---- Reminder: Candidates oppose radioactive dump
Community organizations opposed to the construction of a massive radioactive waste dump near the Ottawa River were supported by some federal candidates. The groups asked candidates in 13 ridings if they would initiate a regional assessment under the federal Impact Assessment Act to look into radioactive waste, nuclear decommissioning and the remediation of contaminated lands in the Ottawa Valley. Seven from the NDP and Greens and one Independent agreed to push for a regional assessment.
The groups also asked candidates if they would oppose plans for a million-cubic-metre radioactive waste disposal facility at Chalk River and a reactor entombment at Rolphton, Ont., both near the Ottawa River.
Of the 16 candidates who replied, almost three-quarters (11) said they oppose the plans or had serious concerns. They included the Bloc’s Geneviève Nadeau and PPC’s Mathieu St-Jean (Gatineau).
Directly across from the proposed waste facilities, candidates in the Pontiac all responded, including: NDP's Denise Giroux who pledged to oppose these “irresponsible” waste management plans and added she would “refuse to stand idly by, as the former MP did, while these projects forge ahead. Nearly 40 Indigenous groups, along with 6 million people downstream from these projects. . .have objected.”
Bloc Québécois's Gabrielle Desjardins said her party opposes to “any risk of contamination with nuclear waste .... The option as proposed at Chalk River is not acceptable and is not sufficiently safe.”
“It’s time to rethink a nuclear waste dump less than one kilometre from the Ottawa River,” said Green Shaughn McArthur. “The mound uses geomembranes and a cover that will disintegrate over time, whereas the waste can be dangerous for hundreds of thousands of years.”
Conservative Michel Gauthier opposed the nuclear waste facility at Chalk River: “This project is far from social acceptability and should not go ahead until alternative sites, far from populated regions, are studied and the population has been clearly informed.”
Liberal Sophie Chatel did not oppose the dump but said she would monitor it “extremely closely”, and called for it to be “rigorously monitored to ensure that no radioactive materials leach into the Ottawa River.”
Both projects are proposals of Canadian Nuclear Laboratories, owned by SNC-Lavalin and two Texas corporations under contract to the federal government. The contract was signed in 2015 by the Harper government -- during the federal election campaign -- and was renewed last year by the Liberal government.
Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd. annual reports show contractual amounts spent by the federal government on radioactive waste management, nuclear decommissioning and contaminated sites, through the CNL contract, have tripled from $332 million in 2016 to $955 million in 2020.
Eva Schacherl, CANDOR