Is this site appropriate?” BLOC fills vacuum on Chalk River nuclear dump

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Fred Ryan

CNL’s plan to save money by piling 15 football-fields of radioactive waste within a
kilometer of the Ottawa River in Chalk River received even more unwanted attention, August 10, when the Bloc Quebecoise party leader, a mechanical engineer, visited the site and spoke in Fort William.
Forty-two people met Martine Ouellet at

Fred Ryan

CNL’s plan to save money by piling 15 football-fields of radioactive waste within a
kilometer of the Ottawa River in Chalk River received even more unwanted attention, August 10, when the Bloc Quebecoise party leader, a mechanical engineer, visited the site and spoke in Fort William.
Forty-two people met Martine Ouellet at
Fort William’s Hotel Pontiac. The  Gatineau, Sheenboro, Bristol, Shawville, Thorne, and Renfrew residents were appreciative of the fact that she, of all party leaders, visited the site and expressed her concerns. She assured them she will raise the question in the House of Commons and press the Prime Minister for explanations.
The groups included Pontiac’s PEP, STOP in Gatineau and CREDDO, from the Outaouais, plus the Renfrew and Fort-William groups—many now linked to the province-wide Ralliement Contre la Pollution Radioactive. Mme Ouellet left signs, “No to Nuclear Waste in our water!” (Non Aux Déchets Nucléaires dans Notre Eau). Members of the Riverkeepers and other groups also participated.
Ms Ouellet called the dump project “an insult to intelligence”, since it involves
long-lived radioactivity of varying intensity, inside an untested membrane covering, beside a marsh which drains into the Ottawa River. She blames this quick-fix mentality on the now-privatized CNL’s desire to cut costs. “The goal should be safety, not profit,” she told the group. This site is near CBL’s building-
demolition operations and so is the cheapest option for the corporation, she said.
She added that if the planners, managers – and politicians – lived nearby “they would not think of doing this”, and referred to the millions of Canadians in both provinces who take their drinking water from the Ottawa River.
As a mechanical engineer, she questioned the claim that new geo-textiles are absolutely leak-proof, and this for the hundreds of years needed. She noted that the disposal of nuclear waste is a serious issue but it most be done inside stable rock formations, far from citizens.
Ms Ouellet will also submit a brief on the project, and continues her discussions with Quebec’s Environment Minister who has, so far, only said he wants an “emergency plan” for any disaster. “By then it’s too late,” she said.
The party leader asked citizens to press for a BAPE hearing by Quebec, by writing Minister Heurtel and Pontiac MNA Andre Fortin. She urged them to write letters to the editor, use social media, and join some of the “active” organizations like the Rally Against Radioactive Pollution.
Besides touring the proposed dump site, Ms Ouellet met several mayors, including Gatineau’s. Ms Ouellet, a former engineer for Hydro Quebec, was the author of Quebec’s National Water Policy (2002) and was Quebec’s Minister of Natural Resources from 2012-14.