New & Noteworthy

A special section to keep you up to date on events, research, and stories relevant to the NWMO’s proposal to site the Deep Geological Repository in South Bruce. It will be updated regularly. Sign up for updates here.

Don't hold your breath

In Baie Verte, N.L., a mine that once brought prosperity now symbolizes pain, suffering and death. Nobody knows how to get rid of it.

This is Part I of a three-part series on contaminated sites in Newfoundland and Labrador.


In Émile Zola’s 1885 novel Germinal, a French mining town, filled with families dependent on coal, is plotting a strike.

It’s not an idyllic existence, living in 19th-century Montsou. Workers and their families sleep in shacks, eat mostly bread and rarely embrace leisure.

Eventually, they’re consumed by the massive beast whose tendrils reach deep underground.

The mine, named Le Voreux, holds such sway over the townspeople’s lives that it transforms into a character in itself; figuratively speaking, by the end of the book, it eats its servants alive.

Conditions have improved since Zola’s scathing portrait of the extraction industry.

But for workers who toiled somewhat more comfortably a century later — afforded lunch breaks, pensions and good salaries — in the now-defunct Baie Verte Advocate Mine in central Newfoundland, Germinal’s vicious ending, at least for some, still rings true.


Read more at CBC News

  • Don't hold your breath

    In Baie Verte, N.L., a mine that once brought prosperity now symbolizes pain, suffering and death. Nobody knows how to get rid of it.

    This is Part I of a three-part series on contaminated sites in Newfoundland and Labrador.


    In Émile Zola’s 1885 novel Germinal, a French mining town, filled with families dependent on coal, is plotting a strike.

    It’s not an idyllic existence, living in 19th-century Montsou. Workers and their families sleep in shacks, eat mostly bread and rarely embrace leisure.

    Eventually, they’re consumed by the massive beast whose tendrils reach deep underground.

    The mine, named Le Voreux, holds such sway over the townspeople’s lives that it transforms into a character in itself; figuratively speaking, by the end of the book, it eats its servants alive.

    Conditions have improved since Zola’s scathing portrait of the extraction industry.

    But for workers who toiled somewhat more comfortably a century later — afforded lunch breaks, pensions and good salaries — in the now-defunct Baie Verte Advocate Mine in central Newfoundland, Germinal’s vicious ending, at least for some, still rings true.


    Read more at CBC News

  • We the Nuclear Free North and Protect Our Waterways - No Nuclear Waste Petition

    We the Nuclear Free North and Protect Our Waterways - No Nuclear Waste are asking for your help in collecting signatures for a provincial petition supporting the Proximity Principle as an alternative to transporting, burying and then abandoning all of Canada's high level nuclear waste in a single location.

    You can download the petition HERE

    Friends,

    The Nuclear Waste Management Organization (NWMO) is aggressively pursuing a site for a deep geological repository (DGR) to bury all of Canada's high level nuclear fuel waste.

    Posing as a not-for-profit organization but acting fully on behalf of the nuclear industry, the NWMO launched a site search in 2010 and persuaded 22 economically struggling communities to allow the NWMO to investigate their area. By 2020 the list of communities had been whittled down to two municipalities: South Bruce in southwestern Ontario and Ignace in northwestern Ontario.

    In South Bruce, the "candidate site" is in the midst of rich farmland and under the Teeswater River and adjacent to the Greenock Swamp Wetland Complex. In the northwest, the "candidate site" is forty kilometres downstream from the NWMO's proxy community of Ignace and is at the height of land for the Turtle River and Wabigoon River watersheds, in the heart of Treaty 3 territory. These two landscapes are strikingly different but have so much in common: they are beloved, they are beautiful, they have precious water resources, and they are home to residents who strongly oppose any notion that they should be sacrificed to become the dumping ground for all of Canada's high level nuclear waste.

    We the Nuclear Free North and  Protect Our Waterways - No Nuclear Waste have been working in their own regions and together to stop the Nuclear Waste Management Organization from selecting EITHER community for their experimental and ill-conceived plan.

    We are asking for your help.

    Read more

  • Is Nuclear Energy a Solution to Climate Change?

