Nuclear Waste: The Ottawa River needs our help
How do you feel about 1,000,000 m3 of radioactive waste in an "engineered landfill" beside your Ottawa River?
This is what the Canadian Nuclear Laboratories (CNL) have proposed for their Chalk River site. They hope to build a permanent facility to accommodate nuclear waste from all over the country. There is no expiry date on this project – if it goes through, the Ottawa Valley has to live with it for thousands of years. We have to get it right. We have to have all the facts on the table. We have to be able to react accordingly.
AECL, a crown corporation, has been accumulating nuclear wastes at Chalk River for decades. Now, they want to build a new disposal site near the Ottawa River, 200 km northwest of Ottawa.
Here is what we know: Some of the waste will be radioactive for thousands of years; the footprint of the site could cover 70 NHL rinks; the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) is almost 1,000 pages long, it is extremely technical and is not available in French, despite tens of thousands of francophones living downstream; the timeline for public consultation on the EIS is very tight and there is little opportunity for the public to present facts and independent opinions to the decision-makers; and the site is subject to frequent seismic activity, which could cause leaks.
How many years will your tax dollars be spent monitoring the massive engineered dump that could slowly leak into the Ottawa River?
May 17 is the deadline for submitting comments on the Environmental Impact Statement. We hope to attend the CNSC hearing in January, where we will represent you and your concerns.
In January 2018, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (our country’s nuclear regulator and nuclear promoter) will review the Environmental Assessment and make a final decision on whether the project will have a significant adverse impact on the environment. There will be no independent panel review of the project. If approved, construction could begin as early as 2018.