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Coalition calls to “Make nuclear waste site Ottawa Valley election issue”

Make nuclear waste site Ottawa Valley election issue: coalition  NEWS Oct 05, 2018 by John Carter  Arnprior Chronicle-Guide A group of concerned citizens is making a concerted effort to make the proposed nuclear waste disposal at Chalk River an election issue throughout Renfrew County, especially those municipalities along the Ottawa River.The informal alliance that also includes Ottawa Riverkeeper, the Coalition Against Nuclear Dumps on the Ottawa River and two cottagers groups, has sent a lengthy letter to each municipal candidate, spelling out “major concerns” about the plan. The groups stress they’re not advocating the closure of Chalk River nuclear laboratories but want changes to proposals on how and where radioactive nuclear waste is to be disposed.

It asks candidates to support efforts to petition the federal government to move the proposed radioactive nuclear disposal site “much farther away” from the Ottawa River and to use more-secure containment methods.

“Your constituents are very worried that large amounts of radioactive waste could contaminate the Ottawa River if these plans are not changed,” says the letter. That would affect the drinking water of millions of people.

The letter points out the contract includes the requirement to “seek the fastest, most cost-effective means” to dispose of all the radioactive waste that has been accumulating at Chalk River and other federal nuclear sites. The contract also includes decommissioning and entombing the nuclear reactor at Rolphton, which the coalition calls inappropriate.

The letter says the proposed 27-acre containment “mound” will contain up to one million cubic metres of radioactive nuclear waste, including materials transported in from other Canadian decommissioned nuclear sites. It is to be covered over by a combination of sand, stone, gravel and topsoil that could reach about 25 metres high.

The coalition is particularly concerned because the location is directly over an active earthquake zone, above porous and fractured rock, and less than a kilometre from the Ottawa River. It is beside a small lake that drains directly into the Ottawa River through a small creek, the letter points out.

The letter says the danger is exacerbated if the mound is left uncovered for more than 50 years, as planned. Furthermore, “climate change brings unpredictable, catastrophic weather that could cause permanent radioactive contamination of the Ottawa River,” the letter adds.

It suggests retired Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd. (AECL) senior nuclear scientists have raised serious concerns about the proposal. It quotes Dr. J.R. Walker as saying it “employs inadequate technology and is problematically located” and “does not meet regulatory requirements with respect to the health and safety of persons and the protection of the environment.”

The letter urges candidates, if elected, to introduce resolutions questioning the process and opposing the waste proposals as they currently stand, as well as the importation of nuclear waste to Chalk River from other locations “as more than 135 municipalities in Ontario and Quebec have already done.”


October 8, 2018 - Posted by | Canada, politics, wastes

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