Canada’s Eight Billion Dollar Nuclear Liability – Backgrounder

In 2012, the Conservative government under Prime Minister Stephen Harper amended the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act to give the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) total authority and decision-making power over all nuclear-related projects. 

The CNSC is currently conducting environmental assessments of three contentious radioactive waste “disposal” projects. Each is the brainchild of a consortium of private multinational corporations operating under the name “Canadian National Energy Alliance.”  The consortium consists of the scandal-ridden SNC-Lavalin, currently facing criminal charges for fraud and corruption in a Canadian court, and two U.S.-based corporate partners (Fluor and Jacobs), both of whom have also faced criminal charges of a similar nature in the past.

This consortium was hired in 2015 by the Harper government to operate the Government of Canada’s nuclear sites and reduce Canada’s eight billion dollar radioactive waste liability. The consortium received all the shares in a new corporation called “Canadian Nuclear Laboratories” (CNL) that had been created the previous year as a subsidiary of the federal crown corporation Atomic Energy of Canada Limited (AECL).  In effect, this privatized AECL.  Roughly 3000 former AECL employees now work for CNL, mostly at the Chalk River Laboratories. Billions of taxpayers’ dollars are funneled into the private consortium through the ghost of AECL.

The three proposals being assessed by CNSC are:

(1) an above-ground mound, five to seven stories high, covering 11 hectares of land, for permanent disposal of one million cubic meters of mixed radioactive wastes at Chalk River, less than a kilometer from the Ottawa River;

 (2) the permanent entombment of Canada’s first electricity-producing nuclear reactor, the Nuclear Power Demonstration reactor, by encasing its radioactive remains in concrete and abandoning them only 100 meters from the Ottawa River; 

(3) the permanent entombment of the radioactive remains of another prototype nuclear reactor, the Whiteshell Reactor No. 1, at the Whiteshell Laboratories, right beside the Winnipeg River in Manitoba. 

All three projects run counter to guidance of the International Atomic Energy Agency. 

Even as the consortium and CNL promote their disposal projects, they are soliciting proposals to build new nuclear reactors at the Chalk River and Whiteshell federal nuclear sites.  The CNSC secretly lobbied the government to have new nuclear reactors under a certain size exempted from Bill C-69, the new Impact Assessment Act. However, any reactor–regardless of size–will create accident risks and its own legacy of radioactive wastes. 

CNSC has long been recognized as a “captured” regulator. It has never denied a license for any major nuclear project. Its lobbying to have small reactors exempted from impact assessments–if successful–would minimize effective public participation in planning and decision-making for nuclear projects. 

The other SNC-Lavalin affair: Nuclear waste

Media release from the Ottawa Centre Green Party Campaign September 5, 2019

Green Party candidates blast Liberals’ and Conservatives’ cosy relationship with the nuclear industry

Plans to abandon toxic radioactive waste next to drinking water sources

OTTAWA, September 5, 2019 — Three Green Party candidates have given an “F” to recent Liberal and Conservative governments for handing control of Canada’s federal nuclear waste to SNC-Lavalin and two American corporations.

Candidates Angela Keller-Herzog, Claude Bertrand and Lorraine Rekmans say that the Harper and Trudeau governments deserve a “Fail” because decisions about nuclear waste that will last for millennia are being driven by corporate profits, not health protection. The candidates gathered today with a flotilla of canoes and kayaks on the Ottawa River to protest plans for a nuclear waste dump at Chalk River.

“Both the previous Conservative and Liberal governments have handed the dirty job of cleaning up nuclear waste to SNC-Lavalin and American corporations. We have to end this cosy relationship and stop funneling billions of taxpayer dollars to corporations for plans that may worsen, not improve, Canada’s nuclear waste problem,” said Keller-Herzog.

Releases of radioactive waste increase the risks of cancer, birth defects and genetic mutations in people who drink the contaminated water or breathe the contaminated air, she said.

The Harper government signed a 10-year, multibillion-dollar contract with a consortium of SNC-Lavalin and several foreign corporations in September 2015, very shortly before the last federal election. The consortium’s plan for an aboveground engineered mound that holds one million cubic metres of radioactive waste – less than a kilometre from the Ottawa River – does not meet International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) guidelines. Nor do its plans to bury two defunct reactors in cement next to the Winnipeg and Ottawa rivers.

In November 2018, the Liberal government released a roadmap to introduce “small modular” nuclear reactors across Canada, and in regulations enacted on August 28, 2019, the government has exempted new nuclear reactors under 200 thermal megawatts from environmental impact assessment under Bill C-69. “There are already large quantities of radioactive waste being transported from Manitoba, Québec and even the United States to Chalk River over public roads. First Nations are rightly concerned, as we all should be, about what’s happening to this nuclear waste, and we want to see transparency about the shipments and full consultation with Indigenous communities,” said Lorraine Rekmans, Green Party candidate for Leeds-Grenville-Thousand Islands and Rideau Lakes. Rekmans is the Green Party of Canada critic for Indigenous Affairs and Shadow Cabinet Co-chair. 

Claude Bertrand, running in the Pontiac riding that stretches over 200 km along the Ottawa River, noted the strong opposition in Québec to abandonment of nuclear waste near the river. “Over 140 communities in Quebec and Ontario are strongly opposed to the Canadian Nuclear Laboratories’ plans, including the Metropolitan Community of Montréal,” Bertrand said. “It’s our drinking water, and we don’t want to take risks with it in the name of short-term corporate profits.”

Chalk River Laboratories are located in Green Party candidate Ian Pineau’s riding, Renfrew-Nipissing-Pembroke. “We need the right plan in the right location,” Pineau (not present at the event) said. “That would protect, not risk, our river and our drinking water, stimulate the local economy, and provide long-term, well-paying careers in responsible waste management.”

The candidates called on Ottawa to abandon the current nuclear waste plans and aim to meet or exceed international standards. They also called for full public consultation to create a federal policy for the long-term management of non-fuel radioactive waste.

“The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission should not be approving nuclear waste plans with no oversight by Parliament, and no federal policies spelling out how low-level and intermediate-level waste must be managed,” said Keller-Herzog.-30-

Quick facts about low level waste

The Chalk River Mound is a proposed above-ground landfill facility for more than one million tons of federally-owned “legacy” radioactive wastes. It would stand 5-7 stories high and be located on the side of a hill surrounded by wetlands, less that one kilometre from the Ottawa River.

It is often said that the Chalk River mound would “only contain low level waste”. It is incorrect to assume that this means the wastes and the mound would be innocuous and low risk. Here are some quick facts:

Low level does not mean low hazard. All categories of radioactive waste contain materials that emit ionizing radiation that can cause DNA damage, birth defects, leukaemia, cancer and chronic diseases. Low level waste is no exception to this.

Low level refers to how much protection a worker needs to handle the waste. Canada’s nuclear industry uses the terms “low”, “intermediate”, and “high” to designate short-term risks of waste handling by workers — not long-term risks of public exposure. “High-level waste” – irradiated nuclear fuel – gives off very intense heat and gamma radiation that can kill an exposed human in seconds. Such wastes must be handled remotely and workers must be shielded from the radiation. Workers must also be shielded from “intermediate-level waste” such as reactor parts, filters, resins, and solidified medical isotope waste. “Low-level waste” is a term for materials that pose risks with longer exposures, or that emit less penetrating forms of alpha and beta radiation. Alpha and beta emitters can be handled by workers without shielding but are highly dangerous if inhaled or ingested.

