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Bribing a declining rural community – into taking in nuclear waste

Goodwill’ money from proposed nuclear waste site pours into declining Ontario farm town. What if it stops? 
Colin Butler · CBC News ·May 07, 2021 A citizens’ group is accusing Canada’s nuclear industry of using its financial might to groom a declining Ontario farm community into becoming a willing host for the country’s most dangerous radioactive waste. 

In a pamphlet about the proposed disposal site that was published last year, the Ontario municipality of South Bruce —which encompasses the farming communities of Teeswater, Mildmay, Formosa and Salem — says it’s “on the decline.” 

The pamphlet tells of a shrinking population, where rural towns and village “downtowns are fading from what they used to be,” with vacant store windows, big infrastructure bills and few prospects for new economic growth. 

Protecting Our Waterways – No Nuclear Waste, a grassroots citizens’ group, accuses the Nuclear Waste Management Organization (NWMO) of taking advantage of the decline by spending millions of dollars on “goodwill” projects the community couldn’t afford on its own. 

Bill Noll, a resident of Teeswater and the vice-president of Protecting Our Waterways, said the money has done a lot of good — it’s helped find small-town doctors, boosted senior care, upgraded wells, and even bought local firefighters lifesaving new safety equipment.

Money ‘divorced’ from project, group says

“Its strictly a goodwill gesture,” said Noll. “That money is not tied to anything to do with the project. It is completely divorced. Why would you spend one and a half million dollars on a community if you didn’t expect something back in return?”

The project Noll is referring to is a $23-billion nuclear disposal site where the NWMO wants to inter some three million spent nuclear fuel bundles in a sprawling network of tunnels and holes 500 metres below the ground.

South Bruce is one of two Ontario communities — the other is Ignace, about 2½ hours northwest of Thunder Bay — under consideration for what the NWMO is calling the “deep geological repository.” The NWMO says it’s working with local communities in selecting the site in 2023.

In the case of South Bruce, test drilling recently began north of the dairy town of Teeswater to see if the ancient bedrock is viable enough. But funds from the NWMO have been flowing in since 2012, when the local council volunteered to be considered as a host. 

According to a March 2021 report from South Bruce Treasurer Kendra Reinhart, the community has received more than $3.2 million from the NWMO since 2012. It’s been used to pay for everything from St John Ambulance training, to offsetting extra costs of the pandemic, to the salaries of municipal employees. 

The report didn’t include all the money, and noted several sources of NWMO funding were omitted. For instance, left out were requests for additional support, such as the $1.5 million the municipality is seeking from a $4-million NWMO-sponsored investment fund to help offset the cost of expanding a local sewage treatment plant. 

Michelle Stein, another Teeswater resident and president of Protect Our Waterways, said the money has become so ubiquitous that on March 23, the same day the treasury report was presented to South Bruce council, NWMO appeared on the council agenda 121 times. 

Mayor says community ‘foolish not to’ take money…

“Our community has really started to rely on the money from the NWMO,” said Stein.Stein and Noll said the more the municipality of South Bruce becomes intertwined financially with the NWMO, the harder it will be for the community to disentangle itself by saying no to the nuclear disposal site, lest it cut off the community’s newfound source of wealth……..

May 8, 2021 - Posted by | Canada, secrets,lies and civil liberties, wastes

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