Nuclear waste and what to do with it?!

Listen to the Environment in Canada Podcast episode 4 below on plans to store nuclear waste near the Ottawa River

Jessica Murray talks with Ole Hendrickson about Government of Canada’s decision to allow 80 years’ worth of its accumulated radioactive waste to be put in a gigantic landfill surrounded by wetlands that drain into the Ottawa River, 1 kilometer away. They discuss the history of Canada’s nuclear industry and what to do about our nuclear waste.

Nuclear waste radiation symbol over the Ottawa RiverTen Algonquin First Nations, on whose unceded land this Near Surface Disposal Facility (NSDF) would be built, have registered their objections in the strongest possible terms. They note that section 29(2) of the UN Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples requires the Government of Canada to obtain their free, prior, and informed consent before disposing of hazardous waste in their territory.

The NSDF’s proximity to the Ottawa River would also ensure that detectable quantities of long-lived, man-made radioactive substances and other toxic wastes will pollute the river in perpetuity. Indeed, the location was chosen to minimize costs of hauling waste from the dozens of radioactively contaminated structures in the “Active Area” at Chalk River.

To build the NSDF, Canadian Nuclear Laboratories would additionally destroy 35 hectares of near old-growth forest adjacent to the Perch Lake wetlands. The forest, unlogged for 80 years, is home to bear dens, a wolf pack, beaver, moose, and turtles.

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