There’s a nuclear dump planned for OUR future

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DISPATCHES FROM THE 148
by FRED RYAN, Publisher Emeritus


DISPATCHES FROM THE 148
by FRED RYAN, Publisher Emeritus

There’s a nuclear dump coming ‘outside our door’, and is it because authorities think we aren’t paying attention? Canadian Nuclear Laboratories (now American-owned) announced a year ago their proposal to build a very large above-ground dump for nuclear wastes, near a fault-line, in Chalk River not far from the Ottawa River, up-stream from the Pontiac and our nation’s capital. Apart from local newspapers, this project has received little attention, even less from our political leaders. What does their silence tell us? 
According to my sources – which are no more watertight than a plastic membrane
protecting us from  radioactive waste – our region’s federal reps have made very little comment and the provincial deputy even less (except for the CAQ and PQ). CBC and the TV giants? The “national” newspapers? One MP, formerly an environmental lawyer, has written to local media, basically, expressing his
faith in the good intentions, professionalism, and caution of the bureaucrats, engineers, and corporate leaders who are stick-handling (and benefiting from) this project.
This is democracy’s checks-and-balances at work? Why this silence from our leadership?  Where is the media, speaking “truth to power”?
Citizens groups and scientists have raised concerns. There are municipal elections this fall – especially for our first elected MRC warden -– shouldn’t we hear from each candidate on this danger to our region?
Where’s the Precautionary Principle?
As I read the CNL’s material, this multiple-football-field size, membrane-enveloped, above-ground (five-story high) dump will contain mostly construction waste, equipment, clothing, etc., all radioactively contaminated to varying levels. Crucial to notice: the specs note that a small percentage will come from Gentilly in Quebec and from Manitoba and “may” contain high-risk radioactive materials, with a life of
thousands of years.  Infinitely longer than the life of any corporation claiming to be monitoring the site.
One might expect, dealing with radioactive materials with half-lives of thousands of years, that the Precautionary Principle be the number one guide – better safe than sorry. Question one: why not?
So, here’s my splendid proposal. Since this nuclear dump is much, much safer than it appears to be, according to officials, the nuclear “repository” should actually be located in downtown Ottawa.
Benefits: shorter, efficient transportation links, access to more trained professionals, closer emergency, hospital and police services. Energy and communication sources more reliable, top-level decision makers nearby, etc. What an opportunity for scientific displays on the safety of nuclear energy!
 Safe in Chalk River, not safe in Ottawa?
Anyone who doesn’t take this Ottawa proposal seriously must answer why it is OK to put this “safe” depot near thousands of rural people (plus, eventually, Ottawa itself). Do they think rural people are timid? Are we bumpkins who can be bought off with a few jobs and pats on the back? Humour
us, Dear Honourables, and explain why “rural”, and why not Ottawa? No joke.
And doesn’t this Ottawa proposal reveal that, yes, there are two classes of Canadians: the important folks (government) and rural “expendables”? There’s no way Ottawa would ever be considered! Doesn’t that tell us the authorities see us rural people as less intelligent, less involved, and assertive of our rights? That Pontiac’s so starved for jobs we’ll accept a project that conceivable could generate one of history’s great disasters: how many thousands of lives are we willing to put at risk, per job?
All this suggests the project is not safe. There are safer alternatives; Finland and the US have impressive storage sites, but they are expensive. With this project, we save CNL money. Is that the bottom line?
Those concerned have pointed out that the plan does not detail the wastes and how they’ll be checked; where’s the realistic, long-term monitoring and decommissioning schedule and the post-closure safeguards? How does it propose how to react to a major break, or even an abandonment of the pile, if CNL goes bankrupt at some point? Does the clean-up go on our tax bill – after we’ve suffered a radioactive spill? Too many big questions!
Info:https://sites.google.com/site/concernedcitizensrca/
To comment: type  ‘CEAA NSDF’ in your browser; also write to your local papers. 
Our children are under threat, Pontiac!