Final decision extended on nuclear dump


Consultations continue between the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission and local Indigenous Nations over their concerns about the proposed nuclear dump on CNL property, near the Ottawa River.

Peter L. Smith
& Lynne Lavery

CHALK RIVER – The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) has extended the deadline for filing additional information on the proposed nuclear dump (NSDF), by the Kebaowek First Nation and Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg, to May 1, 2023, after receiving the request late last year.

The two groups had also requested the opportunity to make oral presentations to the Commission. Kebaowek First Nations stated: “We are people of oral tradition. An oral hearing to present our submissions would show that the CNSC respects our culture.”

On January 31, CNSC agreed that “in the spirit of reconciliation” oral submissions can be made by Indigenous Nations; they must register their intent by May 31, 2023 and the hearing will be held on June 27 in the Ottawa-Gatineau region (to be confirmed).

Written submissions possible

Other intervenors, who made oral presentations during the public hearings last year, have the option to submit written submissions to the Commission, briefly summarizing their position without adding any new information. The document is limited to 5,000 words with May 31 as the deadline to submit.

CNL, as the proponent of the project, must file its written final submission by June 15; they are allowed 30,000 words. Once the additional submissions are received, the Commission will decide if further clarification is required.

The NSDF is proposed to be built on land owned by CNL; it is also on the unceded territory of the Algonquin Anishnabeg people. The main issue stated by the First Nations is the proximity to the river and threats to the local eco-system. The Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg First Nations has stated, “Our position is well known and hasn’t changed. We are now working on our final submission.” Kebaowek First Nation has stated they support the “Precautionary Principle” and insists CNSC adopt a cautionary approach, or err on the side of caution, especially where there is a large degree of uncertainty or high risk.

The project has been on the table for over 6 years with several public consultations held last year where local politicians and organizations expressed concerns about the project and its location, within one km of the Ottawa River. CNL has been accumulating waste on site for the past 70 years and needs to find a way to dispose of it; they claim the NSDF is the safest method and this location the best.

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