Potential nuclear waste threat to Great Lakes at Canadian border

United States congressman Dan Kildee is speaking out against a Canadian plan to store millions of tons of radioactive waste less than a mile from Lake Huron.

Some activists say storing nuclear waste so close could jeopardize the health of Michigan residents, and billions of dollars in economic activity.

Although Lake Huron is a shared water basin, the U.S. has no legal standing in what is essentially a Canadian decision.

However, Democratic Congressman Dan Kildee said the U.S. has a long and cooperative relationship with Canada, and that Canada is seeking America’s input.

“Though we don’t have legal authority to prevent it, we just think logic would dictate a different location – something that’s not just a few hundred yards away from the shores of Lake Huron – must be more logical to find a different location,” he said.

Kildee said he hopes the Canada-U.S. relationship helps negotiating a different location to store the nuclear waste.

“We just want to make sure that our opinions are considered if they’re asking for input,” he said. “This is not meant to create anything of a contentious nature with the Canadian or Ontario government, but it’s important that our voices be heard. And if we object, we need to make our objections well-known.”

Most of all, Kildee said, it’s important to consider residents’ health and Michigan’s economy when storing nuclear waste so close to shore.

“Michigan’s economy is very much dependent on a healthy Great Lakes, whether it’s for tourism or maintaining our fisheries, those are more obvious,” he said. “We define ourselves in Michigan by being surrounded by the Great Lakes; it is the thing that uniquely separates us.”

Kildee said access to clean Great Lakes water is vital to Michigan industries and communities.

The Great Lakes is the world’s largest fresh water source. Officials say some 40 million people in the U.S. and Canada depend on the Lakes as a source of freshwater.

In addition, Kildee said the Canadian government is getting (quote) “very” close to a final decision.