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UPDATE: Council concerned by environmental impacts of nuclear waste

In February 2011, the Toronto Star reported, “In the ongoing search for a nuclear waste site (to store about two million highly radioactive bundles at a single site)…the federal government is paying close attention to public opinion (and has detected some openness for such a site) in New Brunswick and Saskatchewan. …The Nuclear Waste Management Organization kicked off a process last spring to find a community willing to host an underground complex that would serve as a storage dump for all the country’s nuclear waste.” According to the report, Pinehouse, Saskatchewan is one of “seven communities across the country (that has) formally expressed interested in hosting the underground repository.”

By August 2011, the Meadow Lake Progress had reported, “The Committee for Future Generations (opposed to the storage of nuclear waste in Saskatchewan) returned to Beauval (in northern Saskatchewan) last week after completing its 830-kilometre walk across the province. The group left Pinehouse (near Beauval) on July 27, and spent the next 21 days travelling to Regina. There, they presented a petition (with approximately 10,000 signatures) to the premier’s chief of staff on Aug 16. …Debbie Morin said the biggest achievement of the walk was the wide network of supporters it gained. ‘We have a list as long as our arm of organizations now that support us and that want to work together to strategize on how to get a ban legislated,’ she said. Some of those backers include the Council of Canadians and the Coalition for a Clean Green Saskatchewan.”

Council of Canadians Prairies organizer Scott Harris has highlighted, “Council of Canadians chapters are part of the Coalition for a Clean Green Saskatchewan, which is pushing for a nuclear waste ban in the province. As part of efforts to keep nuclear waste out of Saskatchewan, chapters and the coalition have organized speaking events with nuclear expert Dr. Jim Harding, author of Canada’s Deadly Secret, in Wynard, Prince Albert, Saskatoon, La Ronge (and Regina this past March).” More commentary from Harris on this issue can be read at http://canadians.org/blog/?p=9672. We have also been asking supporters to sign the Committee for Future Generation’s petition against the storage of nuclear waste in Saskatchewan, http://sites.google.com/site/cleangreensaskca/Home/LegislaturePetitiontoBanNuclearWaste.pdf?attredirects=1.

And we have noted that three communities in Ontario – Saugeen Shores and Walkerton, both near Lake Huron as well as Wawa, situated on Lake Superior – may be considered to ‘host’ the nuclear waste storage site, http://canadians.org/blog/?p=12708 and http://canadians.org/blog/?p=12521.

In Canada, the Pickering and Darlington nuclear plants are located on Lake Ontario, the Bruce Power nuclear plant is on Lake Huron, the Gentilly nuclear plant is on the St. Lawrence River, and the Point Lepreau Nuclear Generating Station is located on the Bay of Fundy. We note with concern proposals that would involve the transport of nuclear waste from these plants, as opposed to on-site storage (though we are also very concerned about the storage of nuclear waste by the Great Lakes, the Bay of Fundy and the St. Lawrence River). The Council of Canadians rejects nuclear power because it poses an unacceptable risk to people and the environment. Our full statement, adopted in October 2008, can be read at http://canadians.org/energy/documents/NuclearStatement-Oct08.pdf.

In late-March 2011, Council of Canadians chairperson Maude Barlow signed a World Future Council letter that states the “human community…should phase out, abolish and replace (nuclear) technologies with alternatives that do not threaten present and future generations. …The large amounts of radioactive wastes that are created by nuclear power generation will remain highly toxic for many times longer than human civilization has existed, and there is currently no long-term solution to dealing with the threats these radioactive wastes pose to the environment and human health. …Nuclear power is neither the answer to modern energy problems nor a panacea for climate change challenges. There is no solution of problems by creating more problems. Nuclear power doesn’t add up economically, environmentally or socially.”