Letter from Sierra Club Canada to Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission re: Bruce hearing

Publication Date: 
September 1, 2010

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August 31, 2010

Dear Mr. Binder,

I have reviewed Mr. LeBlanc’s response to my letter to you. He suggests I misunderstood the role of the CNSC staff in providing advice to the tribunal for consideration and that “the Commission tribunal is a quasi-judicial administrative body with independent members who make fair and transparent decisions based on all evidence presented to them.”

“All evidence presented to them” is the key to a fair and transparent process. We have asked for an opportunity to ensure
all evidence is presented to the tribunal, but the timing and rules preclude that from happening. Unless these two issues are addressed, the tribunal will have only the evidence of Bruce Power and CNSC staff before it when it makes a decision. All Sierra Club Canada asks for is a fair hearing. Under the present circumstances we are not confident the public will receive one.

CNSC professional full time staff required three or four months to develop recommendations and Bruce Power had all the time it needed to prepare its application. The public has been granted only one month from the release of the documentation to research, prepare and file evidence in response.

Both CNSC and Bruce Power had significant resources to produce their evidence, but Mr. LeBlanc (only after prompting) informed Sierra Club today there is no participant funding available for intervenors to prepare evidence and seek expert testimony.

Is it not in the public interest that the tribunal hear “all the evidence” before making a decision? How will that happen when the public is denied both the necessary time and resources?

In my letter dated August 13, 2010, I asked on behalf of the members of Sierra Club Canada for “an opportunity to present expert testimony on the safety of transportation of 1600 tonnes of nuclear waste and to provide the CNSC with legal arguments on the validity of proceeding with the approval in the manner described in the Notice of Public Hearing.” Although we will attempt to provide written comments by September 13, 2010, we view Mr. LeBlanc’s letter as a denial of this reasonable request. Further, we remain concerned the present process “suggests a bias and has the potential to undermine public confidence”.

We urge CNSC to reconsider the timing and the provision of participant funding in order to provide a fair and transparent process. Only in this way can it provide a decision that will be respected by the Canadian public.


John Bennett
Executive Director

(The letter to which John Bennett refers is attached below)