Many long-lived hazardous radioactive materials are destined for disposal in the mound. Radionuclides with half-lives* of up to billions of years would be disposed of in the mound. Up to 1000 metric tons of uranium-238, with a 4.5-billion-year half-life, are destined for disposal in the mound according to the environmental impact statement. Five plutonium isotopes, including plutonium-239 with a 24,000-year half-life, are proposed for disposal. The waste inventory includes huge amounts of strontium-90 and cesium-137, with half-lives of around 30 years. It also includes large amounts of carbon-14, with a 5,700-year half-life, and of tritium (the radioactive form of hydrogen) with a 12.3-year half-life. Carbon-14 and tritium are “weak” beta emitters, but if inhaled or ingested they incorporate into human DNA and other biological molecules, where they persist for a longer period, and can cause greater biological damage.

Low level waste only refers to the radioactive portion of the materials destined for the mound. According to the environmental impact statement, many other toxic, hazardous and long-lived substances would go into the mound, including materials contaminated with PCBs, asbestos, arsenic, and mercury.

In many cases it may be impossible to separate low level from intermediate level waste. Canada’s legacy nuclear wastes are a complex mixture of hundreds of manmade radioactive substances created by nuclear fission. Nuclear weapons research at Chalk River generated a very wide range of wastes – far more complex than those from power reactors.  Wastes were not consistently analyzed over the years, and records prior to 1954 were lost.  Wastes were dumped in the sand, creating radioactive plumes of tritium, carbon-14 and strontium-90 that have contaminated large quantities of soil. A former AECL waste expert has warned that separating long-lived, higher-activity waste from short-lived, low-activity waste may be impossible. Shipping containers with building demolition debris from the Chalk River and Whiteshell Laboratories are being stacked near the mound site.  If the mound proposal is approved, these would be driven into the mound area and covered with contaminated soil. 

The mound would not contain and isolate waste. The Chalk River mound would fail to meet international safety standards that require that radioactive waste be kept out of the biosphere for the duration of its radiological hazard. Putting long-lived radioactive wastes on the surface increases risks of accidents and leaks during disposal operations and extreme weather events such as downbursts, tornadoes and extreme rainfall. Long-lived wastes would permanently contaminate the Ottawa River and expose large numbers of people to low levels of radiation over millennia. International safety standards require that these wastes be stored underground. Properly managing these wastes by packaging them, labelling and storing them underground in stable rock away from drinking water sources would create many long term well-paying jobs and establish Canadian leadership to deal with the global radioactive waste problem.

* The “half life” of a radionuclide is the period of time required for half of its atoms to disintegrate (explode) giving off harmful “atomic radiation”.  If you multiply the half-life by 10, that’s how long it takes for the amount of the radionuclide to be reduced by a factor of a thousand. 

HOT GARBAGE GRIFTERS: SNC-LAVALIN’S PLAN TO TURN NUCLEAR WASTE INTO LONG-TERM GOLD

– The Energy Mix – https://theenergymix.com –

https://theenergymix.com/2019/03/10/hot-garbage-grifters-snc-lavalins-plan-to-turn-nuclear-waste-into-long-term-gold/

Posted By Alexandra Bly In Biodiversity & Habitat,Canada,Energy Politics,Finance & Investment,Health & Safety,Nuclear,Opinion & Analysis,United States |Full Story: The Energy Mix @theenergymix
March 10, 2019Primary Author Paul McKay7 Comments

Jeangagnon/Wikimedia Commons

On the anniversary of the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster, investigative journalist Paul McKay reveals that the trade in radioactive waste is becoming a lucrative opportunity for SNC-Lavalin and its U.S. partner.

If it is true that one person’s garbage can be another’s gold, then Montreal-based multinational SNC-Lavalin and its new U.S. partner, Holtec International, plan to be big global players in what promises to be a very lucrative, long-term business: handling highly radioactive nuclear wastes until permanent disposal methods and sites might be found, approved, and built.

That problem is pressing because the volume of spent reactor fuel is cresting in the U.S., Canada, Europe, China, India, Russia, and Japan. There are also hundreds of intensively contaminated reactors which must sooner or later be entombed, dismantled, chopped up by robots, then sent in special, sealed containers to interim storage sites somewhere.

But no country in the world has yet found a proven, permanent solution for the 250 million kilograms of spent fuel now in limbo [2] in storage pools and canisters, let alone the atomic furnaces which created them. There are now [3] about 413 operable civilian reactors in 31 countries, and another 50 under construction.

Physics tells us precisely how “hot” atomic garbage is. Every commercial power reactor—regardless of model, type, country, or owner/operator—contains the radioactive equivalent of many atomic bombs locked within its spent fuel, reactor core, pumps, valves, and extensive cooling circuits.

To illustrate this, consider that only a small fraction of the “fission inventory” at the Fukushima nuclear site escaped during the terrifying March, 2011 accident. All operating civilian reactors eventually create and contain more than 200 [4] such “hot” elements and isotopes. Known as transuranic elements, actinides, and activation products, they comply with the laws of physics but defy ordinary definitions of danger, technological assurance, and even human-calibrated time itself.

Some fission products transmute or decay within days, while others (like plutonium-239) can take 24,000 years or more [5] to lose half their deadly mass. As this happens alpha, beta, or gamma radiation is constantly emitted, which in turn can directly damage living cells and organs. Many of these particles can accumulate like silent assassins in the food chain, then strike later.

Worse, they have the ability to invade human bodies by mimicking needed minerals like the calcium, potassium, magnesium, or iron we find in milk, meat, or vegetables. Worse still, they can impair human reproductive organs, causing health damage and intergenerational genetic defects. If exposed, adult women are more vulnerable to radiation than men, because they have one lifetime store of ova while male sperm is replenished over time. Children are most vulnerable of all, because they produce especially defenseless cells at a torrid rate as they grow.

And finally, the “hot” inventory of every reactor contains some irradiated elements which will remain latently lethal for hundreds of centuries or more. Each has its own emission signature and decay rate. The fissile isotope Uranium 235 [6], for example, will lose half its mass after 700 million years.

This is not speculative; it is a matter of fundamental physics and biology. Fukushima illustrated why achieving even a 98% containment success rate means catastrophic consequences. The risk of any such failure for millennia to come is an embedded liability for every power reactor operating today, and for its spent fuel legacy.

So it bears examining just who is taking charge of the most dangerous garbage on Earth. Enter SNC-Lavalin and Holtec International.

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Canadians might recognize century-old SNC-Lavalin as a venerable engineering giant, but with past decades of technical success and corporate gravitas ruined by 21st century bribery, fraud, and corruption scandals, and by recent convictions of employees and executives for corporate malfeasance.

In 2013, following sordid proof of bribery and kickback schemes from Libya to Bangladesh, the World Bank banned [7] SNC-Lavalin and its 100 global affiliates from bidding on contracts for 10 years. The company is also facing criminal charges[8] for its tactics to win a new hospital construction contract in Montreal, and another criminal probe [9] related to a Montreal bridge contract. A reputation that was once impeccable now may be irredeemable.

SNC-Lavalin also has a well-documented history of manipulating compliant federal and Quebec politicians, and securing endless subsidies, concessions, sweetheart loans, and preferential tax and legal treatments sanctioned by both Liberal and Conservative prime ministers. In 2018, the federal election watchdog reported [10] the company had made more than $117,000 in illegal political donations (the lion’s share of which went to the Liberals) by secretly conscripting employee donations and routing them through obscure pathways. In January 2019, a disgraced company executive pleaded guilty [11] to orchestrating the illegal election finance scheme.

