August 23, 2017 3:00 pm

Mixed messages from London city council on nuclear waste bunker

This Nov. 1, 2013 photo shows rows of chambers holding intermediate-level radioactive waste in shallow pits at the Bruce Power nuclear complex near Kincardine, Ontario.

THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP Photo-John Flesher
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London city council finds itself in an unusual position regarding a proposed nuclear waste storage site near Lake Huron.

READ MORE: Federal government accepts new info on planned nuclear-waste bunker near Lake Huron

The group Stop the Great Lakes Nuclear Dump requested Mayor Matt Brown add his name to a list of 93 mayors calling on the federal government to reject a planned underground nuclear waste bunker near Kincardine.

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Council voted Tuesday evening against adding Brown’s name to the list but, as Coun. Harold Usher pointed out, four years ago the previous council signed a resolution opposing the project.

“From my perspective, we’ve already agreed to this. I do respect the argument that is being placed here, but it’s an argument that we are starting all over again,” said Usher.

“We have already written the Ministry about this – that we are supporting that it does not go there.”

While council voted against adding Brown’s name to the list of mayors against the plan, the vote does not reverse the decision from 2013.

READ MORE: Survey showing support for nuke waste bunker near Lake Huron ‘misleading’

Some councillors, meantime, spoke in favour of the plan by Ontario Power Generation (OPG).

“I think there is a lot of misinformation that goes around this,” said Stephen Turner.

“The nuclear waste repository — this isn’t high-level radioactive waste. This is low to intermediate waste. This is rags and gloves and contaminated equipment, this isn’t cooling rods and things like that.”

“Just the general idea if you think about the headline ‘Nuclear waste beside Lake Huron,’ it sounds bad,” added Jesse Helmer. “But there’s nuclear waste beside Lake Huron now, it’s just above ground. Now, we’re talking about putting it above ground in a safer place.”

In late June, the proposal from OPG moved a step toward a final decision after federal authorities announced they were satisfied with additional information provided to them.

The Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency said the public will get a chance to comment on both the draft and any conditions before a final decision, now expected by the end of the year.

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