U.S. senator plans legislation dealing with proposed OPG nuclear waste dump

A Michigan senator wants to invoke a U.S.-Canada treaty to prevent construction of a nuclear waste disposal facility about one kilometre from Lake Huron.

DETROIT — A Michigan senator wants to invoke a U.S.-Canada treaty to prevent construction of a nuclear waste disposal facility about one kilometre from Lake Huron.

Sen. Debbie Stabenow says she’s seeking a study by the International Joint Commission of risks the project might pose to the Great Lakes.

The commission was established under a 1909 treaty between the U.S. and Canada to resolve disputes over shared waterways.

The Michigan Democrat’s bill would order the U.S. State Department to ask Canada to delay a decision on the waste facility until the study is finished.

Ontario Power Generation wants to bury hundreds of thousands of cubic metres of so-called low- and intermediate-level nuclear waste 680 metres underground at a site near Kincardine, Ont.

The company says there’s virtually no chance the project will contaminate the lake, but opponents say anything could happen over thousands of years.

An advisory panel endorsed the plan in May, but a group opposed to the billion-dollar project launched a court challenge arguing the panel was biased, failed to consider Canada’s international obligations, and violated Canadian environmental rules. Federal Court won’t hear that case until next year.

Approval of the project rests with Environment Minister Leona Aglukkaq, who has said she’ll make a decision by Dec. 2, ostensibly to allow for public input on any conditions that should be imposed.