CHALK RIVER NUKE WASTE DUMP - Canada's Monument to Insanity!

CHALK RIVER NUKE WASTE DUMP - Canada's Monument to Insanity!

Postby Oscar » Sun Jun 16, 2019 2:23 pm

Fight over Ottawa River nuclear waste dump getting political, but Liberals downriver standing behind the project—or staying quiet

[ https://www.hilltimes.com/2019/06/10/fi ... iet/203454 ]

By Peter Mazereeuw and Beatrice Paez, Hill Times, June 10, 2019

A plan to bury low-level nuclear waste at a site near the Ottawa River is raising opposition from municipalities and environmentalists. The company behind the project, Canadian Nuclear Laboratories, says it's safe. The Near Surface Disposal Facility proposal is in year three of an environmental assessment handled by a regulator the Liberal government is on the verge of stripping of that responsibility.

A proposed dump for low-level nuclear waste near the Ottawa River has stirred up opposition from community groups, environmentalists, and municipalities worried the waste could leach into the river that flows past about 50 federal ridings, including Ottawa Centre, the home of Parliament Hill and Canada’s environment minister, Catherine McKenna.

Members of Parliament from riverside ridings closest to the site of the proposed dump at the sprawling nuclear laboratories at Chalk River, Ont., are largely staying out of the fray. That includes Ms. McKenna, who has the final say over an environmental assessment for the project that is being conducted through a Harper-era assessment process, which she and an independent review panel have discredited.

While concerned citizen groups fret about what they see as a risk to their health and the environment, the company behind the project, Canadian Nuclear Laboratories, says it is safe. The low-level radioactive material that would go into the dump isn’t powerful enough to pose a threat to human health or the environment once it is contained there, says Meggan Vickerd, a nuclear waste remediation specialist who serves as the director of what the company calls the Near Surface Disposal Facility (NSDF) project.

The radioactive waste will be covered in an enormous mound of dirt, and water that flows off and away from the mound will be treated, she said. Groundwater from the site—were it somehow to become contaminated—naturally flows away from the Ottawa River, not toward it, and does so very slowly, allowing the company to intervene and clean it if need be, she said.

Several Liberal MPs from ridings just downstream of the site declined to comment on or be interviewed about the proposed project, as did Natural Resource Minister Amarjeet Sohi (Edmonton Mill Woods, Alta.), while two others organized or held information sessions on the subject for their constituents.

MORE. . . . .

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On Wed, 12 Jun 2019 11:17:13 -0400, Gordon Edwards wrote:

Background:

In a welcome development, this Front Page story in the Hill Times (Monday, June 10, 2019) raises the political profile of a controversial project: the huge — and permanent! — surface mound of mixed radioactive wastes, seven stories high, covering 11 hectares of land, currently planned for a site at Chalk River that is less than one kilometre from the Ottawa River.

But, contrary to the opening sentence of the article, the plan is not “to bury” radioactive waste but to pile it up in a gigantic multi-story surface heap and eventually abandon it without benefit of any rigid structures to help contain the toxic material.

The authors of the article mistakenly assert that Environment Minister Catherine McKenna has the final say on the project, which is currently undergoing an environmental assessment by the industry-friendly Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC). That is simply not true. Under the 2012 assessment legislation put in place by the Harper government, CNSC has been given absolute control over the assessment process and is the sole decider. Under the 2012 law, even the government of Canada cannot overturn a decision by the CNSC.

Except for those two glitches, the article paints a reasonably accurate picture of the Chalk River project, the so-called Near-Surface Disposal Facility (NSDF). There are two other projects currently being assessed by the CNSC – plans to “entomb” the radioactive remains of two defunct nuclear reactors, one on the Ottawa River and the other on the Winnipeg River.

All of the current — and controversial — projects for “managing” the federal government’s multi-billion dollar legacy of radioactive wastes are the brainchild of a private consortium of profit-oriented multination corporations, comprised of SNC-Lavalin and two corporate partners. The consortium was hired by the Harper government even though SNC-Lavalin was already under a 10-year ban by the World Bank because of a pattern of bribery, fraud and corruption in several countries. SNC-Lavalin is also facing criminal charges in Canada and has been investigated for alleged corruption in a number of specifically Canadian cases – criminal acts related to the Montreal megahospital, one of the Montreal Bridges, and a scheme involving illegal political donations.

With the consortium in charge, "quick and dirty" procedures became the preferred options. Instead of deep burial of radioactive wastes, we have a surface dump. Instead of dismantling and packaging the radioactive rubble from defunct nuclear reactors, we have a plan to entomb the structures by flooding them with concrete. Instead of dealing with radioactive wastes on or near the sites where the wastes were created, we have under-the-radar plans for over 2000 transports of radioactive wastes of all kinds over public roads— from Pinawa, Manitoba, from Bécancour, Quebec, from Douglas Point, Ontario, and elsewhere — bringing large quantities of radioactive wastes of all kinds— low-level, intermediate-level and high-level — to one central receiving area: Chalk River.

Through their actions, this private consortium of companies is in effect writing Canada’s radioactive waste policies without any due process, parliamentary debate, or public consultation, by simply doing whatever is most convenient for them. These projects may become a fait accompli as a result of industrial fiat, not because of any form of good governance. The consortium can get away with this because there is a policy vacuum at the federal level – there are no detailed federal policies whatsoever as to what should and should not be done with these long-lived indestructible radioactive wastes.

The Canadian government appears to be totally unaware that we are all on the threshhold of a new era, the Age of Nuclear Waste. It is totally unprepared to deal with this new era in a manner that will safeguard the health of future generations of Canadians and protect the environment from radioactive contamination for thousands of years to come.

For further background, see

FULL-PAGE AD ON PAGE 3 of "THE HILL TIMES", PUBLISHED ON MONDAY APRIL 29 2019

[ http://www.ccnr.org/Hill_Times_ad_April_29_2019.pdf ]

Parliament should investigate what Canadians have gotten for their nuclear waste funding - Gordon Edwards, Opinion, The Hill Times, May 27 2019
[ http://www.ccnr.org/Hill_Times_ltr.pdf ]

Fight over Ottawa River nuclear waste dump getting political, but Liberals downriver standing behind the project—or staying quiet - The Hill Times, June 10, 2019
[ http://www.ccnr.org/Hill_Times_art_June_10_2019.pdf ]


Gordon Edwards, PhD, President,
Canadian Coalition for Nuclear Responsibility,
http://www.ccnr.org
Oscar
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