    “My opinions on nuclear technology and nuclear power have changed drastically over the decades. I used to be an anti-nuclear leader.” Brice Lalonde headed the French branch of the Friends of the Earth organisation, created by and for anti-nuclear activism. In 1973, he was arrested by the French navy on board a ship attempting to block his country’s atomic tests in Polynesia. In later years, he became environment minister under President François Mitterrand and founded one of France’s four environmentalist parties. But as he told Nature magazine in September 2022, his perspective changed in 1988 with the creation of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Like him, many people today argue that an energy source without greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions can be an ally to help break the dependence on fossil fuels. Many people, but not all.

    From 1954, when the Soviet Union commissioned the Obninsk nuclear power plant, the first to be connected to the electricity grid, this energy source embarked on an explosive expansion that continued until the beginning of the 21st century, despite a turbulent history of nuclear incidents and accidents. The earliest ones, in the USSR and the United Kingdom, occurred only three years after that first Soviet power plant was switched on. Then came Three Mile Island in the USA (1979) and Chernobyl in Ukraine (1986), but not even the massive catastrophe of the latter could deflate the growth of nuclear power. This did happen after the Fukushima disaster in Japan in 2011, but it was only temporary; although the second most serious accident in history led the following year to the biggest drop in production since this technology has existed, and even to the rethinking of energy policy in several countries, it bounced back in 2013.

    Read more OpenMind: BBVA

  • Goetz’s 'misinformation campaign' must be challenged

    To the editor,

    Coun. Mark Goetz of South Bruce – and now also candidate for mayor – spread at least two pieces of misinformation at the Oct. 5 all-candidates meeting in Formosa. Representing the host organization, Protect Our Waterways (POW), I feel the need to correct the record.

    The first significant piece of misinformation Goetz told the audience of approximately 250 people was, “the majority of people want to hold off any referendum until they are more informed.” He has no basis in fact to make this claim, yet he cited the 2021 GDH Willingness Study as his source of this information.

    That study found that of the 229 people who participated, there was an “overwhelming preference for a public referendum.” The study also found that there were “differing perspective on the timing of the referendum.” In that section, the study states that participants raised a “diversity of comments” related to timing including, “as part of the 2022 municipal election”, “as soon as possible”, “held separately from the municipal election,” and “more time should be taken before a referendum is held.” In no part of the GDH Study does it state, claim or even infer that the majority want to hold off a referendum until they are more informed.

    More to the point, POW presented 1,754 signed petition cards to council in January 2022. Goetz dismissed the petition, repeating his misinformation about what most people wanted and the study from which his facts were drawn.

    Perhaps Goetz just doesn’t read studies as well as he should. This was evident in his claim at the debate that any statement about the dairy industry being concerned about a DGR affecting their sales was “just a statement”, “never proven to be said”, and a “fear tactic.”

    Yet, in the 2022 South Bruce Agriculture Business Impact Study, the chief operating officer of Chapman’s Ice Cream stated, “it’s the average consumer people like me have to worry about. Public perception is everything and I can’t criticize the public with associating bad things with nuclear and milk in this instance.” (page 107, Appendix C)

    The Chapman’s COO also stated, “A nuclear waste depository underneath farm country may erode confidence in the Ontario dairy industry. The perception of the safety of our food supply may not always be accurate, but it still effects the buying habits of Canadians. In our opinion, as one of the largest processors of Canadian Dairy in Canada, this is a lose-lose scenario for consumers, processors, and dairy farmers.”

    When asked by the consultant conducting the impact study on whether he had made that statement, the COO answered, “yes I did.” So, who are we believe? Mr. Goetz›s view of the facts or the COO of Chapman’s who made the statement? I know where my vote goes.

    Hope-to-be Mayor Goetz seems to pick and choose his facts with an eye to those that reflect his bias that the DGR will be good for South Bruce. Whether those facts are there or not seems not to matter.

    At the close of the session, he repeated his misinformation saying, “people made it clear, they want more information” and accuses the people who want a referendum as soon as possible as “not listening.”

    As the flag bearer for demanding people become more informed, we respectfully suggest to Coun. Goetz that he become better informed himself. Because, as he said about being the mayor, “you’re setting an example for all.”

    Anja van der Vlies

    Protect Our Waterways – No Nuclear Waste

    Teeswater


    Read more Midwestern Newspaper Corp.

  • South Bruce Municipal All Candidates Meeting

    Below is the South Bruce Municipal All Candidates Meeting which was hosted by our group.

