May 24, 2009

For Immediate Release

Nuclear Industry Visit to Sudbury in Search of Nuclear Waste Dump Site

Northeastern Ontario - The packaging is slicker than it was twenty years ago, but the spokesperson for a regional environmental organization says the objective hasn't changed: the nuclear industry is looking for a place to dump their stockpiles of highly radioactive nuclear waste. 

Brennain Lloyd, coordinator with Northwatch, describes the Nuclear Waste Management Organization's foray into Sudbury on Monday as just one more in a long series of attempts by the nuclear industry to find a community willing to consider taking over two million nuclear fuel waste bundles that are currently in storage at nuclear reactor sites. 

"Thirty years ago they got chased out of Massey where they were doing exploratory drilling for an underground repository. Twenty years ago they began promoting their "generic concept" of burying the waste somewhere in the Canadian Shield. Ten years ago they failed a federal environmental assessment. Now the nuclear industry has recreated itself as the Nuclear Waste Management Organization and they're asking people in northern Ontario to help them design a process to move nuclear waste into one of our communities", said Lloyd.

The Nuclear Waste Management Organization was created in 2002 and told to consider three options for the long term management of nuclear fuel waste and then report back to the federal government. In November 2005 the NWMO recommended burying the waste in a rock formation combined with short term storage at the reactor sites and the option of moving the waste to a central above-ground storage site while they constructed the underground repository.

Critics have described the NWMO's proposal as combining the worst of all three options the NWMO considered, saying that it encourages the continued production of nuclear waste and lets the industry off the hook for long term management of the extremely hazardous material. 

There are serious concerns that, with the approach being promoted by the NWMO, a site will be selected before research is completed, and it will be hundreds of years before the community that is made "host" to the disposal facility will know what kind of a facility they are being set up to "host". As with any option that involves removing the waste from where it was created and is currently stored, communities will be put at risk by the transport of nuclear waste, potentially very long distances. 

"We were not a willing host 20 years ago, and we are not a willing host now", commented Lloyd. 
"As residents of northern Ontario, it is not our job to help the industry design a process for convincing communities to take the waste. It is our job to tell the nuclear industry to stop creating the stuff, and start getting serious about dealing what they have already generated in a way that is as safe as possible in it present location."

The Nuclear Waste Management Organization is holding a series of "information centres" that will consist of a video and display boards describing their newly released proposed siting process. They will be in Sudbury at the Howard Johnson at 50 Brady Street on Monday, May 25thfrom 2 to 9 pm

- 30 -

For more information:

Contact Brennain Lloyd at  705 497 0373
    

Visit www.nukewaste.ca or www.northwatch.org for more background information or view Backgrounder

Return to www.nukewaste.ca