On Thursday, January 26, Ontario Power Generation (OPG) will be seeking permission from the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) to continue to store high-level radioactive wastes at the Darlington Nuclear Station in conventional warehouse buildings on the shore of Lake Ontario; and build new waste storage buildings even closer to the edge of the lake.

We need to tell the CNSC that OPG’s plan is unacceptable. Continuing to use conventional warehouse structures to store deadly waste and building more of them right on the edge of the lake is not taking the safety of millions of residents seriously.

OPG should be listening to the International Joint Commission’s Great Lakes Water Quality Board which is calling for OPG to build “hardened” storage facilities away from the Lake Ontario shoreline.

It is time for OPG to shift from its “cheap and insecure” style of waste storage to the much more secure solution that has been adopted by German nuclear stations: above ground, attack-resistant, reinforced concrete vaults. OPG has the cash: According to a report prepared for OPG, the total capital cost of building reinforced concrete vaults at Darlington would be approximately $333 million. Meanwhile, OPG’s nuclear waste storage fund has a market value of $11.3 billion.

There is no good reason for the CNSC to accept OPG’s second-rate plan. After all, the total radioactivity of the nuclear wastes stored at the Darlington Nuclear Station is more than 150 times greater than the total radiation released to the atmosphere by the Fukushima accident in 2011.

It is time for Minister of Natural Resources Jonathan Wilkinson to remind the CNSC that it is not its job to protect OPG’s profits. The CNSC often confuses the nuclear industry’s interests with its own safety mandate. This has to stop, and ordering OPG to build proper hardened storage facilities away from the lake is a good way for the CNSC to demonstrate that it is taking nuclear safety seriously.

The CNSC will be holding a one-day virtual hearing on Thursday, Jan. 26 starting at 9 a.m. You can click here to watch the hearing. We’re scheduled to make our oral submission in the afternoon.

What you can do

Please contact Natural Resources Minister Jonathan Wilkinson and the President of the CNSC, Rumina Velshi, and tell them to put safety first by directing OPG to immediately build above-ground, attack-resistant, reinforced concrete vaults, away from the Lake Ontario shoreline.

Send your message here

Thanks for your help!

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