  • South Bruce All Candidates Meeting Overview

    Date: Wednesday October 5th, 2022

    Time: 6:30pm to 9:30 pm

    Place: Formosa Community Centre, 13 Community Drive

    Video: Video recorded and posted to YouTube, post event, with closed captioning

     

    AGENDA:

    • Candidate information tables open 6:30 pm

    • Introduction of council candidates 7:00 pm

    • Candidate debate (mayoral candidates only) 7:30 pm to 9:00 pm

    • Close of event 9:30

    For information contact: Anja Vandervlies [email protected] 230.226.1254

    CANDIDATES WHO MAY PARTICIPATE:

    • For MAYOR - Robert Buckle, Mark Goetz, Rita Groen

    • For COUNCILLOR, TEESWATER CULROSS, - Mike McDonagh, Mark Ireland, Michelle Stein, Gordon Ripley

    • For COUNCILLOR, MILDMAY CARRICK– Jeff Goetz, Audrey Bross

    • For COUNCILLOR AT LARGE - Nigel VanDyk, Mike Niesen, Sandy Bunker, Doug Kreller

    • All Council candidates will be provided with a table for their campaign materials and a chair

    • School Board candidates are also welcome, but space restrictions do not allow sufficient space to provide a table

    PURPOSE:

    1. To provide all South Bruce voters with opportunity to meet with the candidates running for a place on municipal council.

    2. To provide all candidates with an equal opportunity to meet voters, hear their concerns, and answer their questions.

    3. For candidates to be able to share and distribute any campaign material they wish.

    4. To host a moderated debate between the candidates for mayor.

    MODERATOR:

    • Tony McQuail, Lucknow, ON

    • Tony McQuail and his wife, Fran are semi-retired farmers helping their daughter Katrina on the farm near St. Helens. McQuail served as a Huron County School Board Trustee for three terms and also served as the executive assistant to the Ontario Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural affairs. McQuail has a long-standing interest in democracy and is a member of Fair Vote Canada.

    FOR VOTERS:

    1. Registration at the door, name, address, email (optional)

    2. Voters will be provided a card on which to write ONE question they would like answered by the mayoral candidates during the debate.

    3. The questions will be provided to the moderator who has sole authority have the question asked to the mayoral candidates



    FOR ALL CANDIDATES:

    • All candidates will be provided with a table and tabletop sign. The sign will provide attendees with the name of the candidate and the position they are running for. Candidates are responsible for providing campaign material and signage.

    COUNCIL CANDIDATE SELF-INTRODUCTIONS

    • Each candidate for council will be given 3 minutes on stage to introduce themselves

    • They will be invited to the stage by the moderator

    FOR MAYORAL CANDIDATE DEBATE (90 MINUTES)

    • Moderator will welcome audiences, introduce candidates, and explain the format and rules of the debate

    • ROUND 1: Each candidate has a 3-minute opening statement

    • ROUND 2: Moderator will take one question from attendees, from pre-registered community organizations

      • Protect Our Waterways

      • Willing to Listen

      • South Bruce Community and Business Association

      • Mildmay Chamber of Commerce

      • The question will be directed to one candidate, who will then have 2 minutes to answer the question. The other two candidates will have two minutes each to respond. Candidates will not be able to interrupt each other’s statements

    • ROUND 3: Moderator will take questions from the audience, taken from the submitted question cards. The questions may be directed to a candidate or all three. Candidates are limited to a 1-minute answers. Each candidate may response to the other candidates answer

    • ROUND 4: Each candidate will be one question of the other two candidates. Responses limited to 1 minute

    • ROUND 5: Closing remarks by each mayoral candidate (2 minutes)

    • CLOSE of event

  • NWMO extends timeline for site selection on heels of strong ‘no’ from Nishnawbe Aski Nation

    Saugeen Ojibway Nation, Protect Our Waterways members respond

    TORONTO – The Nuclear Waste Management Organization (NWMO) revised its timeline for the site selection for the deep geological repository (DGR), pushing the date for a final decision back by a year, from 2023 to 2024.

    The announcement released on Aug. 12 comes one day after news broke about the Nishnawbe Aski Nation (NAN) vehemently opposing the whole project being located near Ignace, Ont., one of the two remaining locations being investigated for the DGR.

