Radioactive waste dump beside Ottawa River?
A proposal for a giant disposal facility for radioactive waste on the Ottawa River near Chalk River, Ontario is raising the ire of local residents and citizens’ groups.
A consortium of multinational companies is behind the proposal, currently under review by the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission. If approved, the 30–hectare “Near Surface Disposal Facility” would dispose of up to one million cubic metres of low- and medium-level radioactive waste in a huge mound up to 25 metres high, about 1 km from the Ottawa River, at the Canadian Nuclear Laboratories.
The project description, posted on the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency website, notes that the facility would include wastes from “commercial activities”. In addition to being radioactive, some “mixed” wastes could contain PCBs, arsenic and mercury. Construction of the facility could begin as early as 2018.
Local citizens’ groups say that the proposed site is unsuitable for a dump of any kind, given its proximity to the Ottawa River, a source of drinking water for millions of Canadians. They also point out that the site is near a major fault line, and on top of fractured and porous bedrock through which groundwater flows rapidly into the Ottawa River. These and other points are covered in a fact sheet prepared by concerned citizens entitled “Ten things Canadians need to know about the Chalk River Near Surface Disposal Facility” (https://sites.google.com/site/concernedcitizensrca/near-surface-disposal-facility/ten-things-canadians-need-to-know).
(Dr) Ole Hendrickson,
Concerned Citizens of Renfrew County and Area