Who chooses nuclear disposal sites?

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Who makes these decisions and what are the criteria? The federal government has
this authority – not the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) and certainly not the private company that owns Canadian Nuclear Laboratories (CNL) at Chalk River.
It seems however, that the criteria changes depending on where a site might be located.

Who makes these decisions and what are the criteria? The federal government has
this authority – not the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) and certainly not the private company that owns Canadian Nuclear Laboratories (CNL) at Chalk River.
It seems however, that the criteria changes depending on where a site might be located.
Former Prime Minister Jean Chretien supported a proposal to create a nuclear disposal site in Labrador. As soon as the proposal became public knowledge, it was immediately vetoed by the Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador. The federal government, through the Minister of Natural Resources, supported this decision. There was no process to determine if local citizens were an informed and willing host. There was no referral to the CNSC to conduct an environmental assessment. The federal and provincial authorities simply said “No.”
The federal government, through an act of parliament, created the Nuclear Waste Management Organization to find a permanent disposal site for high level nuclear waste. The search is ongoing. Among the criteria is that the site be in a place where citizens give informed and willing consent.
The proposal to build a Near Surface Nuclear Disposal Facility (NSDF) at Chalk River is characterized by: a site that’s less than a kilometre from the Ottawa River and within an active earthquake zone; where reasonable alternatives could be found away from the river on the thousands of acres of land already owned by the federal government at Chalk River; and where no informed and willing consent was sought from local citizens (Renfrew County/Pontiac).
Why are the criteria different in these examples? The federal government needs to exercise its authority and act now to move the NSDF well away from the river. This isn’t a decision to be left to the CNSC.

Martin Flood
SHEENBORO