Most recently, the federal minister of justice and attorney general, the top law enforcement official in the country, is alleged to have lost her cabinet post after she rebuffed efforts by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his top advisors to have her waive potential criminal penalties (which would preclude SNC-Lavalin bidding on federal contracts for 10 years) in favour of fines and anti-corruption measures. That followed a recent, under-the-radar revision of the federal Criminal Code to allow for such corporate leniency, for which SNC-Lavalin lobbied repeatedly [12].

In 2011, under the former Stephen Harper government, SNC-Lavalin managed to acquire key commercial nuclear contracts, intellectual property, and personnel of the federal Crown corporation Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd. (AECL). The purchase price was C$15 million (plus possible future royalty payments to Ottawa) for an entity into which Canadian taxpayers had sunk [13] more than $17 billion during six previous decades.

Why would the Canadian engineering company pay even that much, when global nuclear growth was barely 1% last year, and capital investment in renewable power generation (nearly US$300 billion [14] in 2016) is more than double that for new nuclear and fossil-based generation (coal, oil, gas) combined? Wasn’t that fatal trend already obvious?

Perhaps it was. But perhaps someone in Montreal also cunningly calculated that there might be much more money to be made during the demise of the global nuclear industry, like a company specializing in dangerous demolitions, or removing asbestos). Because the cumulative volume of atomic garbage is still climbing—and especially since Fukushima, governments and utilities are willing to pay extortionate sums to remove nuclear wastes from densely-populated areas and keep them out of sight for decades or more.

If there are few rivals in that “hot garbage” business, all the better, because that will fetch more contracts at higher prices. Then fortune will favour the brazen.

Such a business model also apparently appeals to U.S.-based Holtec International. It has not designed, financed, or built typical nuclear power plants. Instead, it has created a global contracting business supplying nuclear replacement parts, equipment, and services. For two decades, a core business has been providing concrete casks for spent fuel storage.

During that time, Holtec paid a US$2-million fine [15] related to bribery payments to a convicted federal utility manager, and was the subject of scathing safety reviews by a U.S. quality assurance engineer who was later terminated for suspected whistleblowing. A federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission specialist in nuclear cask safety, Dr. Ross Landsman, contemporaneously concluded [16]: “As far as I am concerned, Holtec has no quality assurance. This is the same kind of thinking that led to the NASA Space Shuttle disaster.”

More recently, Holtec has pursued its plan to buy now-defunct U.S. reactors, cut and gut their radioactive innards, then send the scrap along with the spent fuel to a 1,000-acre property it has acquired in remote New Mexico. But the proposed site is facing stiff public and political opposition [17], because Holtec also plans to store wastes from many retired reactors there.

In 2014, Holtec received promises of US$260 million in New Jersey state subsidies to move its headquarters 12 miles to South Camden, and modernize a vast shipyard building at an estimated cost of US$320 million. The subsidies are contingent on creating 320 permanent jobs, and are to be dispensed over 10 years.

Last September, police formed a protective barricade at the plant entrance after Holtec founder Krishna P. Singh complained [18] to a business journal: “There is no tradition of work in [Camden] families. They don’t show up to work. They can’t stand getting up in the morning and coming to work every single day. They haven’t done it, and they didn’t see their parents do it. Of course, some of them get into drugs and things. So, it’s difficult.”

**********

Back in Canada, SNC-Lavalin is leading a consortium Ottawa belatedly convened to clean up Canada’s first nuclear research and reactor site at Chalk River, Ontario. The “hot garbage” there includes contaminated buildings, instruments, pipes and clothing. Reactors at Chalk River and nearby Rolphton await entombment. An estimated one million cubic meters of atomic wastes are slated to be buried near the upper Ottawa River. Even some former AECL scientists have condemned [19] the planned mega-dump.

The site is 200 kilometres upstream of Parliament Hill, where the $15-million deal to sell key AECL assets was approved. But SNC-Lavalin was indemnified from liabilities in that deal, and the federal government retains ownership of the Chalk River property, buildings, and contaminated materials. So the private consortium is now being paid nearly $1 billion [20] each year by federal taxpayers to manage and bury radioactive [21] wastes at Chalk River, and to operate labs to conduct nuclear research there.

The controversial company has also embedded itself in the Ontario nuclear power sector by way of its Trojan horse purchase of AECL assets. That federal Crown company held key CANDU reactor design patents, decades of crucial calculations and technical drawings, and employed remnants of the irreplaceable cadre of nuclear physicists, chemists, and engineers needed to repair, rebuild, and run Ontario’s nuclear fleet.

Once these assets were bestowed upon SNC-Lavalin by Ottawa, it had the leverage to negotiate lucrative contracts with Bruce Power and Ontario Power Generation (OPG), guaranteeing a major share of work related to $26 billion in combined nuclear power plant reconstruction costs during the next decade. Under the $13-billion Darlington refurbishment contract, up to 93% of any project cost overruns [22] will be borne by the province of Ontario (sole owner of OPG), not SNC-Lavalin or allied private contractors—which gives a big, influential engineering firm with no discernable competition very little incentive to bring the project in on budget.

Those two $13-billion contracts involve removing and replacing major CANDU reactor components. That experience, in turn, will leave the company uniquely positioned to eventually decommission Canada’s fleet of reactors, and handle a projected 5.4 million spent fuel bundles. That work will cost another estimated $23 billion (in 2015 dollars), which reactor operators will be compelled to collect [23] from power consumers and preserve for that use.

In America, Holtec has homed in on similarly alluring pots of “hot” honey, only there they are much, much bigger. That’s because nearly 100 commercial reactors in the U.S. are facing eventual retirement, and federal laws force the utilities that own the reactors to collect a constant stream of payments from consumers to cover plant decommissioning and spent fuel disposal costs. Those multi-billion-dollar pools of money have grown over time, but American utilities cannot draw from them without regulatory approval.

But there is no licenced federal facility in all of America to permanently immobilize and bury the “hot” spent fuel currently being stored at some 80 sites, and only one federal disposal site in South Carolina which will accept both nuclear weapons waste (including military reactors) and a rare few dismantled civilian reactor cores.

Think plugged toilet. Think Fukushima, because Japan has no permanent nuclear waste disposal site. So spent fuel bundles there were stacked in improvised swimming pools—outside the crucial containment shell. Think Pickering, Ontario, where decades of spent fuel is accumulating in swimming pools and concrete canisters because Canada has no approved final disposal site for “hot garbage”.

Everyone in the civilian nuclear business—from reactor operators to their regulators—understands that they might be one extended pump system failure, blackout, earthquake, extreme storm, or cyber-attack away from a public health catastrophe. They are desperate for some saviour to make it all go away.

**********

Re-enter SNC-Lavalin and Holtec. Last summer, instead of competing as rivals, they created a joint venture to collaborate on “hot garbage” contracts across the continent. To the great relief of reactor operators and regulators, their subsidiary CDI is promising to buy defunct nuclear plants, dismantle contaminated components, then ship those and spent fuel bundles in concrete canisters to its isolated New Mexico property. All, CDI claims, at a price and speed individual utilities could not hope to achieve on their own.

For the U.S. utilities, such a deal would get rid of their worst liability nightmare in a hurry and clean up their bottom line, because CDI would get paid from the dedicated funds utilities are forbidden to use for any other purpose. For state utility regulators and the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission, it would banish the problem to one remote patch of scrubland, far away in the U.S. southwest.

Emphasis on “one”. If the Holtec site in New Mexico does receive final approval, the CDI joint venture will have sole access to the first and only such private facility in North America. Naturally, owning the only toilet in town would confer an effective monopoly, giving the two joint venture partners enough leverage to win most future nuclear disposal contracts, while cashing in as platinum-priced plumbers.

