Don’t paper over level of risk from nuclear waste: Air Alliance director

Re: “Don’t mislead on waste plans: Canadian Nuclear Society,” (The Hill Times, April 5, p. 8).

More happy talk from nuclear advocates is not what Canadians need when it comes to understanding the issue of how to deal with the hundreds of thousands of highly radioactive bundles currently stored in pools and warehouses at Canadian nuclear plants.

In their April 5 letter, two nuclear advocates from the industry-aligned Canadian Nuclear Society trot out the usual assurances that this waste can be safely stored underground for hundreds of thousands of years. That no country has actually done this, and that the industry-owned Canadian Nuclear Waste Management Organization is still struggling to identify a “willing host” community for such a facility in the face of adamant community and First Nation opposition, is blithely ignored.

There have been nuclear power operations in Canada for more than 60 years now, yet the industry still has not managed to execute on its preferred dump-and-run strategy. Comparing deadly radioactive waste to materials like niobium and cadmium is like comparing the likelihood of surviving a multi-vehicle car crash with falling off your bicycle. No one ever died from standing next to a wind turbine magnet.

Trying to paper over the level of risk involved in handling, transporting, and disposing of waste that must remain completely isolated for hundreds of thousands of years just exposes how the nuclear industry would prefer to avoid hard questions about why it has been allowed to carry on without having an implementable plan for dealing with its deadly toxic waste. What other industry is given a huge free pass like this?

Angela Bischoff
Director, Ontario Clean Air Alliance
Toronto, Ont.

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