 120 miles upstream from the main drinking water intakes for southeast Michigan.

The impact of radioactive water could be devastating to Michigan, its economy and its fishing, boating, recreation, tourism, and agriculture industries that are dependent on pristine waters. Though the repository initially would not allow spent nuclear fuel, citizens have expressed concern that this high-level waste could ultimately be permitted. According to the eight-state Great Lakes Commission, the Great Lakes support 1.5 million jobs that generate $62 billion in wages annually in the region.

Michigan law already strictly prohibits the disposal of radioactive waste of any site within ten miles of the Great Lakes and certain other major bodies of water connected to them, and the resolution urges Canada to consider similar criteria. It also calls on our international neighbor to fulfill the requirements of agreements between the United States and Canada to prevent and reduce radiological contamination.