Ottawa Riverkeeper identifies holes in Chalk River’s nuclear waste disposal proposal

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Deborah Powell

The Ottawa Riverkeeper submitted a report to the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, August 16, regarding Canadian Nuclear Laboratories’ (CNL) Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for their proposed nuclear waste disposal site, aka as the Near Surface Disposal Facility (NSDF).

Deborah Powell

The Ottawa Riverkeeper submitted a report to the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, August 16, regarding Canadian Nuclear Laboratories’ (CNL) Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for their proposed nuclear waste disposal site, aka as the Near Surface Disposal Facility (NSDF).
Page one of the 66-page document reads: “Recognizing that water is an essential element that sustains and connects all life, and further recognizing that the misuse of freshwater poses a threat to human health as well as to local fauna and flora, Ottawa Riverkeeper’s review of the proposed NSDF is focused on the protection of water and the aquatic ecosystem.”
The organization hired two experts to assess the EIS: Wilf Ruland, a hydro geologist with 30 years experience in environmental assessment, who prepared his review for the Algonquin Anishinabeg Nation Tribal Council as well as for the Riverkeeper; and ecologist Dr. Ole Hendrickson. Based on their own review and that of the experts, the Riverkeeper concluded that the environmental assessment didn’t have enough detail to accurately determine the risks to the environment and that further study was needed. The experts provided detailed reviews that included a total of 25 recommendations.
Patrick Nadeau, executive director of Ottawa Riverkeeper, said recommendations in the report include asking CNL to revise its report, moving the proposed disposal facility, and investing in alternate storage technologies.
“Zero risk is impossible, but we believe there are many ways to reduce the risk on this project. We recognize that something needs to be done at Chalk River, but it has to be the best solution, not the cheapest and quickest —
which we believe is on the table right now,” said Nadeau.
Ottawa Riverkeeper encourages all citizens to read their document, available on their website, to gain a better understanding of what’s at stake with the proposed nuclear waste facility.