Permanent nuclear waste dump idea sparks unease in southern Ontario

  • Permanent nuclear waste dump idea sparks unease in southern Ontario

    TORONTO - A community on the shores of Lake Huron has cracked open the door to southern Ontario's becoming the permanent storage site for Canada's spent, but still dangerously radioactive, nuclear fuel.

    Until now, only nine communities in remote areas of northern Saskatchewan and northern Ontario were in the running to host the $24-billion project for a mammoth underground facility.

    Now, to the consternation of some, one of southern Ontario's premier tourist destinations is on the radar, although how it got there is already the subject of dispute.

    The municipality of Saugeen Shores, which includes the picturesque lakeside towns of Port Elgin and Southampton about three hours west of Toronto, is showing interest in becoming home to the waste site.

    Neighbouring Brockton is also looking to get on board as part of an initiative to involve the entire county, which is already home to the Bruce nuclear power plant in nearby Kincardine.

    "It's a radical departure from what conventional wisdom has been for years: that (the waste) would go in the Canadian Shield," said Chris Peabody, a Brockton councillor from Walkerton, Ont.

    "Councils up here are freaking out about wind energy, but they're inviting a nuclear waste dump into their town."

    The region is attractive as a waste site because 40 per cent of used nuclear fuel in Canada is already housed above ground at the Bruce generating plant.