The Age of Nuclear Waste is Upon Us: Are We Ready? Two Case Studies

MEDIA RELEASE / May 12, 2015

“Nuclear waste is everybody’s business. Decisions can no longer be left to the discretion of the nuclear establishment and its regulatory bodies,” said Dr. Gordon Edwards of the Canadian Coalition for Nuclear Responsibility. “The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, appointed by the government, has little or no objectivity in dealing with nuclear waste issues”.

Dr. Ole Hendrickson, of the Concerned Citizens of Renfrew County, cited the case of SRB Technologies, a tritium light factory in Pembroke Ontario, northwest of Ottawa. “This company is in the business of marketing a nuclear reactor waste material, a radioactive form of hydrogen called tritium.”

“In commercializing tritium, this company has polluted the local environment, exacerbated nuclear weapons proliferation risks, and become a dumping ground for tritium wastes from other countries,” said Dr. Hendrickson. “This has all been done with the approval of the CNSC, whose primary legal obligation is supposedly to protect people and the environment.”

Another case, cited by John Bennett, National Program Director of Sierra Club Canada Foundation, is Ontario Power Generation’s proposal to bury and abandon nuclear waste just one kilometer from the shore of Lake Huron. Mr. Bennett pointed out that 154 municipalities representing some 20 million people have passed resolutions opposing the project, yet throughout the public hearings CNSC staff supported OPG’s proposal and dismissed public concerns.

“When Linda Keen was fired from her position as head of the CNSC in 2008 for trying to enforce regulatory requirements, I believe that any chance for the CNSC to play an independent role was scuppered”, said Dr. Edwards.

In the 2012 Omnibus Budget Bill, Canada’s conservative government transferred responsibility for environmental assessment of nuclear projects to the CNSC. Hence the federal panel that last week recommended approval of OPG’s nuclear waste plan was appointed by CNSC President Michael Binder, supported by Minister of Environment Peter Kent. The three-year environmental assessment was housed in CNSC offices.

Doug Hunter of the Inverhuron Committee, representing residents living near the proposed DGR site, deplored the lack of objectivity in the panel’s deliberations. “It’s just common sense that you don’t dump your waste where you draw your drinking water,” he said.


Gordon Edwards, Ph.D., of CCNR, (514) 839 7214
Ole Hendrickson, Ph.D., of CCRC, (613) 234 0578
John Bennett, of Sierra Club Canada Foundation, (613) 291 6888
Doug Hunter, of Inverhuron Committee, (613) 298 0751