CLARINGTON – Port Granby residents are sounding the alarm that new wind turbines could dangerously impact the low-level radioactive waste being moved in their area.
“Four proposed turbines are very close to the radioactive waste … The community is really concerned,” said resident Kulpreet Khurana. “A big question is how compatible are these two projects?”
But wind turbines do not create wind, according to Charles Edey, president of Leader Resources Services Corp. The company pointed to a Californian study that showed wind turbines in fact reduce soil mobility and stabilize soil erosion.
“A wind turbine is not a fan, it doesn’t blow air around,” said Mr. Edey. “We take energy out of the air.”
He added the company is aware of the Port Granby Project and is working with officials there. Mr. Edey said the two projects are compatible.
“The first wind turbines are all around nuclear energy (plants) where radioactive material is being transported and is in operation,” said Mr. Edey. “Your situation here might sound unique but it’s not.”
The Port Granby Project will move historic low-level radioactive waste and contaminated soils from the current site on the receding shoreline of Lake Ontario to an above-ground facility 700 metres away on stable land.
The soil relocation has been in planning stages for years. Work recently began on road improvements in the area. There will be two years of conventional road construction and site preparation before the moving of the contaminated waste begins in 2014. Moving the waste is expected to take five years.
In February, Leader Resources Services Corp. announced the first details of its plan for four 150-metre wind turbines in Port Granby. The 10-megawatt project has since been expanded to include a fifth turbine – further from the Port Granby site.
“We’re afraid the Port Granby Project is an initiative of the federal government and the wind turbines are an initiative of the provincial government and Port Granby may fall through the cracks,” said Heather Rutherford, from Clarington Wind Concerns. “There’s no mention of the wind turbines in the Port Granby Project and there is no mention of the Port Granby Project in the wind turbine proposal.”
Residents are worried about the turbines’ impact on dust control and whether the vibrations would impact the mound.
“This is crazy, it’s like putting a fan beside an ashtray,” said Gerry Mahoney from the South East Clarington Ratepayers Association.
Neighbours are not calling for a halt to moving the radioactive material, but want the wind turbine approval delayed by the provincial government until the project is finished. They also want research done before the wind turbines are erected in 2013 and operating near the project.
The organization running the Port Granby Project, the Port Hope Area Initiative, recently announced it will be hiring a consultant to study the impact of wind turbines on air movement in the area.
“The project will undertake stringent dust monitoring throughout the duration of the eight-year construction period, so we need to understand if there are impacts that could affect the environment or our ability to effectively monitor and control dust,” Port Granby project director Dave Smith said in a press release.
Clarington council asked the Ontario government to delay the wind farm project until a study on compatibility can be completed.
|Wind Watch relies entirely
on User Funding