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Ontario Power Generation wins top Weenie award

Ontario Power Generation has won this year's Weenie Award for environmental degradation thanks to its plan to build a deep underground dump to store radioactive waste near Lake Huron.

By The Windsor Star, June 25, 2008

Ontario Power Generation has won this year's Weenie Award for environmental degradation thanks to its plan to build a deep underground dump to store radioactive waste near Lake Huron.

The award was presented by the Citizens Environmental Alliance at a ceremony at Rock Bottom Bar and Grill Tuesday night.

OPG beat out previous nominee federal environment minister John Baird and Dupont Chemical.

"It's a very significant issue right now in the Great Lakes Basin," said CEA research and policy director Derek Coronado of the deep underground dump, which the group referred to as DUD.

"They are going to build this only one kilometre from the largest fresh water resource on the planet."

OPG was declared the winner after those in attendance were given a chance to boo each of the nominees, and the response was measured on a "Weenie-O-Meter."

The plan is to centralize nuclear waste from the province's nuclear power generation plants in one place near the town of Kincardine. The waste is currently stored at the nuclear sites in casks.

"Once a facility like this is built it is more than likely going to be the permanent site," said Coronado, noting that it could end up as a primary nuclear waste dump for all of Canada.

Such an underground storage site has never been attempted before and Coronado said the potential for widespread disaster and contamination of drinking water means the plan shouldn't go ahead.

He said the environmental assessment process is too short and OPG is trying to keep public awareness of their plans to a minimum.

"Any contamination of the Great Lakes and we're all in serious trouble," said Coronado.

The CEA has asked for a six-month extension of the public comment period for the plan's environmental assessment.

Several municipalities around the Great Lakes have expressed concern about the plan.

Coronado said the province should be moving away from nuclear power but instead recently announced plans to build new reactors at Darlington east of Toronto.

"The best way to take care of nuclear waste is to not produce it," Coronado said.

Baird was nominated for his government's greenhouse gas regulations and DuPont was nominated for its refusal to limit production of teflon and food packaging that utilizes a chemical that is shown to cause cancer.

Winners of two environmental achiever awards were also announced at the ceremony.

Past CEA president Lisa Tulen and the gardening co-operative FedUp! Windsor were presented with framed commemorative certificates.

Peche Island Day

The Citizens Environment Alliance is organizing a public event where people will be ferried to Peche Island for picnics and guided tours.

Scheduled for July 12 from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. there will be free boat transportation provided leaving from Lakeview Park Marina at 9200 Riverside Dr. E.

There will be snacks and beverages available and the last boat leaving to bring people to the island will depart at 1 p.m.

Copyright (c) The Windsor Star