CNL plans info sessions; mayors of Montreal & Laval protest Sheenboro flotilla says NO! to Chalk River nuclear dump

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Peter L. Smith

SHEENBORO – August 6, a thirty-boat flotilla protested Canadian Nuclear Laboratories’ proposed nuclear dump on the Ottawa River at Chalk River. CNL’s “Near Surface Disposal Facility (NSDF)” was unveiled over a year ago.

Peter L. Smith

SHEENBORO – August 6, a thirty-boat flotilla protested Canadian Nuclear Laboratories’ proposed nuclear dump on the Ottawa River at Chalk River. CNL’s “Near Surface Disposal Facility (NSDF)” was unveiled over a year ago.
Organized by the Old Fort William Cottagers Association (OFWCA), the flotilla left the Fort William dock in Sheenboro and reached the Chalk River facility where participants voiced their concerns using signs and a loudspeaker. Their concerns are the project’s location and its potential dangers to the public’s health and to the environment. The plan to store radioactive waste of varying toxicity above ground, under “a liner”, is a non-starter for many downstream who use the river for municipal water.
Meeting with Cottagers’ Association
Officials from CNL had met the Association in July at Hotel Pontiac where a capacity crowd voiced strong objections. Dr. J.L. Walker, a retired director of Safety Engineering and Licensing for AECL, noted that the project employs inadequate technology, is problematically located, does not meet regulatory requirements with respect to the health and safety of persons and the protection of the environment, and that the proponents have failed to meet the requirements of the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act 2012. He has sent a detailed report of his concerns to the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission.
Ginette Charbonneau, a retired nuclear physicist from Quebec, told the crowd,
“There will be many long-
living nuclear substances in the mound, including radionuclides that will live longer than the facility. The installation will not be secure after 300 years, so how are you going to keep long-living nuclear material in such a place?”
Estimates claim livespans of thousands of years for some of the radioactive material.
Alex Tyrrell, leader of the Quebec Green Party, attended both the meetings and the flotilla protest. The head of the Bloc Quebec has also protested the threats this poses to residents, and has promised to bring the subject before the House of Commons. The mayors of Montreal and Laval have also objected, although Ottawa city council has not.
Although most of the material will be low-level radioactivity, some will be waste that has been exposed to alpha radiation or waste containing long-lived radionuclides in concentrations that require isolation and containment for hundreds of years, admits the CNL. Waste will come from other sites, much of it with unverifiable radioactivity.
More public meetings
An information meeting, August 3, at Harrington Community Centre in L’Isle-aux-Allumettes had a lower turnout; participants rejected the facility due to its location so close to the Ottawa River and its structural design.
Gene O’Brien, L’Isle-aux-Allumettes councillor, asked if smaller depots would be safer than one large 40-acre mound. She questioned the site’s placement given that CNL owns 1,000 acres
nearby. CNL’s environmentalist explained they are surrounded by water bodies and admitted there isn’t a really optimal site on CNL property. Radioactive disposal sites have been proposed for old mines in the Canadian Shield, but transportation dangers remain an obstacle due to the high toxicity.