    Forty-nine NAN chiefs passed a resolution at their recent 40th annual Keewaywin Conference held in Timmins from Aug. 9 to 11, sending a clear message to the NWMO: no nuclear waste on their traditional territory.

    The NWMO says they need more time to provide information to potential hosts for the project.

    “We have experienced significant delays in our face-to-face consultation and interaction activities, particularly in communities exploring their suitability to host the project,” said Lise Morton, vice president of site selection at the NWMO. “Making this small adjustment to our schedule will also give us and potential host communities additional time to review and absorb new information as they determine whether the project’s arrival will align with their vision and priorities.”

    Although Saugeen Ojibway Nation (SON) has not officially voted on the DGR project in South Bruce, some of its members spoke out after the NWMO’s announcement, reiterating the 2020 vote that shut down the low to intermediate-level nuclear waste DGR that the Ontario Power Generation (OPG) proposed to build near the Bruce Nuclear Power Plant in Kincardine.

    SON member Patrick Lavalley told Midwestern Newspapers that he is opposed to the DGR and believes that SON already made their decision when they voted on the matter in 2020.

    “The Saugeen Ojibway Nation voted 85 per cent against a low-level nuclear waste dump in January 2020,” Lavalley said. “Ontario Power Generation said they wouldn’t build the $2.4 billion underground facility under the Bruce Power site without the SON’s approval. That should have been the end of this issue. Instead, OPG doubled down and is now trying to inflict a medium- and high-level nuclear dump on us.”

    When asked if the decision to wait another year would affect his decision, Lavalley said, “OPG’s altering the nomenclature and re-issuing the question is breaking their original oath to us. My opinion will not change based on that alone. They cannot be trusted at their word.”

    Ephraim Sandy, also a SON member, has been following the DGR discussions for years and opposes the high-level nuclear waste project.

    “There is a giant elephant in the room; no one wants to bridge this subject,” said Sandy. “Look, this nuclear waste will not be shipped, railed, driven out of the territory, period. It’s not going to happen. We said ‘NO,’ however, this reality has to be discussed. We need to leverage what position we have today. And benefit from this impossible situation that isn’t going anywhere before our leverage is taken and they legislate us out of the storage equation.

    “There are no agreements with us for storage. We need to move forward and press them for payment before we even discuss this issue further. Rent is due before we talk about permanent storage.”

    Officially, SON has not decided on the high-level waste DGR being built on their territory, but a source close to the band who chooses to remain anonymous for now said that several “legacy” issues need to be addressed with SON before they would consider any new agreements.

    A source within SON indicated that there would be an announcement soon regarding SON’s position on the DGR.

    Protect Our Waterways – No Nuclear Waste (POW-NNW) responded to the NWMO announcement with several points, including questioning the timing of the announcement.

    “Why the sudden decision to delay site selection? Is it a coincidence that this was announced after Nishnawbe Aski Nation Chiefs voted to ‘vehemently oppose’ the NWMO’s concept of a DGR near Ignace?” POW said in an email.

    “Is this delay to allow more time for the NWMO to follow the Systematic Development of Informed Consent (SDIC)? SDIC is a strategy used by several of the NWMO consultants and employees who have participated in this training by Bleiker. Is it to give the NWMO a chance to spend more money in an attempt to manufacture ‘informed consent?’

    “Just because the NWMO is postponing its decision it doesn’t mean the community has to wait until 2024. The current council has time and time again told residents it is too soon for the community to make a decision, yet our current council continues to sign agreements with the NWMO to continue further into the process. We need a council that will listen to the community. Our risk. Our choice. We need a council willing to listen to the voices of the residents and ratepayers.”

    An Aug. 12 media release from the NWMO said, “This schedule change should not impact the overall Canadian plan schedule. Construction of the repository is still expected to begin in 2033, and operation of the repository is expected to begin in the early 2040s.

    “Since 2010, the Nuclear Waste Management Organization has been leading a process to identify a site for a deep geological repository. The selection of a site is a crucial step which will mark the beginning of a new series of activities, in particular the regulatory decision-making process.

    “With a project of such complexity and generational scope, we always anticipated that we would have to adapt things as we went along without losing sight of our longer-term goals.

