Radioactive Waste storage in the Great Lakes basin

Find out more about Canada’s plans for the long-term management of used nuclear fuel from the Nuclear Waste Management Organization, including information related to long term storage, security, transportation, public safety, and emergency management

Recent Developments:

Responses to the report released in May 2015:


For 40 years, nuclear generation has provided about half of Ontario’s electricity, primarily through Ontario Power Generation (OPG). Over the past 10 years OPG has been working on a plan to store low and intermediate level waste, like products and equipment used in reactor buildings that may have collected some radiation during use. OPG has studied and consulted on the creation of a deep geologic repository (DGR) to meet this need with the intention of implementing a safe, permanent solution to manage nuclear waste. The DGR would be located at the secure Bruce nuclear site on the shores of Lake Huron.

Review OPG’s position here:

Find the case against the dump, including a citizen petition with over 70,000 signatures, at Stop the Great Lakes Nuclear Dump.

FOCA’s position:

FOCA is concerned about any adverse effects to human health or the environment, including Lake Huron and the Great Lakes, from the proposed long-term storage of nuclear waste in the subject location, about one kilometre inland from the shore of Lake Huron, and 700 meters below ground, just north of Kincardine, ON.

In general, FOCA concurs with the Canadian Environmental Law Association, in that:

  • Regardless of our respective opinions about the merits of the technology, a common goal must be a strong, reliable, publicly credible regulatory process for this industry and there is major room for improvement in this sphere in Canada’s regulatory system
  • Increased participation rights, transparency, access to information, and ability to probe and test evidence should be improved and made routine, and an aim of all of the regulators and decision makers should be to increase public confidence in the Canadian system.

FOCA concurs with the motion circulated by Sarnia Mayor Mike Bradley in late 2012, asking the 90 members of the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative for no low-level waste site to be approved until it’s been debated by “all government bodies including federal, provincial and municipal, and representatives from the United States.”

Earlier News:

November 18, 2014: DGR Joint Review Panel announces close of public comments, with receipt of over 1900 submissions since January 2102. Due to the “numerous significant, complex and technical documents,” the final report from the Panel to the Minister of the Environment will extend beyond the 90 day period, to no later than May 6, 2015Read the letter from the Panel, here. (pdf; 2 pages)

September 18, 2014: Senators Stabenow, Kirk, Levin and Baldwin introduce resolution 565 in US Senate that Canadian government should not allow a permanent nuclear waste repository to be built within the Great Lakes Basin. Click here to read the Resolution (PDF; 3 pages, courtesy SR. 565 is a companion resolution to HR. 716 that was recently introduced in the US House of Representatives.

Additional Joint Review Panel public hearings on the proposed Deep Geologic Repository (DGR) for Low and Intermediate Level Radioactive Waste ended September 19th. Review the schedule of presenters and archive of webcast proceedings posted by Canada’s Nuclear Safety Commission, here…

June 2014: Provincial Parties will weigh in on future of Lake Huron nuclear waste burial. This recent article published by CEA and Northwatch is the latest account of where the Ontario Provincial parties stand, and also catalogues the perspectives from interested stakeholders on both sides of the border.

March 25, 2014 – More information about nuclear waste storage needed following an accident at a site in New Mexico. Toronto Star

March 2014 – The Joint Review Panel has announced that more hearings will be held, once the Panel completes its review of responses from Ontario Power Generation, related to the Panel’s additional requests for information from November 2013. Following receipt of these answers and further hearings, the Panel will make its report to the Federal Government, leading to a decision by federal cabinet to approve the plan, or not. Read the Notice to Interested Parties here (pdf; 2 pages).

October 2013: Public hearings ended.

Sept.17, 2013 – David Suzuki speaks against Great Lakes Nuclear Dump. Read the press release… (pdf; 2 pages)

Sept.13, 2013 – read the Toronto Star article, “Kincardine nuclear waste site debate heats up.”

Sept.12, 2013 -read the Globe and Mail article about OPG plan to bury nuclear waste near shores of Lake Huron.

June 2013: Deep Geologic Repository Joint Review Panel (pdf; 14 pages). The deadline to indicate public interest in commenting was July 5, 2013.

May 24, 2013: the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative, a group of 103 Canadian and US mayors from the region, released a statement in opposition to the Deep Geologic Repository (DGR) proposal for nuclear waste, and the end of the public comment period. Read the release (pdf; 3 pages)…

May 2013: FOCA comments on Nuclear Waste storage on the Great Lakes – FOCA is concerned about any adverse effects to human health or the environment, including Lake Huron and the Great Lakes, from the proposed long-term storage of nuclear waste about 1 km inland from the shore of Lake Huron, and 700 meters below ground, just north of Kincardine, ON. FOCA responded to OPG’s call for Public Comments until May 24/13; read FOCA’s comments (pdf; 1 page). Also read the submission (pdf; 62 pages) from the organization called Stop The Great Lakes Nuclear Dump.


Terry ReesRadioactive Waste storage in the Great Lakes basin