An update on Radioactive Waste Policy in Canada

On November 16th Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources announced that the government was launching a review and public engagement on Canada’s Radioactive Waste Policy. We now have a chance to help the government build a stronger policy that lives up to international standards, and most importantly, protects our waterways.

Early last week, we heard some important news; a significant development in our campaign to demand improvement to Canada’s insufficient nuclear waste policy. On November 16th, the Honourable Seamus O’Regan, Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources, announced that the government was launching a review and public engagement on Canada’s Radioactive Waste Policy. Thanks in part to the support for our campaign, and those like it, citizens now have a chance to help the government build a stronger policy that lives up to international standards, and most importantly, protects our waterways.

While the message has been heard, the work is far from over. The Nuclear Waste Management Organization will conduct the review and will consult with Indigenous peoples, concerned citizens, organizations, companies, and other stakeholders. Many observers are concerned with this appointment, as NWMO has some close ties to the nuclear waste industry. Therefore our role is now to closely engage with this consultation process and make sure that any new policy addresses our greatest concerns. This includes robust environmental protections that meet or exceed those set by the international community. 

Our work is still underway. Since the launch of our campaign earlier this year, over 2300 members of our community have added their support for a better nuclear waste policy in Canada. With this mandate, we have been speaking with MPs, like-minded groups, and many others to further this goal. We will maintain the pressure as this next phase of the work begins. 

Canada is on a path to make nuclear energy a large part of its plan to meet emissions reductions goals. This means that strong policy is more important than ever. This is a big step forward to achieving that end, but many still remain on the path ahead. Thanks to everyone who supported this work, and we hope to see further support as we continue to advocate for your waterways.

3 responses to “An update on Radioactive Waste Policy in Canada”

  1. Terry O'Connor says:

    Let us hope that the review being initiated by Minister O’Regan will lead to a quick categorical decicision to permanently shelve plans for storing nuclear waste adjacent to the Ottawa River at Chalk River.

  2. Rob Stewart says:

    It is worth noting that radioactive waste has been “temporarily” stored at the Chalk River plant and at nuclear power facilities on Lakes Ontario and Huron for decades. To date, it appears that this material has been safely managed without major incident. The nuclear industry, governments and communities continue to grapple with the challenge of developing and implementing a long-term waste management solution. Finally, the proposed facility for Chalk River is not for spent fuel, but lower level waste such as equipment exposed to radiation.

  3. Madeleine says:

    Rob Stewart, thank you for that balanced and informative comment.
    Madeleine