Ottawa – Over 100 public interest and community groups signed on to a joint letter setting out their expectations for a review of Canada’s Radioactive Waste Policy launched by Natural Resources Canada last November. Top on their list: the review must be transparent, and independent of the nuclear industry.
In previous communications, the groups have strenuously objected to the decision by Natural Resources Canada to delegate the development of strategies for the management of radioactive waste to an industry organization, the Nuclear Waste Management Organization (NWMO). The NWMO was formed by the power companies who own nuclear reactors in 2002 to develop a plan to manage high level nuclear fuel waste.
The letter states:
As public interest groups, many with considerable expertise in nuclear waste management, we consider this Review to be of utmost national importance. The outcomes of the Review process will impact not only the current generation of Canadians but also generations to come. As we have communicated with NRCan staff and in earlier letters to you as Prime Minister of Canada and as Minister of Natural Resources, we have serious concerns about the shape of the review as announced to date.
In particular, a timeline with March 31, 2021 for the end of public engagement is unreasonable and unacceptable. Most Canadians have not yet even been made aware of this review and its far-ranging implications. At the very least, Canadians must be given notice of the Review process and opportunities to participate.
To date, NRCan has populated a web site, posted four discussion papers and comment forums, and held one by-invitation “information session” and a number of bilateral conversations with civil society organizations and others in December 2020. The format and frequency of the Departments interaction with the nuclear industry and nuclear supply companies is unknown.
The letter with the 100+ endorsing groups can be viewed at www.nuclearwastewatch.ca.