Levin, Stabenow Introduce Senate Companion to Kildee House Resolution Opposing Permanent Storage of Nuclear Waste in Great Lakes Basin

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., today introduced a Senate resolution urging the administration to oppose a Canadian proposal to build a permanent nuclear waste repository in the Great Lakes Basin. The measure is a companion resolution to one introduced by Rep. Dan Kildee, D-Flint, earlier this month. The Senate resolution is co-sponsored by Sens. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., Mark Kirk, R-Ill., and Tammy Baldwin, D-Wis.

"Canada's proposed nuclear waste storage facility, less than a mile from Lake Huron, would not only threaten our precious lakes, but it could also be disastrous for the health of our citizens and our economy," Levin said. "For over a century, the U.S. and Canada have worked together to protect our shared water, and we need to make sure that decisions we make about permanently storing nuclear waste continue our history of careful stewardship of our lakes."

"Michigan's Great Lakes are an invaluable resource that must be protected from the threat of Canadian nuclear waste," Congressman Kildee said. "Permanently burying nuclear waste less than a mile from Lake Huron would put the world's largest fresh water source at risk and jeopardize billions in economic activity each year. I will continue to work with Senator Levin and a growing number of legislators in both the House and Senate to ensure that such a permanent storage facility is not built so close to our shared water resources."

"Canada's proposed nuclear waste dump on the shores of Lakes Huron puts our Great Lakes at risk of radioactive contamination that could have devastating consequences for future generations," said Stabenow. "I have expressed my strong objections to the Canadian government directly, and today's resolution puts additional pressure on the Canadians to stop this plan."

Ontario Power Generation has proposed to build a permanent repository for nuclear waste less than a mile from Lake Huron in Kincardine, Ontario. This close proximity to the lake, Levin and Kildee argue, could be disastrous if an accidental spill were ever to occur. The highly toxic waste can take tens of thousands of years to decompose to safe levels.

The Canadian government has expressed similar concerns in the past. In the 1980s, the U.S. Department of Energy studied potential sites for a permanent nuclear waste repository in the United States, and the Canadian government expressed concern with locating the permanent repository within the countries' shared water basins.

The resolution urges the President and Secretary of State to work with their counterparts to prevent a permanent nuclear waste repository from being built within the Great Lakes Basin. It further states that the U.S. and Canada should develop a safe and responsible solution for the long-term storage of nuclear waste.

Kildee's House resolution is co-sponsored by Reps. Sandy Levin, D-Royal Oak, Gary Peters, D-Bloomfield Twp., and Brian Higgins, D-N.Y.

Over 40 million people in Canada and the United States get their drinking water from the Great Lakes.