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Canadian environmental watchdog group ROEE does not support expansion of nuclear power

Le Regroupement des organismes environnementaux en énergie (ROEE) is a voluntary association of Quebec groups with a fine professional team:

ROEE is funded to intervene in hearings of the Régie de l’Énergie on matters related to energy and the environment and toeducate the public on such matters in a regular way. The ROEE was founded in 1997 following a public debate on energy policy in Quebec that led to the creation of the

Régie de l’Énergie
on matters related to energy and the environment and to educate the public on such matters in a regular way.

The ROEE was founded in 1997 following a public debate on energy policy in Quebec that led to the creation of the Régie.

The Canadian Coalition for Nuclear Responsibility, known in
Quebec as le Regroupement pour la surveillance du nucléaire,
is one of the founding members of the ROEE.

The ROEE is a champion of “soft energy paths” based on energy
efficiency and renewable energy sources, and has recently decided
to adopt a policy on nuclear power although Quebec phased out of
nuclear power in 2012 with the closure of the only operating nuclear
power reactor in Quebec called “Gentilly-2”. (Gentilly-1 was retired
many years beforehand).  

Quebec also adopted a one-year moratorium
on uranium mining in 2014, leading to a year-long series of hearing in
Quebec conducted by the BAPE (Bueau des audiences publiques
sur l’environnement), who recommended in 2015 that the moratorium
on uranium exploration and mining be made permanent. So far this
has not been done but uranium exploration has been terminated in the
province of Quebec – hence we have an informal moratorium in effect.

Membres du ROEE (2023)

Association madelinienne pour la sécurité énergétique et environnementale
Canot Kayak Québec
Fondation Coule pas chez nous
Fondation Rivières
Nature Québec
Draft Policy on  nuclear power
(English original and French translation are copied below).

ROEE does not support the expansion of nuclear power based on the fissioning of uranium or plutonium as an energy source. The unsolved problems associated with nuclear fission technology are far more significant than any benefits it is supposed to offer, and there are now more affordable alternatives such as energy efficiency and renewable energy sources that are easier and faster to deploy than nuclear.


•Nuclear fission inevitably creates a long-lived legacy of human-made radioactive wastes that will continue to challenge the health and safety of humans and the environment for hundreds of thousands of years. By far the most intensely radioactive wastes are contained in the used nuclear fuel. These wastes cannot be eliminated or neutralized but only contained, and safe containment over such long time periods cannot be assured.

•Materials such as stainless steel and concrete in the core area of a nuclear reactor also become long-lived radioactive wastes and therefore cannot be recycled. This debris cannot be decontaminated, it must be kept out of the environment for many generations after dismantling the reactors, which is delayed for decades to protect workers from excessive exposure. Canada has no strategy for dealing with these wastes over the very long term.

The risk of catastrophic nuclear accidents cannot be eliminated. Even if the risk is small, the consequences can be unacceptable, leading to radioactive contamination of large land areas and large volumes of water, as well as the permanent evacuation of large populations.

• The risk of proliferation of nuclear weapons using plutonium created in nuclear reactors, as India did in 1974, is not negligible. Such proliferation remains a significant danger for thousands of years after the last reactor is shut down.

• The proliferation risk becomes more acute when “advanced” nuclear reactors require the extraction of plutonium from used nuclear fuel to create more nuclear fuel – an operation called “reprocessing”. Reprocessing is now being considered by the Canadian government in coinnection with new reactors proposed for New Brunswick.

• ROEE supports the movement to ban reprocesssing – plutonium extraction –  in Canada. Non-proliferation experts are agreed that ready access to plutonium should not be encouraged. In 1977, US President Carter banned reprocessing in the USA because of the proliferation risk.

• ROEE opposes uranium mining as well. The only significant uses of uranium are as an explosive for nuclear weapons and as a fuel for nuclear reactors. ROEE is opposed to both.

• Uranium mining also leaves a long-lived radioactive waste legacy. Canada currently has over 120 million tonnes of radioactive waste left over from uranium mining. These wastes will rmain danberous for hundreds of thousands of years.

• Uranium wastes, called “tailings”, contain some of the deadliest naturally occurring toxic materials known to science, such as radium, polonium, and radon gas. Mining brings these materials to the surface and makes them much more accessible to the environment.

ROEE Positions

 ROEE disagrees wth the promotion of a new generation of nuclear reactors to deal with the climate emergency. Compared with energy efficiency and renewables such as solar and wind, nuclear power is at least 4 to 7 times more costly and much too slow to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in a timely fashion. In contrast to the proven performance and declining price of alternatives, new nuclear reactors are uncertain in performance and sometimes are completely unusable, while experience has shown a pattern of major price escalations and construction delays for nuclear projects.

ROEE applauds the decision to close down the Gentilly-2 reactor at Bécancour in 2012, thereby phasing out nuclear power in Québec. ROEE urges government to make this phase-out permanent by banning the construction of any new nuclear power reactors in the province.

A severe nuclear accident in either Ontario or New Brunswick can have serious airborne and water-borne consequences in Quebec as well as in those provinces.  ROEE urges the government to encourage the phaseout of nuclear power in neighbouring provinces for safety reasons, while continuing to offer them sales of excess hydroelectric power from Quebec.

ROEE welcomes the 2015 recommendation of the BAPE for the government to declare a permanent moratorium on uranium mining in Quebec. ROEE urges the government to accept this recommendation fully by passing a law that bans uranium exploration and mining in the province, similar to the law passed by Nova Scotia on the same matter.

ROEE supports Quebec’s determination not to accept the import of long-lived radioactive waste from other jurisdictions for permanent storage in Quebec.

In addition, ROEE opposes current federal plans to construct a permanent radioactive storage facility on the surface at Chalk River, just one kilomete from the Ottawa River, close to the Quebec border. This landfill operation is intended to house one million cubic metres of radioactive wastes and other toxic materials such as asbestos and lead, some of it imported from as far away as Manitoba. As of 2022, over 130 municipalities, including the members of the Montreal Agglomeration Council, have opposed the planned Chalk River dump. ROEE supports their efforts to prevent  it also urges the government of Quebec to do likewise.


March 7, 2023 - Posted by | Canada, opposition to nuclear

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