But even if Holtec’s proposed US$2.4-billion project in New Mexico gets licenced and built, and the CDI joint venture does a booming business sending “hot garbage” there from some 80 sites in 35 states, Ernest Hemingway’s curt counsel to “never confuse movement with action” applies here.

The New Mexico facility will not be designed or licenced as a permanent disposal site. Holtec’s sealed canisters will not be designed or licenced to hold nuclear wastes for more than a few decades. And if recent troubles are any indication, some might not last a year—let alone decades.

Holtec and the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission have now locked horns over the integrity of its newest sealed containers at the San Onofre nuclear complex, 60 miles north of San Diego. It was shut down in 2013, after breakdowns and repair costs made it uneconomic to operate.

Now, the utility owner is prepping the reactors for dismantling at a cost of US$4.4 billion, and some 3.6 million pounds of hot spent fuel waste remains on the site. This year, most of the San Onofre fuel bundles were expected to be transferred from an indoor swimming pool to an outdoor morgue, where new Holtec caskets waited on a ridge overlooking the Pacific Ocean.

However, Holtec made design changes to its casks without notifying the utility or the federal regulator. Only a few had been filled before workers noticed a loose bolt which could jam hot fuel bundles, or puncture the metal cask lining, or prevent future inspections or removal of spent fuel. Work was stopped for 10 days and the NRC was notified. It in turn ordered [24] Holtec to stop supplying casks with the modified design, but many had already been delivered to other nuclear plant sites.

Then fuel transfers were halted again because inexperienced Holtec employees allowed [25] a 50-ton Holtec canister—filled with hot spent fuel bundles—to be dangerously misaligned as it was being lifted by a crane and inserted into a vault at the San Onofre site. The NRC reprimanded Holtec sharply [26] for lax training and oversight related to the incident.

The episodes illustrate the vanishingly small margins of error when dealing with nuclear wastes. Luckily, no leak or accident occurred at San Onofre. But the errant four-inch stainless steel bolt (and the unauthorized cask design change by Holtec) was discovered only by chance, just as 43 identical Holtec casks were waiting to be filled at San Onofre. Others had already been filled at nuclear sites from New England to Alabama.

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The shape-shifting lethality of “hot” fission products, and their immutable longevity, tests the limits of not just human technology, but most measures of human conduct.

Once it’s created, such “hot garbage” demands all companies involved be immune to greed, bribery, cutting corners, masking quality control failures, or deceiving safety auditors.

It requires regulators that are relentlessly vigilant, trained to detect flaws and complacency, impervious to bribes or coercion, and who place a far higher priority on public safety than on reactor performance, career promotions, pleasing the boss, or pay raises.

It requires politicians who refuse to dispense favours, subsidies, or serial excuses to preferred players, and who always keep the lethality and longevity of nuclear wastes foremost in their minds when making related policy.

This matrix of perfection, of course, does not exist anywhere on this planet.

So there have been horrific accidents such as Chernobyl and Fukushima. Nuclear plants like San Onofre have been built atop known earthquake faults, a stone’s throw from the Pacific Ocean. In France, massive reactor core containment vessels were belatedly found to be defective—years after startup. In 2016, the French national nuclear safety authority found [27] that a state-owned forging company had falsified quality control reports for four decades while as many as 400 defective parts were supplied.  

At the eight-reactor Pickering [28] nuclear complex, located in Canada’s densest population corridor, the plutonium locked inside spent fuel bundles is equal to that embedded in 11,000 nuclear weapons. Even more atomic waste is lurking at the eight-reactor Bruce complex and four-reactor Darlington plant in Ontario, and at the Point Lepreau reactor in New Brunswick.

The Fukushima tragedy, physics, and biology tell us the only tolerable nuclear containment breach rate is zero per cent. For forever. Yet the “hot garbage” keeps piling up, even though it can imperil our biosphere for centuries. This is not just tempting fate. It is giving it the middle finger.

Paul McKay has won Canada’s top awards for investigative, business and feature reporting multiple times, and is the author of two books about nuclear technology and policy. This report was researched and written pro bono. No funding from any source was sought or received.7 Comments (Open | Close)

7 COMMENTS TO “HOT GARBAGE GRIFTERS: SNC-LAVALIN’S PLAN TO TURN NUCLEAR WASTE INTO LONG-TERM GOLD”

#1 Pingback By Hot Garbage Grifters: SNC-Lavalin’s Plan to Turn Nuclear Waste into Long-Term Gold – Enjeux énergies et environnement On March 10, 2019 @ 9:09 PM

[…] The Energy Mix [29]; via […]

#2 Comment By Paul Gervan On March 11, 2019 @ 10:12 AM

Brilliant investigative work. Here’s to independent media. Bravo Paul McKay!

#3 Comment By Mireille LaPointe On March 12, 2019 @ 11:27 AM

Absolutely brilliant! Miigwech, Paul.

#4 Comment By Donna Gilmore On March 15, 2019 @ 8:56 AM

Excellent article! The story is even worse at San Onofre and with Holtec and the NRC. The Holtec system the NRC approved damages the walls of every canister downloaded into the storage holes. The utility, Southern California Edison, and these other players are trying to hide or downplay this issue. The NRC refuses to formally document this issue or hold anyone accountable for a system that immediately shortens the life of these uninspectable and unrepairable thin-wall canisters (only 5/8″ thick). They have no fix other than to recall and replace this system. The root cause is Holtec’s poorly engineered imprecise downloading system that gouges the walls of every canister downloaded. Edison admitted to the NRC that the entire length of the canister wall scrapes against a steel metal guide ring as it is lowered past the ring over 18 feet. More information at SanOnofreSafety.org

#5 Comment By Brennain Lloyd On April 3, 2019 @ 9:06 AM

Excellent. A detailed analysis for the SNC-Lavelin’s sordid past and aspired to future and the connecting point (radioactive wastes) from a reliable investigative journalist. Thank you, Paul McKay.

#6 Comment By Ole Hendrickson On August 2, 2019 @ 11:05 AM

Anyone who has children or who cares about the future should read this article.

#7 Comment By Nira Dookeran On August 2, 2019 @ 1:22 PM

Omg. It’s even worse than I thought. And I thought it was very bad.:-(

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URLs in this post:

[1] SUBSCRIBE: http://eepurl.com/Z7ZCr

[2] now in limbo: https://phys.org/news/2019-01-storage-nuclear-global-crisis.html

[3] There are now: https://www.worldnuclearreport.org/IMG/pdf/20180902wnisr2018-lr.pdf

[4] more than 200: http://ccnr.org/hlw_chart.html

[5] 24,000 years or more: https://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/doc-collections/fact-sheets/plutonium.html

[6] Uranium 235: http://www.radioactivity.eu.com/site/pages/Uranium_238_235.htm

[7] banned: http://www.worldbank.org/en/news/press-release/2013/04/17/world-bank-debars-snc-lavalin-inc-and-its-affiliates-for-ten-years

[8] facing criminal charges: https://www.theglobeandmail.com/canada/article-former-snc-lavalin-ceo-pleads-guilty-in-fraud-case/

[9] criminal probe: https://montrealgazette.com/news/canada/snc-lavalin-faces-criminal-probe-over-montreal-bridge-contract-documents-reveal/wcm/fe96554d-ad14-4504-9939-0c2cf369016a

[10] reported: https://business.financialpost.com/pmn/business-pmn/former-snc-lavalin-exec-charged-with-illegal-federal-political-contributions

