Joint Media Release –
1 June 2023
In an act of international solidarity, British anti-nuclear campaigners have written to the Premier of Ontario in support of fellow Canadian activists who on 30 May presented a petition to the Legislative Assembly of that state opposing the transportation and dumping of nuclear waste.
The Chair of the Nuclear Free Local Authorities (NFLA) English Forum, Cllr David Blackburn, was joined by co-signatories Marianne Birkby from Radiation Free Lakeland / Lakes against the Nuclear Dump; Jan Bridget from Millom against the Nuclear Dump / South Copeland against the Geological Disposal Facility; and Ken Smith from Guardians of the East Coast in making an appeal to Premier Doug Ford calling for Canadian nuclear waste to be retained at the sites at which it was generated and stored in purpose-built secure facilities coupled with constant monitoring and active stewardship, rather than trucked for thousands of miles and dumped underground.
In Canada, the Nuclear Waste Management Organisation (NWMO), established by that nation’s nuclear power plant operators, is seeking a site for a so-called Deep Geological Repository for all of Canada’s nuclear fuel waste. As 90% of the waste is held by Ontario Power Generation, a major shareholder in the NWMO, two sites in that state have been short-listed.
Campaigners here in the UK face a similar threat from a Geological Disposal Facility with government-funded Nuclear Waste Services currently investigating the possibility of locating an underground / undersea nuclear waste dump in West Cumbria or East Lincolnshire. As in Canada, many people bitterly object to the plans and have coalesced around local campaigns to oppose them. It is therefore natural that British campaigners should want to express support for Canadian colleagues facing a similar threat.
The petition was formally presented to the Assembly by three elected representatives, Lise Vaugeois, Sol Mamakwa and Mike Schreiner on behalf of the people of Ontario and ‘We the Nuclear Free North’ an alliance of people and groups opposing a nuclear waste dump, or in Canada a Deep Geological Repository, in Northern Ontario. Members of the Alliance include Indigenous Canadians from the First Nations.
Commenting Cllr David Blackburn, Chair of the NFLA English Forum, said: “Our Canadian counterparts are calling specifically for a ‘proximity principle’ to be adopted by the State of Ontario in the storage and stewardship of nuclear waste. This mirrors the position of the Nuclear Free Local Authorities and the Scottish Government that waste should be kept ‘near to the site where it was produced and on or near the surface’ so that it can be continually monitored and retrieved and repackaged in the event of an accident”.
The NWMO in Canada and Nuclear Waste Services in the UK have been liaising recently for the purposes of knowledge sharing, and anti-nuclear campaigners in both nations are now looking to set up an early meeting to discuss their own ideas for international collaboration.
For more information, please contact Richard Outram, Secretary, UK/Ireland Nuclear Free Local Authorities by email to [email protected], telephone +44 (0) 7583 097793
Notes to Editors – Our websites are:
UK / Ireland Nuclear Free Local Authorities https://www.nuclearpolicy.info/
Radiation Free Lakeland, Lakes Against Nuclear Dump Campaign
Millom against the Nuclear Dump / South Copeland against the GDF https://southcopelandagainstgdf.org.uk/
Guardians of the East Coast https://www.gotec.org.uk/
We the Nuclear Free North https://wethenuclearfreenorth.ca/
Protect Our Waterways - No Nuclear Waste https://www.protectourwaterways.org/
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