Letters: Radioactive waste risks need to be communicated

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Dear Editor,

I would like to respond to the letter from Becky Smith, regional communications manager for the Nuclear Waste Management Organization (NWMO), “Farmland use would continue at Deep Geological Repository.”

What a bunch of bafflegab. Her focus is on the site and she says “even if the project is sited in South Bruce, current land use could continue for decades to come.”

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Duh, yes — until construction starts.

But the concern isn’t just with the land for the project. The concern is the contamination of the water and land with long-lived radioactive waste both locally and throughout the Great Lakes Basin. The concern is also with market risk for farmers and agricultural processors in the Bruce, Huron, Grey and Wellington Counties that surround this proposed site and the stigma that will attach to products coming from the counties close to “Canada’s Nuclear Waste Dump.”

The global experience so far with attempts to safely and permanently bury radioactive wastes is that the containers and structures fail, ground water is contaminated and a hugely expensive effort to clean up the mess is the actual outcome.

Ms. Smith states, “The current storage method for the resulting nuclear fuel is safe, but not permanent.” Better to stick with that system rather than try another burial experiment in an area that has a larger agricultural output that all the Maritime provinces put together.

The reason I feel NWMO stands for Nuclear Waste “Marketing” Organization and should not be trusted is that at least seven times I have gone to NWMO presentations or public information displays and they have never once had their inadequate information sheet on the health hazards of radioactive waste available.

They’ve had lots of glossy brochures and bling (want a nice little model fuel bundle on a key chain to put in your pants pocket so you can get comfortable carrying it beside your testicles or ovaries, when real spent fuel would fry those organs?). But there was no information on health risks of radiation from spent fuel. Not at two community info sessions; not at the Teeswater fall fair display trailer — 2015, 2018, 2019; not at the Teeswater main street community office; not at the International Plowing Match booth in Huron County 2017.

They usually say they forgot to bring it and encourage me to visit their website. That is a lot of forgetting, particularly when they remember to bring everything else.

I would encourage your readers to visit protectsouthbruce-nodgr.org and visit their “Research,” “Get to Know the NWMO” and “Community Impact” pages to get an alternative perspective to the glossy sales pitch of the NWMO.

Be well and stay well. No nuclear dump on agricultural lands.

Tony McQuail,
Lucknow, Ont.

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