[11] pleaded guilty: https://theenergymix.comabout:blank

[12] lobbied repeatedly: https://nationalpost.com/news/politics/snc-failure-to-secure-deferred-prosecution-comes-after-years-of-legal-fights-lobbying-blitz

[13] had sunk: https://www.sierraclub.ca/national/programs/atmosphere-energy/nuclear-free/reactors/nuclear-subsidies-at-50.pdf

[14] nearly US$300 billion: https://www.thestreet.com/investing/global-spending-on-renewables-is-outpacing-fossil-fuels-14618056

[15] paid a US$2-million fine: https://oig.tva.gov/reports/semi59.pdf

[16] concluded: https://www.songscommunity.com/internal_redirect/cms.ipressroom.com.s3.amazonaws.com/339/files/20182/Rita%20Conn%20-%20Public%20comment%20for%20CEP%20meeting%20-%2007-26-2015.pdf

[17] stiff public and political opposition: http://www.santafenewmexican.com/news/local_news/opposition-gears-up-to-nuclear-waste-disposal-in-new-mexico/article_3350fffa-6c03-5380-926a-468f4f54c6c3.html

[18] complained: https://www.nj.com/camden/index.ssf/2018/09/ceo_of_nj_firm_given_260m_in_tax_breaks_trashes_local_workers_as_lazy_drug-users.html

[19] condemned: https://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/scientists-decry-plan-for-ontario-nuclear-waste-site/article35482638/

[20] $1 billion: http://www.ccnr.org/CCNR_CNL_2017.pdf

[21] radioactive: https://ottawacitizen.com/opinion/columnists/shacherl

[22] 93% of any project cost overruns: http://www.rds.oeb.ca/HPECMWebDrawer/Record/447044/File/document

[23] compelled to collect: https://www.nwmo.ca/en/ABOUT-US/Who-We-Are/Funding/Project-Costs

[24] ordered: https://www.reformer.com/stories/nrc-files-complaint-against-fuel-cask-maker,560101

[25] allowed: https://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/business/energy-green/sd-fi-nrc-songs-inspection-20181129-story.html

[26] reprimanded Holtec sharply: https://www.scribd.com/document/394421864/NRC-Special-Inspection-Report

[27] found: https://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-areva-safety-creusot-idUKKBN16N1SL

[28] Pickering: http://www.cleanairalliance.org/pickerings-big-and-growing-waste-problem/

[29] : https://theenergymix.com/2019/03/10/hot-garbage-grifters-snc-lavalins-plan-to-turn-nuclear-waste-int&#8230

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Letter to IAEA Director General from First Nations and civil society groups

Le français suit

April 23, 2018

Mr. Yukiya Amano, Director General International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Vienna International Centre
PO Box 100, 1400 Vienna, Austria

Dear Mr. Amano

We are writing to express as an urgent matter our deep concern that Canada is failing to meet its commitments under the Joint Convention on the Safety of Spent Fuel Management and on the Safety of Radioactive Waste Management. Canada is in our view failing to manage its radioactive wastes in a responsible manner that would protect its citizens and avoid placing excessive burdens on future generations. We would like to bring to your attention the following:

The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) is currently
conducting environmental assessments of three project proposals for permanent disposal of the federal government’s own radioactive wastes that we believe are completely out of alignment with IAEA guidance.

A giant, above-ground landfill for one million cubic meters of “low level” radioactive waste, including significant quantities of long-lived alpha and beta/gamma emitters, is proposed to be built beside the Ottawa River at Chalk River, Ontario. IAEA guidance states that near-surface disposal is not suitable for waste with long-lived radionuclides, because a “disposal facility at or near the surface makes it susceptible to processes and events that will degrade its containment and isolation capacity over much shorter periods of time” (1).

Nuclear reactor “entombment” projects are proposed for the Whiteshell-1 reactor beside the Winnipeg River in Pinawa Manitoba; and for the Nuclear Power Demonstration reactor beside the Ottawa River at Rolphton, Ontario. The IAEA does not recommend reactor entombment except in emergencies (2).

Canada has not developed policies and strategies for radioactive waste management as recommended by the IAEA (3). A recent petition to the Auditor General of Canada notes that Canada is grossly deficient in policies and strategies to guide the disposal or long-term management of the federal government’s 600,000 cubic meters of radioactive waste (excluding irradiated nuclear fuel), much of it a byproduct of nuclear weapons production activities during the Cold War era.(4)

Canada has not developed a national classification system applicable to radioactive waste disposal despite having been asked about this several times during the IAEA peer review process (2). Canada’s classification system allows long-lived radionuclides such as plutonium to be classified as “low level” and makes no mention of keeping these substances contained and isolated from the biosphere.

The federal government, which has responsibility for radioactive waste policy, has only ever released a “framework” composed of three bullets. (5) This “radioactive waste policy framework”, developed with no public discussion or consultation, is now more than 20 years old. It states that waste owners must meet their responsibilities “in accordance with approved waste disposal plans,” but the Government of Canada, as “owner” of the vast majority of Canada’s non-fuel radioactive wastes, has never released an approved plan for long-term management of its own wastes.

If Canada had radioactive waste policies and plans that conform to IAEA guidance we do not believe that the three current proposals would have reached the environmental assessment stage. Canada is proposing to abandon long-lived radionuclides at or near the surface, at sites chosen for convenience rather than for long-term safety. Canada has never conducted a proper siting process for non-fuel radioactive wastes, either for a near-surface disposal facility or for a geological facility.

CNSC – far from intervening to address these problems – is in our view compounding them. It dismissed warnings from scientific experts about serious flaws in the three proposals during the project description phase (6) (7) (8). We are advised that it provided incomplete and misleading information about them in its recent report to the Joint Convention (9). CNSC is widely perceived to be subject to “regulatory capture. (10). As a regulatory body, not a policy-making body, CNSC’s so-called “regulatory policy” guides are no substitute for government policy. Canada lacks checks and balances and the involvement of multiple agencies and departments that in our view are needed to strengthen its nuclear governance system.

We believe that an IAEA investigation and report on Canada’s radioactive waste management policies and practices is urgently needed. We also request that IAEA review Canada’s nuclear governance with a view to providing recommendations that would address serious current deficiencies.

We look forward very much to receiving your assistance in these very important matters.

Yours sincerely,

Grand-Chief Patrick Madahbee, Anishinabek Nation
Chief James Marsden, Alderville First Nation
Chief Joanne G. Rogers, Aamjiwnaang First Nation
Chief Rodney Noganosh, Chippewas of Rama First Nation 
Chief Shining Turtle, Whitefish River First Nations
Candace Day Neveau, Bawating Water Protectors

Angela Bischoff, Ontario Clean Air Alliance
Alain Saladzius, Fondation Rivières
Beatrice Olivastri, Friends of the Earth Canada
Benoit Delage, Conseil Régional de l’Environnement et du Développement Durable de l’Outaouais
Carole Dupuis, Regroupement vigilance hydrocarbures Québec
Christian Simard, Nature Québec
Gretchen Fitzgerald, Sierra Club of Canada
Martine Chatelain, Eau Secours!
Meredith Brown, Ottawa Riverkeeper
Nicole DesRoches, Agence de bassin versant des 7
Robb Barnes, Ecology Ottawa
Shawn-Patrick Stensil, Greenpeace Canada
Theresa McClenaghan, Canadian Environmental Law Association

Dr. Éric Notebaert, Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment Dr. Gordon Edwards, Canadian Coalition for Nuclear Responsibility
Dr. Ole Hendrickson, Concerned Citizens of Renfrew County and Area
Dr. P. T. Dang, Biodiversity Conservancy International

