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Nuclear waste facility licensed at Chalk River

Natasha Kumar By Natasha Kumar Jan9,2024

A nuclear waste facility permitted in Chalk River

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The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission authorizes a nuclear waste management facility at Chalk River despite criticism. (Archive photo)

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Despite the opposition of the First Nations and certain scientists, the Canadian Nuclear Laboratories (CNL) will still be able to undertake the construction of a nuclear waste management facility at Chalk River. The project will move forward on the traditional unceded territory of the Algonquin Anishinabeg people.

According to the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC), which is responsible for approving this type of project, the near-surface waste management facility (NGDPS) is not likely to cause significant environmental effects, unless condition that LNC implements all proposed mitigation and monitoring measures, we can read in a press release from the organization shared on Tuesday.

The CNSC considers in particular that the project design is robust, that it is based on a solid safety case, that it allows the installation to achieve its required nominal lifespan, and that it is sufficient to resist violent weather phenomena, continues the press release.

The CNSC argues in particular that it has fulfilled its constitutional obligation to consult and, if where appropriate, to accommodate Indigenous rights.

On January 2, Radio-Canada learned that researchers from the Canadian Museum of Nature were opposed to this project because of the risks for two freshwater species that are already threatened, including the Hickorynut. The project led by SNC-Lavalin would be located just one kilometer from the Ottawa River.

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The LNC permit is thus modified by the Commission: it will be valid until in 2028.

The Kebaowek First Nation, located near Chalk River, strongly condemned the CNSC and called on the federal government to intervene to stop this highly risky project for the environment.

The Commission's final decision is completely unfounded in concluding that the NSDF project will not have significant environmental effects, said the nation's leader, Lance Haymond, in a press release.

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Kebaowek chief Lance Haymond condemned the CNSC decision and calls for intervention from the federal government. (File photo)

Although the decision states that CNL will take appropriate measures to preserve the environment, health, safety of individuals and national security, as well as to comply with national obligations, it is undeniable that the safety and health of People and the environment will be profoundly affected for generations to come by this project, he reacted.

He cites in particular the risks of earthquakes, forest fires, floods and other extreme weather phenomena to justify his opposition to the project. He also recalls that more than 140 cities in Quebec and Ontario have expressed their opposition or concern about the project, including Gatineau, Montreal and Ottawa.

The Commission's decision is unacceptable, in particular because it goes against the rights of indigenous peoples and environmental protection. The Government of Canada must act quickly and declare the suspension of the project without delay, concludes Mr. Haymond.

The prefect of the MRC of Pontiac Jane Toller did not hide her dissatisfaction with the CNSC's decision. She calls the consultation “symbolic listening”, lamenting that so many groups, including indigenous peoples, have devoted so much energy to arguing their point of view in vain.

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The prefect of the MRC of Pontiac, Jane Toller, says she “hopes” that the installation will indeed be safe. (File photo)

“The federal government is fully aware of the United Nations Declaration [on the rights of indigenous peoples], according to which no storage of nuclear waste should take place on [indigenous] lands,” she insisted in an interview. .

The future will tell us if this project is safe, but we do not We can only hope for the best.

A quote from Jane Toller, prefect, MRC Pontiac

The elected official described the consultations carried out by the federal government as “a joke”. It was not a sincere consultation. It bothers me that the First Nations were not listened to, judges Ms. Toller.

She thus affirms that the main request, that of installing the structure further from the Ottawa River, was rejected by the CNSC.

More details to come.

  • Julien David-Pelletier (View profile)Julien David-PelletierFollow
Natasha Kumar

By Natasha Kumar

Natasha Kumar has been a reporter on the news desk since 2018. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining The Times Hub, Natasha Kumar worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my 1-800-268-7116

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