In my first “Back to the Future” article, I pointed out that the so-called "Option 4 'Adaptive Phased Management' (APM

)" program described in the Nuclear Waste Mana gement Organization’s (NWMO’s) final report is little more than a dressed-up version of Atomic Energy of Canada, Ltd’s (AECL’s) failed 1980 s nuclear waste burial progr am. In fact, both plans would ultimately yield the same end result: a sealed undergr ound nuclear waste dump, some of its contents radioactive and lethal for eons of time. Now, NWMO is going back to the future in its approach to selecting a site for a repository. Aside from using a lot of smooth talk, it is dangling big bucks as a n enticement to municipalities and other groups. A recent example is NWMO’s approach to aboriginal communities, something that was tried south of the border by the U.S. Department of Energy during the 1990 s and failed miserably. In the end, all the first nations in the U.S. which were con tacted, rejected the offer to host a surface monitored retrievable nuclear waste storage facility, turning down offers of millions of dollars for the “privilege.” In November 2010, various Canadian media outlets revealed that the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations (FSIN) has received one million dollars from the NW MO to educate first nations people about nuclear waste and that two northern co mmunities—the English River First Nation and the Métis village of Pinehouse—have come up as potential sites. And of course it is no secret that vastly larger sums of money would be made available to the “finalist” of the site selection process. I was struck by the reported comments of Lyle Whitefish, FSIN vice-chief (in a N ovember 18th 2010 article in the Saskatchewan News Network). While declaring n eutrality on the issue, Whitefish said that “he and FSIN will not be providing any other information besides that coming from the Nuclear Waste Management Organiz ation.” He was quoted as saying that “...there may be an opportunity in the future for other organizations to be heard on the nuclear waste issue.” In a CBC News item online, November 18, 2010, Cathy Holtslander, of the Coalitio n for a Clean Green Saskatchewan, was reported as being concerned that the NWMO information would be biased. She said that "It needs to have independent infor mation, not information from a group that has an interest in basically looking a fter their problem." As a former member of the nuclear establishment, and having been involved with a nd written extensively on this issue for many years, I certainly believe that Ms . Hotslander raises an important point about sources of information. Perhaps the NWMO did not mention to Mr. Whitefish that throughout the world, nuclear waste management is one of the most controversial public policy issues of our time enc ompassing many different points of view. I can only hope that FSIN will agree t o having other information and voices heard up front and right along side those of NWMO, an organization that is clearly an agent of the Canadian nuclear estab lishment. NWMO has also been providing information to two interested communities in northw est Ontario; Ear Falls’ and Ignace . The information has been publically challeng ed by North Bay’s Northwatch organization, on grounds of “omissions and understateme nts.” Northwatch’s Brennain Lloyd cited NWMO informational deficiencies, including issues around long term repository reliability, storage container reliability, a nd the rejection of the earlier AECL burial concept after a ten year environment al assessment review. Ms. Lloyd also observed that “...no country has yet permane ntly disposed of nuclear fuel waste in rock...” I commented on NWMO’s siting process in December, 2008, when it was in draft form

 

 

and concluded that “Aside from the fact that a plan to permanently bury nuclear fu el waste is inherently immoral, unethical, unscientific, and downright mean-spir ited to future generations, it is simply not a good idea.” Furthermore, I have a r eal problem with the dangling of large sums of money to entice communities into such a scheme. In the final analysis, any community which supposedly “benefits” from this dubious a ctivity, could very well be playing dice with the health and safety of its own d escendants.

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful