Chalk River Nuclear Waste ~ Full-page statement in the Hill-Times newspaper (April 29, 2019)

To the Prime Minister, Parliament and the Federal Government

The undersigned organizations have grave concerns about the handling of Canada’s federally-owned nuclear waste by a multinational consortium that includes SNC-Lavalin and corporate partners, some of which have faced criminal charges and/or entered into deferred prosecution agreements.*

●      Canada has no adequate federal policies and strategies for the long-term management of radioactive wastes and the consortium has been given a free hand to advocate and implement proposals that, in our view, are unequal to the task of protecting people’s health and the environment.

●       Under its 10-year federal contract with Atomic Energy of Canada Limited the consortium intends to spend nearly seven billion of our tax dollars on nuclear waste disposal and reactor decommissioning projects that fail to meet even existing international safety guidelines.

●      Its current plans include entombing the radioactive remains of nuclear reactors in cement next to the Ottawa and Winnipeg Rivers, against the explicit advice of international bodies and independent nuclear scientists; these “entombed reactors” would leak radioactivity into the rivers for thousands of years and contaminate drinking water for millions of Canadians.

●     The consortium also plans to erect a massive above-ground mound, 5 to 7 stories high, holding more than one million tons of mixed radioactive waste, including very long-lived materials such as PCBs, arsenic, plutonium-239,  and radioactive asbestos in a swampy area that drains into the Ottawa River.

●     Its plans include transporting thousands of tons of radioactive waste (including extremely toxic irradiated nuclear fuel) along public roads from Pinawa, Manitoba, from Douglas Point, Ontario, and from Gentilly, Quebec, all the way to Chalk River, situated upstream from our nation’s Capital. A program of two thousand truck shipments of radioactive material from Manitoba is planned and may already be underway.

We request that the Federal Government end its “Government-owned Contractor-operated/GoCo” contract with SNC-Lavalin and its corporate partners at the earliest opportunity.

We further request formulation of exemplary policies and projects for Canada’s radioactive waste that meet or exceed international obligations and which would:

●      be managed by independent Canadian experts, in consultation with First Nations and the public 

●      create many long-term, well-paying Canadian jobs

●      safely secure nuclear waste in state-of-the art facilities away from sources of drinking water

●      re-establish Canadian leadership in the nuclear field with world-class science-based solutions to address the growing global radioactive waste problems 

Membership in the consortium, known as Canadian National Energy Alliance, has changed more than once since the consortium assumed control of Canada’s federally-owned nuclear waste in 2015, when it received all shares of Canadian Nuclear Laboratories, a wholly owned subsidiary of Atomic Energy of Canada Limited.  Current consortium members include  SNC-Lavalin, which is debarred by the World Bank for 10 years and facing charges in Canada of fraud, bribery and corruptionTexas-based Fluor Corporation, which paid $4 million to resolve allegations of  financial fraud related to nuclear waste cleanup work at a U.S. site; and Texas-based Jacobs Engineering, which recently acquired CH2M, an original consortium member that agreed to pay $18.5 million to settle federal criminal charges at a nuclear cleanup site in the U.S.

Signatories:

Alliance of the Anishinabek Nation and the Iroquois Caucus, Canadian Coalition for Nuclear Responsibility, Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment, Sierra Club Canada Foundation, Ontario Clean Air Alliance, Ecology Ottawa, Friends of the Earth Canada, Greenspace Alliance of Canada’s Capital, Northwatch, Provincial Council of Women of Ontario, Quebec Council of Women, National Council of Women of Canada, Concerned Citizens Committee of Manitoba, Prevent Cancer Now, Watershed Sentinel Educational Society, Action Climat Outaouais, Ralliement contre la pollution radioactive, Concerned Citizens Renfrew County,  and Area, Old Fort William Cottagers’ Association, Petawawa Point Cottagers Association, Coalition Against Nuclear Dumps on the Ottawa River,  Esprit Whitewater, Durham Nuclear Awareness, Bonnechere River Watershed Project

As it appeared in the Hill Times on April 29, 2019…