André Michel, Les Artistes pour la Paix
Barry Stemshorn, Pontiac Environmental Protection
Carolynn Coburn, Environment Haliburton!
Céline Lachapelle, Action Environment Basses-Laurentides
Dave Taylor, Concerned Citizens of Manitoba
Gareth Richardson, Green Coalition Verte
Georges Karpat, Coalition Vigilance Oléoducs
Gilles Provost and Ginette Charbonneau, Ralliement contre la pollution radioactive 
Jamie Kneen, Mining Watch
Johanna Echlin, Old Fort William (Quebec) Cottagers’ Association
John Jackson, Nulcear Waste Watch
Janet McNeill, Durham Nuclear Awareness
Kirk Groover, Petawawa Point Cottagers’ Association
Marc Fafard, Sept-Îles Sans Uranium
Marie Durand, Alerte Pétrole Rive-Sud
Mario Gervais, l’Association pour la Préservation du Lac Témiscamingue
Maryanne MacDonald, Water Care Allies, First United Church, Ottawa
Nadia Alexan, Citizens in Action
Pascal Bergeron, Environnement Vert Plus
Patrick Rasmussen, Mouvement Vert Mauricie
Paul Johannis, Greenspace Alliance of Canada’s Capital
Réal Lalande, STOP Oléoduc Outaouais

cc.

The Right Hon. Justin Trudeau, PC MP, Prime Minister of Canada
Chief Perry Bellegarde, Chief of the Assembly of First Nations
Mr. Michael Ferguson, Auditor General of Canada
Ms. Julie Gelfand, Commissioner of Environment and Sustainable Development,Canada
H. E. Ambassador Mark Bailey, Permanent Representative of Canada to the IAEA
The Hon. Carolyn Bennett, PC MP, Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations, Canada, 

The Hon. Catherine McKenna, PC MP, Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Canada
The Hon. Chrystia Freeland, PC MP, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Canada
The Hon. Ginette Petitpas Taylor, PC MP, Minister of Health, Canada 

The Hon. Jim Carr, PC MP, Minister of Natural Resources, Canada
The Hon. Elizabeth May, MP, Leader of the Green Party of Canada 

The Hon. Luc Thériault, MP, Groupe parlementaire québécois
The Hon. Mario Beaulieu, MP, Bloc Québécois
The Hon. Erin O’Toole, MP, Conservative Party of Canada Foreign Affairs Critic, Canada
The Hon. Shannon Stubbs, MP, Conservative Party of Canada Natural Resources Critic
The Hon. Marilyn Gladu, MP, Conservative Party of Canada, Health Critic The Hon. Ed Fast, MP, Conservative Party of Canada, Environment and Climate Change Critic
The Hon. Hélène Laverdière, MP, NDP Foreign Affairs Critic
The Hon. Richard Cannings, MP, NDP Natural Resources Critic
The Hon. Don Davies, MP, NDP Health Critic
The Hon. Alexandre Boulerice, MP, NDP Environment and Climate Change Critic 

The Hon. Monique Pauzé, MP, Groupe parlementaire québécois Environment Critic
Geoff Williams, Chair, Waste Safety Standards Committee (WASSC)
Sandra Geupel, WASSC Scientific Secretary
The Hon. Isabelle Melançon, MNA, Minister of Sustainable Development, the Environment and the Fight against Climate Change, Québec
The Hon. Chris Ballard, MPP, Minister of the Environment and Climate Change, Ontario 

The Hon. Rochelle Squires, MLA, Minister of Sustainable Development, Manitoba

References

(1) Near Surface Disposal Facilities for Radioactive Waste. Specific Safety Guide No. SSG-29. International Atomic Energy Agency, Vienna, 2014.https://www-pub.iaea.org/MTCD/publications/PDF/Pub1637_web.pdf
(2) Decommissioning of Facilities. General Safety Requirements Part 6. International Atomic Energy Agency, Vienna, 2014. https://www- pub.iaea.org/MTCD/publications/PDF/Pub1652web-83896570.pdf

(3) Policies and Strategies for Radioactive Waste Management. Nuclear Energy Series Guide No. NW-G-1.1. International Atomic Energy Agency, Vienna, 2009.https://wwwpub.iaea.org/MTCD/Publications/PDF/Pub1093_scr. pdf.

(4) Policies and Strategies for Managing Non-Fuel Radioactive Waste. Petition number 411 to the Auditor General of Canada, September 21, 2017, summary and response at http://www.oag-bvg.gc.ca/internet/English/pet_411_e_42850.html, full text of petition at https://tinyurl.com/AG-petition-411

(5) Radioactive Waste Policy Framework. Natural Resources Canada, Ottawa, 1996. https://www.nrcan.gc.ca/energy/uranium-nuclear/7725

(6) CNSC Disposition Table of Public and Aboriginal Groups’ Comments on Project Description – Near Surface Disposal Facility Project. http://www.ceaa- acee.gc.ca/050/documents/p80122/118862E.pdf
(7) CNSC Disposition Table of Public and Aboriginal Groups’ Comments on Project Description – Nuclear Power Demonstration Closure Project. http://www.ceaa- acee.gc.ca/050/documents/p80121/118857E.pdf

(8) CNSC Disposition Table of Public and Aboriginal Groups’ Comments on Project Description – In Situ Decommissioning of Whiteshell Reactor #1 Project.http://www.ceaa-acee.gc.ca/050/documents/p80124/118863E.pdf

(9) Letter to Mr. Yukiya Amano of the IAEA from Mr. Ole Hendrickson of Concerned Citizens of Renfrew County and Area, “IAEA Review of Canada’s Radioactive Waste Management Practices”. March 5, 2018.

(10) Building Common Ground: A New Vision for Impact Assessment in Canada. The final report of the Expert Panel for the Review of Environmental Assessment Processes. April 2017.https://www.canada.ca/en/services/environment/conservation/assessments/environ mental-reviews/environmental-assessment-processes/building-common-ground.html

Le 23 avril 2018

M. Yukiya Amano, directeur général
Agence internationale de l’énergie atomique (AIEA) Centre international de Vienne
BP 100, 1400 Vienne, Autriche

Cher Monsieur Amano.

Nous vous écrivons d’urgence pour exprimer à quel point nous sommes préoccupés de voir le Canada manquer à ses engagements en vertu de la Convention commune sur lasûreté de la gestion du combustible usé et sur la sûreté de la gestion des déchets radioactifs. À notre avis, le Canada n’arrive pas à gérer ses déchets radioactifs de manière responsable afin de protéger ses citoyens sans fardeau excessif pour les générations futures. Nous aimerions attirer surtout votre attention sur les éléments suivants:

La Commission canadienne de sûreté nucléaire (CCSN) procède actuellement à l’évaluation environnementale de trois projets d’élimination permanente des déchets radioactifs du gouvernement fédéral qui sont en complet désaccord avec les directives de l’AIEA.

On veut notamment aménager à la surface du sol une décharge géante qui recevrait un million de mètres cubes de déchets radioactifs de «faible activité», dont d’importantes quantités d’émetteurs à vie longue de rayonnements alpha et bêta / gamma , près de la rivière des Outaouais à Chalk River en Ontario. Les directives de l’AIEA stipulent pourtant qu’une installation en surface ne convient pas à l’élimination des radionucléides à vie longue, car ” cette localisation près de la surface rend l’installation vulnérable aux processus ou événements qui vont dégrader trop rapidement sa capacité de confinement et d’isolement. “(1).

