Ottawa Citizen groups from across the country have formed a new network to fight plans to bury high level radioactive waste in the Canadian Shield. Nuclear waste has long been considered the Achilles heel of nuclear power. The nuclear industry sees deep geological disposal as a way of burying its biggest public relations problem.
Canadian Shield communities will not sacrifice the environment and their childrens health in order to solve the nuclear industrys public relations problem. Deep geological disposal has more holes than a sieve -- it cant contain radioactive waste for the hundreds of thousands of years necessary, said Brennain Lloyd, Coordinator of Northwatch, a coalition of environmental groups in north-eastern Ontario.
In spite of a federal environmental assessment recommendation to create an impartial radioactive waste agency, the Chretien government gave control of the Nuclear Waste Management Organization (NWMO) to Canadas nuclear industry -- Ontario Power Generation, Hydro Québec New Brunswick Power, and Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd. (AECL). The NWMO has a three-year mandate to recommend its preferred option for high level radioactive waste by November 2005. The NWMOs first year has just ended, and a major discussion document is expected by the end of this month.
The federal government has put the fox in charge of the henhouse. Theres a democratic deficit on radioactive waste and nuclear power in Canada. said David H. Martin, Policy Advisor for the Sierra Club of Canada. There are already 40,000 tonnes of high level radioactive waste at Canadian nuclear sites. That amount will more than double unless a phaseout plan is confirmed before Canadian reactors reach the end of their operating lives in the next 15 years.
Nuclear Waste Watch is calling for a federal/provincial environmental assessment and a free vote in parliament on radioactive waste management options and the NWMO recommendation. Pending these reviews, Nuclear Waste Watch says waste should be kept in secure, monitored and retrievable storage.
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
David H. Martin, Sierra Club of Canada
Tel: 905-852-0571 (Uxbridge, ON)
Brennain Lloyd, Northwatch