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Petition calls on more federal oversight of nuclear waste plan


Earlier this month, the Municipality of South Bruce signed a multi-million dollar hosting agreement that outlines what would happen if the community decides to host Canada’s first permanent nuclear waste storage facility.

A community referendum will decide if South Bruce wants the waste or not this October. But, those opposed to the project said that’s not good enough.

“This is not something a single community, like South Bruce, should be determining for the rest of Canada or their neighbours,” said Bill Noll, co-founder of No Nuclear Waste-Protect Our Waterways-South Bruce.

Noll’s South Bruce-based group, and other organizations opposed to the Nuclear Waste Management Organization’s (NWMO) plan to bury Canada’s used nuclear fuel in either South Bruce or near Ignace in northern Ontario, believe neighbouring communities, and those along any proposed transportation route, should also get a say on the fate of the project.

“The project risks are more broadly shared and would be more broadly felt. And that’s along the transportation route, and in the downstream and neighbouring communities,” said Brennain Lloyd, leader of We the Nuclear Free North.

A petition tabled in Federal Parliament last week asks the government to require the NWMO to get consent from communities along any proposed transportation route and downstream of the project before selecting a site -- something they plan to do by the end of 2024.

The NWMO said they still do plan on picking between South Bruce and Ignace by the end of this year, and suggest the interested communities have had and will have plenty of involvement if they are selected.

“They are going to have an ability to still bring forward their concerns and questions. They can do peer review if the community so wishes. They’ll be able to participate in the regulatory process. There is a big role for the community going forward,” said Lise Morton, NWMO’s VP of site selection.

But, Lloyd and Noll believe this is far too big a decision to be made by one or two communities.

“This isn’t a decision that will disappear in the case of South Bruce in 138 years for the length of their contract. It’s going to go forever. I don’t know of any other decision that has ever been made, that’s going to last for tens of thousands of years. It’s very important,” said Noll.

“These are wastes that are lethal and hazardous into eternity. So, yes the NWMO should stop their process. They should suspend their site selection and engage those communities, all the risk takers along the transportation route and downstream, as part of determining whether there is an informed, willing host,” added Lloyd.

The NWMO said after picking South Bruce or Ignace, a federal licensing process is expected to last up to six years.

Construction on the $26 billion underground nuclear waste storage facility isn’t expected to begin until 2036. Top Stories

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