Michigan congressman urging Canada to reconsider storage site of nuclear waste

A Michigan Congressman is fighting to change the proposed location of a Canadian storage facility for nuclear waste.

About 52 million tons of nuclear waste must be buried somewhere, and the proposed location to bury the byproduct right now is in Kincardine, Ontario. The town is about 150 miles away from Detroit and sits at the shores of Lake Huron. 

Congressman Dan Kildee of Michigan has announced his efforts to try to get the storage location moved. 

"Something that is not so close to the greatest freshwater source on the planet might be a better location. In the vast land resource that Canada has, we're just asking that they consider another site, just as they did back in the 1980s when the United States was considering a storage facility 26 miles from the St. Lawrence Seaway," Kildee told FOX 2's Roop Raj on-air Friday. 

"We understand that their science indicates that this should be a safe site, but what we've seen in other instances - such as a case of Carlsbad, New Mexico just in February - a presumably safe site is subject to human error. Things happen; there have been radioactive material released," he added. 

Kildee is urging people to consider the longterm effects a natural disaster could bring on.

"We are not the last inhabitants of this planet, and we need to think very carefully. This nuclear material would be radioactive for ten thousand years," he says. "It's easier to change a design on a sheet of paper than it is to move nuclear facilities after they're in the ground."

He is also looking to get support from other officials in Ohio and New York. 

The Canadian government has said it is following all safety protocols in the disposal of the byproduct, and does not need approval from the U.S. to move forward. 

Kildee says President Obama's administration has not yet weighed in on the issue.

In a statement on its website, the Ontario Power Generation is responding to the feedback saying, "Very favourable geologic features make the Bruce site in Kincardine one of the best possible locations for storing low and intermediate-level waste. Experts agree, it's the responsible choice and reflects international best practices."

Monday, Kildee says he plans to file a resolution officially asking the Canadian government to reconsider. Then, a Canadian review panel will or will not recommend the company moves forward with the storage at the Bruce site. 

If the location is approved, construction for the facility will begin May 6.