On a aussi l’intention de bétonner en place deux réacteurs nucléaires: celui deWhiteshell-1 en bordure de la rivière Winnipeg à Pinawa au Manitoba ainsi que celui de la centrale Nuclear Power Demonstration en bordure de la rivière des Outaouais à Rolphton en Ontario. L’AIEA ne recommande pas le bétonnage in situ des réacteurs, sauf en cas d’urgence (2).

Le Canada n’a pas élaboré de politiques et de stratégies pour la gestion des déchets radioactifs, malgré les recommandations de l’AIEA (3). Une récente pétition adressée à la vérificatrice générale du Canada rappelait que le Canada n’a ni politique ni stratégie pour encadrer l’élimination ou la gestion à long terme de 600 000 mètres cubes de déchets radioactifs (en excluant le combustible irradié). Ces déchets appartiennent au Gouvernement fédéral et proviennent surtout de la production de plutonium pendant la Guerre Froide. (4)

Le Canada ne s’est donné aucun système national de classification des déchets radioactifs en vue de leur élimination, même s’il a souvent été interrogé à ce sujet dans le cadre du processus d’examen par les pairs de l’AIEA (2). Le système de classification

du Canada permet de classer des radionucléides à longue vie comme le plutonium parmi les déchets de “faible activité» et n’impose pas que ces substances soient confinées et isolées de la biosphère.

Le gouvernement fédéral, qui est responsable de la politique sur les déchets radioactifs, n’a publié qu’un «cadre» en trois alinéas. (5) Adopté sans discussion ni consultation publique, ce «cadre» est maintenant âgé de plus de 20 ans. Il stipule que les propriétaires de déchets doivent s’acquitter de leurs responsabilités «conformément aux plans approuvés d’évacuation des déchets ». Même si le gouvernement du Canada est «propriétaire» de la grande majorité des déchets radioactifs canadiens qui ne sont pas du combustible irradié, il n’a jamais publié de plan approuvé pour la gestion à long terme de ses propres déchets.

Si le Canada avait des politiques et des plans conformes aux directives de l’AIEA pour les déchets radioactifs, nous sommes convaincus que les trois projets actuels n’auraient pas atteint l’étape de l’évaluation environnementale. Le Canada propose d’abandonner des radionucléides à vie longue en surface ou près de la surface, dans des sites retenus pour leur commodité plutôt que pour leur sécurité à long terme. Le Canada n’a jamais procédé à la sélection systématique d’un emplacement approprié aux déchets radioactifs autres que le combustible irradié, que ce soit pour une installation d’élimination en surface ou en couche géologique profonde.

Nous avons l’impression que la CCSN aggrave ces problèmes plutôt que d’essayer de les régler. Elle a écarté les mises en garde des experts scientifiques contre les graves lacunes des trois projets à l’étape de la description de projet.(6) (7) (8) On nous signale aussi qu’elle a fourni des informations partielles et trompeuses à leur sujet dans son récent rapport à la Convention commune. (9) On dit souvent que la CCSN est victime d’une «capture réglementaire». (10) Puisqu’elle est un organisme de réglementation et non un organisme politique, ses soi-disant guides de «politiques de réglementation» ne peuvent se substituer à une politique gouvernementale. Le Canada manque d’un régime de freins et de contrepoids dans lequel plusieurs organismes et ministères participeraient à la gouvernance nucléaire.

Nous croyons que l’AIEA doit enquêter de toute urgence et faire rapport sur les politiques et les pratiques de gestion des déchets radioactifs au Canada. Nous aimerions également demander à l’AIEA d’examiner la gouvernance nucléaire du Canada en vue de formuler des recommandations pour corriger les graves lacunes actuelles.

Nous comptons beaucoup sur votre aide dans ces importants dossiers . Cordialement,

Grand-Chief Patrick Madahbee, Anishinabek Nation
Chief James Marsden, Alderville First Nation
Chief Joanne G. Rogers, Aamjiwnaang First Nation
Chief Rodney Noganosh, Chippewas of Rama First Nation 
Chief Shining Turtle, Whitefish River First Nations
Candace Day Neveau, Bawating Water Protectors

Angela Bischoff, Ontario Clean Air Alliance
Alain Saladzius, Fondation Rivières
Beatrice Olivastri, Friends of the Earth Canada
Benoit Delage, Conseil Régional de l’Environnement et du Développement Durable de l’Outaouais
Carole Dupuis, Regroupement vigilance hydrocarbures Québec
Christian Simard, Nature Québec
Gretchen Fitzgerald, Sierra Club of Canada
Martine Chatelain, Eau Secours!
Meredith Brown, Ottawa Riverkeeper
Nicole DesRoches, Agence de bassin versant des 7
Robb Barnes, Ecology Ottawa
Shawn-Patrick Stensil, Greenpeace Canada
Theresa McClenaghan, Canadian Environmental Law Association

Dr. Éric Notebaert, Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment Dr. Gordon Edwards, Canadian Coalition for Nuclear Responsibility
Dr. Ole Hendrickson, Concerned Citizens of Renfrew County and Area
Dr. P. T. Dang, Biodiversity Conservancy International

André Michel, Les Artistes pour la Paix
Barry Stemshorn, Pontiac Environmental Protection
Carolynn Coburn, Environment Haliburton!
Céline Lachapelle, Action Environment Basses-Laurentides
Dave Taylor, Concerned Citizens of Manitoba
Gareth Richardson, Green Coalition Verte
Georges Karpat, Coalition Vigilance Oléoducs
Gilles Provost and Ginette Charbonneau, Ralliement contre la pollution radioactive 
Jamie Kneen, Mining Watch
Johanna Echlin, Old Fort William (Quebec) Cottagers’ Association
John Jackson, Nulcear Waste Watch
Janet McNeill, Durham Nuclear Awareness
Kirk Groover, Petawawa Point Cottagers’ Association
Marc Fafard, Sept-Îles Sans Uranium
Marie Durand, Alerte Pétrole Rive-Sud
Mario Gervais, l’Association pour la Préservation du Lac Témiscamingue
Maryanne MacDonald, Water Care Allies, First United Church, Ottawa
Nadia Alexan, Citizens in Action
Pascal Bergeron, Environnement Vert Plus
Patrick Rasmussen, Mouvement Vert Mauricie
Paul Johannis, Greenspace Alliance of Canada’s Capital
Réal Lalande, STOP Oléoduc Outaouais

cc.

The Right Hon. Justin Trudeau, PC MP, Prime Minister of Canada
Chief Perry Bellegarde, Chief of the Assembly of First Nations
Mr. Michael Ferguson, Auditor General of Canada
Ms. Julie Gelfand, Commissioner of Environment and Sustainable Development,Canada
H. E. Ambassador Mark Bailey, Permanent Representative of Canada to the IAEA
The Hon. Carolyn Bennett, PC MP, Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations, Canada, 

The Hon. Catherine McKenna, PC MP, Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Canada
The Hon. Chrystia Freeland, PC MP, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Canada
The Hon. Ginette Petitpas Taylor, PC MP, Minister of Health, Canada 

The Hon. Jim Carr, PC MP, Minister of Natural Resources, Canada
The Hon. Elizabeth May, MP, Leader of the Green Party of Canada 

