Former nuclear scientist slams idea to bury radioactive waste
Published Wednesday, September 10, 2014 6:14PM EDT
A former nuclear scientist says a plan to bury radioactive waste near Lake Huron is "idiotic" and "dangerous."
Dr. Frank Greening was the star witness at federal hearings into the proposed nuclear waste facility on Wednesday.
Greening is no fan of plans by Ontario Power Generation (OPG) to bury 200,000 cubic metres of nuclear waste under the Bruce Power site near Kincardine.
"Mines are dangerous places, radioactive waste is a dangerous substance. You put the two together and you are increasing the danger, you know, tremendously," says Greening.
Greening spent 20 years as senior nuclear scientist with Ontario Hydro, now OPG.
He believes his former employer has underestimated the radioactivity and overall danger of the waste they plan to bury 680 metres underground but also within a kilometre of Lake Huron.
"Burying it here is just asking for trouble, so close to this beautiful lake, it's idiotic," says Greening.
But the idea is not idiotic to OPG or the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, who approve of the plan.
"The top environmental protection agency in the United States also Michigan's equivalent to our Ministry of the Environment have both looked at our studies and come to the same conclusion that there would be no adverse effects of burying low and intermediate level waste at this depth in the rock," says Neal Kelly of OPG.
Many people at these extended federal hearings into the project believe public sentiment will be enough to sway the panel.
"We have 125 resolutions from municipalities in Canada and the U.S. opposing the Kincardine nuclear waste dump and the majority opposing a nuclear waste dump anywhere in the Great Lakes basin," says Beverley Fernandez with the group Stop the Great Lakes Nuclear Dump.
The hearings continue until the end of next week.
The federal review panel isn't expected to have a decision on the project for several months.