Federal government pitting neighbour vs. neighbour over nuclear waste sites
Communities in rural Ontario are divided over proposed nuclear waste sites.
“It is quite sad the division that it has caused within the community,” said sheep farmer Michelle Stein. “Even within families, one person and another person have different ideas on whether or not this project should go ahead. It means some people keep quiet because they want to keep the peace,” she told Kevin Philipupillai of the Hill Times.
Stein is a member of Protect Our Waterways – No Nuclear Waste which has organized protests in South Bruce over the federal government’s plans for new nuclear waste sites.
After more than a decade and evaluating 22 different sites across Canada, the Nuclear Waste Management Organization has narrowed its search for a long-term storage site for high-level nuclear waste down to two finalists.
The NWMO was formed by federal legislation in 2002, with a mandate to develop long-term storage for the most dangerous waste materials produced by nuclear facilities across Canada, including spent fuel rods and the by products of nuclear research. The Liberals include nuclear power in their climate change mitigation plans.
The two remaining sites are the Municipality of South Bruce, in southern Ontario near Lake Huron, and the Township of Ignace, in northwestern Ontario near Kenora. But with the final decision expected in 2023, NDP MP Brian Masse says its “divide-and-conquer” approach has fed local opposition that could scuttle the project.
“Don’t throw a dart at the board and then force something to happen,” said Masse told the Hill Times. “You have them offering supporting programs and services and charitable donations. Influencing the atmosphere. Some people are getting bought out, some people are leasing out properties,” he said.
He called the “divide-and-conquer” approach the NWMO has taken to build support among the selected rural communities, a tactic that pits neighbour against neighbour.
- Read “Local opposition to waste storage sites tests government, industry resolve on nuclear power” by Kevin Philipupillai in the Hill Times, January 13, 2022 (worth the subscription).
- Read “30,000 shipments of nuclear waste would move through Ontario cities, farmland under draft plan” by Colin Butler, CBC, January 18, 2022.