The Hon. Luc Thériault, MP, Groupe parlementaire québécois
The Hon. Mario Beaulieu, MP, Bloc Québécois
The Hon. Erin O’Toole, MP, Conservative Party of Canada Foreign Affairs Critic, Canada
The Hon. Shannon Stubbs, MP, Conservative Party of Canada Natural Resources Critic
The Hon. Marilyn Gladu, MP, Conservative Party of Canada, Health Critic The Hon. Ed Fast, MP, Conservative Party of Canada, Environment and Climate Change Critic
The Hon. Hélène Laverdière, MP, NDP Foreign Affairs Critic
The Hon. Richard Cannings, MP, NDP Natural Resources Critic
The Hon. Don Davies, MP, NDP Health Critic
The Hon. Alexandre Boulerice, MP, NDP Environment and Climate Change Critic 

The Hon. Monique Pauzé, MP, Groupe parlementaire québécois Environment Critic
Geoff Williams, Chair, Waste Safety Standards Committee (WASSC)
Sandra Geupel, WASSC Scientific Secretary
The Hon. Isabelle Melançon, MNA, Minister of Sustainable Development, the Environment and the Fight against Climate Change, Québec
The Hon. Chris Ballard, MPP, Minister of the Environment and Climate Change, Ontario 

The Hon. Rochelle Squires, MLA, Minister of Sustainable Development, Manitoba

Références
(1) Installations d’élimination des déchets radioactifs à proximité des surfaces. Sécurité spécifique Guide n ° SSG-29. Agence internationale de l’énergie atomique, Vienne. AIEA 2014. (2) Déclassement des installations. Prescriptions générales de sécurité Partie 6. Agence internationale de l’énergie atomique, Vienne. AIEA 2014. https://www- pub.iaea.org/MTCD/Publications/PDF/P1652_F_web.pdf

(3) Politiques et stratégies de gestion des déchets radioactifs. Agence internationale de l’énergie atomique. Guide de la série sur l’énergie nucléaire no NW-G-1.1. AIEA 2009.https://wwwpub.iaea.org/MTCD/Publications/PDF/Pub1093_scr.pdf.
(4) «Politiques et stratégies de gestion des déchets radioactifs autres que le combustible», pétition numéro 411 adressée à la vérificatrice générale du Canada, 21 septembre 2017, résumé et réponse à http://www.oag-bvg.gc.ca/internet/English/pet_411_e_42850.html, texte complet de la pétition à https://tinyurl.com/AG- petition-411

(5) Politique-cadre en matière de déchets radioactifs. Ressources naturelles Canada 1996. https://www.rncan.gc.ca/energie/uranium-nucleaire/7726
(6) –en anglais– CNSC Disposition Table of Public and Aboriginal Groups’ Comments on Project Description – Near Surface Disposal Facility Project. http://www.ceaa- acee.gc.ca/050/documents/p80122/118862E.pdf

(7) –en anglais– CNSC Disposition Table of Public and Aboriginal Groups’ Comments on Project Description – Nuclear Power Demonstration Closure Project.http://www.ceaa-acee.gc.ca/050/documents/p80121/118857E.pdf
(8) –en anglais– CNSC Disposition Table of Public and Aboriginal Groups’ Comments on Project Description – In Situ Decommissioning of Whiteshell Reactor #1 Project.http://www.ceaa-acee.gc.ca/050/documents/p80124/118863E.pdf

(9) Lettre à M. Yukiya Amano de l’AIEA de la part de M. Ole Hendrickson au nom des Concerned Citizens of Renfrew County and Area, “IAEA Review of Canada’s Radioactive Waste Management Practices”, le 5 mars 2018.
(10) BÂTIR UN TERRAIN D’ENTENTE: une nouvelle vision pour l’évaluation des impacts au Canada. Le rapport final du comité d’experts pour l’examen des processus d’évaluation environnementale Avril 2017.https://www.canada.ca/fr/services/environnement/conservation/evaluation/examens- environnementaux/processus-evaluation-environnementale/batir-terrain-entente.html

Ontario town slams proposal for nuclear-waste facility, citing safety issues

A sign marks the entrance to the Chalk River Laboratories in Chalk River, Ont., in 2012. The nearby town of Deep River has opposed a proposal to build a nuclear-waste facility at the location.SEAN KILPATRICK/THE CANADIAN PRESS

SHAWN MCCARTHYGLOBAL ENERGY REPORTERPUBLISHED AUGUST 23, 2017UPDATED AUGUST 23, 2017FOR SUBSCRIBERS 5 COMMENTS

The Town of Deep River, Ont. – home to Canada’s nuclear pioneers for 60 years – has slammed a proposal to build a near-surface nuclear-waste facility at the nearby Chalk River laboratories, saying the company appears to put its scheduling issues ahead of safety.

Government-owned, private-sector-managed Canadian Nuclear Laboratories (CNL) proposes to build a $325-million facility to dispose of a large quantity of low- and intermediate-level radioactive waste generated at the historic research centre, and to bring some waste material from other sites that it manages.

CNL is responding to widespread criticism of the project among local, pro-nuclear residents by revisiting its plan to include a small amount of intermediate-level waste at the site, Kurt Kehler, vice-president for decommissioning and waste management, said in an interview on Wednesday.

In a submission to the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, the Town of Deep River argued the company’s plan is flawed and that the draft environmental-impact statement that was submitted to the regulator is missing key information.

However, in an accompanying letter, Mayor Joan Lougheed said the town supports CNL’s effort to provide for the safe storage and disposal of nuclear waste. Deep River is home for many of the lab’s current and retired employees; it has a population of roughly 4,000 people, situated on the Ottawa River some 200 kilometres northwest of the national capital.

“We’re doing our due diligence and responsibility as representatives of the Town of Deep River,” Ms. Lougheed said in an interview on Wednesday. “We all have a responsibility to deal with waste and waste management.”

She said town supports the storage of low-level radioactive waste at such a near-surface site, but has concerns about the intermediate-level radioactive material that requires isolation and containment for more than several hundred years.

In 2015, the Canadian National Energy Alliance consortium won a contract from the former Conservative government to manage the former Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd. research facilities, now known as Canadian Nuclear Laboratories. The group – which includes SNC-Lavalin Group Inc., and American engineering giant CH2M Hill Inc. and Fluor Corp. – was tasked with bringing private-sector efficiency to AECL operations.

In its submission, Deep River says CNL failed to engage the municipality and its residents, offering a presentation rather than meaningful consultation. It suggests the consortium appears to be more focused on timely and profitable execution of the project than on safety and long-term management of the waste.

Particularly in the consideration of alternative options, “at times it appears the project schedule and costs were the driving forces influencing the assessment rather than public health, safety and the environment,” it said.STORY CONTINUES BELOW ADVERTISEMENT

The town and CNL are in negotiations over what compensation will be paid to the municipality as the host community, and Mr. Kehler described Deep River’s demands as “pretty lofty.”

As well, several First Nations groups either oppose the proposal outright, or say that they have not been properly consulted even though the research facilities are located on unceded traditional territory that is subject to land-claim negotiations.

CNL’s proposal – which aims to have the waste facility operational in 2021 – is running into fierce opposition from some AECL retirees. Several scientists who worked at facility say the CNL plan fails to meet international standards for safely dealing with intermediate-level waste (ILW).

“We’ve heard those comments and we’re taking that under serious advisement,” Mr. Kehler said. “And so we’ll be coming out with a recommendations shortly to the commission. … We are taking ILW issue seriously and I think we’ll come up with an appropriate resolution that will make just about everybody happy.”

The plan currently calls for 1 per cent of the total volume to be intermediate-level waste, and the company says that material would be on the lower end of the intermediate range. CNL is separately developing plans for the more dangerous intermediate-level waste that exists on the site.

Mr. Kehler also rejected the suggestion that CNL is compromising safety for financial reasons, saying the company is proceeding according to a schedule laid out by the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act and the nuclear-safety commission.