What you need to know about the Chalk River Mound (aka the “Near Surface” Disposal Facility)
This proposed mega-dump for radioactive waste would be enormous. It would stand seven stories high and cover an area the size of 70 NHL hockey rinks.
• This nuclear waste dump could be the largest in the world of its type. It would contain one million cubic metres of radioactive waste. Such a facility for permanent disposal of nuclear waste has never before been licensed in Canada.
The proponent of the dump is a consortium of profit- making multinational corporations.
• In 2015 the Harper government turned the operation of the Canadian Nuclear Laboratories over to a consortium of for-profit multinational corporations based in the U.S., the U.K., and Canada (although the Chalk River site and its wastes remain under public ownership).
The site is not suitable for a dump of any kind given its location beside the Ottawa River – a drinking water source for millions of Canadians.
• The proposed site is less than one kilometre from the Ottawa River. The site is virtually surrounded by water (a wetland, lake, creek, river) and was an island in recent geological times.
• Leaks from the dump could contaminate drinking water for homes and cottages, villages, towns and cities downstream.
The proposed site is located on a major fault line above porous and fractured bedrock.
• Studies conducted in the 1990s determined the underlying bedrock to be porous and fractured, with high rates of groundwater flow into the Ottawa River.
• The site is located in the Western Quebec seismic zone. Natural Resources Canada says that an earthquake occurs every five days on average in this zone.
The proposed dump could contain radioactive debris, garbage, and hazardous wastes from all over Canada.
• In addition to wastes accumulated during more than 50 years of operation of the Chalk River Nuclear Labs (demolition debris, contaminated soils, stored wastes), radioactive wastes could be brought to the site from all over Canada.
Hazardous and radioactive materials would inevitably leak into the Ottawa River.
• The radioactive wastes in this dump would be placed on top of two plastic liners like those in municipal landfills. Such liners, also called “geomembranes”, are not leak–proof.
• Leaks could result from incorrect installation, deterioration, punctures by sharp and /or heavy objects, burrowing by animals, seismic activity, flooding or sabotage.
• Long-lived radioactive wastes would remain hazardous far longer than the plastic liners could possibly endure.
• During the 50+ year period of operation, wastes would be exposed to rain and snow. Failure of the proposed leachate collection system or water treatment plant could result in rapid contamination of the Ottawa River.
June 2018 ~ Produced by Concerned Citizens of Renfrew County and Area http://www.concernedcitizens.net