Just a few months ago in March 2017, when Canadian Nuclear Laboratories submitted its plans to build a permanent nuclear waste disposal site at Chalk River, few in the general public had heard of the project. Together with concerned citizens throughout the watershed, and with the help of experts, we helped shine a spotlight on this major undertaking and its risks, particularly the potential for contamination of the nearby Ottawa River with radioactive waste.
Since then, we have seen and heard a groundswell of mounting concern from the public in both Ontario and Québec. Rightfully so. This would be Canada’s first permanent nuclear waste disposal site, a project with risks that will last for centuries, if not thousands of years. A project that will have long-term impacts on the Ottawa River, a drinking water source for over 5 million people. Evaluating this project requires more than technical analysis. It is a public health issue and a societal issue that warrants an independent review and appropriate consultation with all Canadians.
Ottawa Riverkeeper has been working tirelessly to provide an objective, science-based analysis of this project. Today we submitted our detailed comments to the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission. We encourage all citizens to read the document to gain a better understanding of what’s at stake.
Going forward, we will continue to engage with the process and present our findings at the hearings to be held in 2018. In the meantime, our elected officials have shared responsibility to protect the people and aquatic ecosystems of the Ottawa River Watershed. They must take this project seriously and devote sufficient resources to analyzing its potential risks. We will make sure to share our analysis with our elected officials at all levels of government, and encourage concerned citizens to do the same.
Find our full comments here.
For more information on the proposed site, check out our infographic.