    “As with all organizations and businesses, several provincial lockdowns associated with the COVID-19 pandemic have impacted our work. Reviewing our five-year implementation plan and considering the impacts of the pandemic, we have made the decision to postpone the timing of site selection. We now expect that we will identify the optimal site by fall 2024.”

    Continue reading this article at the Midwestern Newspapers Corp →

  • Medicine and Nuclear Power

    FACT SHEET PRODUCED BY THE CANADIAN COALITION FOR NUCLEAR RESPONSIBILITY: www.ccnr.org

    Modern medicine does not need nuclear power. In fact, all electricity producing reactors could be shut down permanently with little or no impact on best medical practices.

    1. X-rays & CAT-scans are by far the most common forms of “radiation” used by doctors, dentists
      & nurses in hospitals & clinics. These have nothing to do with radioactivity or nuclear reactors.
    2. When X-ray machines and CT scanners are turned off, they are completely harmless. There is
      no more radiation emitted. There is no radioactivity at all associated with such machines.
    3. Occasionally radioactive materials are also used in medicine for diagnosis or therapy. Some
      are used to sterilize instruments & equipment such as masks, gloves, and other paraphernalia.
    4. But radioactivity is hazardous – and it cannot be turned off like an x-ray machine. So the use of
      radioactive materials in medicine requires careful control at all times – before, during & after use.
    5. Radioactive materials for medical use are called “medical isotopes” or “radiopharmaceuticals”.
      Some of them emit gamma radiation (similar to x-rays), others emit energetic subatomic projectiles
      – negatively charged beta particles, or positively charged alpha particles.
    6. All these radioactive emissions are harmful to living cells. Accordingly they can be used to destroy
      malignant growths or to kill microorganisms. At low doses, damage is not immediate but delayed.
    7. Some radioactive materials used in medicine, such as radium, radon and thorium,
      are extracted from naturally-occurring ores and have nothing to do with nuclear reactors at all.
    8. Some radioactive materials used in medicine are created in “particle accelerators” such as
      cyclotrons or linear accelerators. These machines also have nothing to do with nuclear reactors.
    9. Some radioactive materials used in medicine are created in small research reactors that do
      not generate electricity and are typically 20 to 200 times smaller than nuclear power reactors.
    10. A few medically useful radioactive isotopes are produced in power reactors, but these can
      equally well be produced in research reactors. In many cases the very same radioactive material,
      or an equivalent material that serves the same purpose, can be created in a particle accelerator.
    11. Many medical procedures that previously relied on radioactivity have been replaced by
      procedures that are just as good or better and do not require handling radioactive waste.
    12. Example: Winnipeg General Hospital pioneered the use of cobalt-60 therapy to destroy
      cancerous tissues but stopped it in 1970 and now uses beams of charged particles instead. This
      more modern technology has nothing to do with radioactivity or nuclear reactors.
    13. Extremely powerful gamma rays from radioactive cobalt-60 or cesium-137 are often used to
      sterilize medical instruments and equipment, but this job can be accomplished in other ways
      that do not require the use of radioactive materials at all, including autoclaves and accelerators.

    The use of radiation in medicine, including the use of medical isotopes (radioactive materials), in no way requires the use of large electricity-producing reactors. Small research reactors are just as effective. To paraphrase Amory Lovins, “You do not need a forest fire to fry an egg.”

    FOR MORE DETAILS ON ANY OF THESE 14 POINTS SEE: www.ccnr.org/medical_fact_sheet_2022.pdf

  • Choosing a host site for a DGR will be later than first planned

    The site selection process for a proposed Deep Geologic Repository in Ontario has been extended to 2024.

    The NWMO, the organization spearheading the research, says the extension from 2023 considers the impacts of the global pandemic and the various provincial lockdowns for the shift.

    Officials say the added time will allow for more face-to-face engagement and interaction.

    And it’s also giving people in the area additional time to review and absorb information available.

    Once a site is selected, construction is expected to start in 2033.

    The two communities being considered as host are South Bruce and Ignace.


    Click the title of the news to read the NWMO’s full statement

  • South Bruce Council Vote Shuts Downs Pro-Referendum Petitioners Before Hearing Them.

    Over 1000 residents signed a petition demanding a referendum during the 2022 municipal election vote but have been ignored.

    SOUTH BRUCE, Ontario, December 15, 2021 --- Protect Our Waterways (POW) was shocked to learn during the December 14 South Bruce Council meeting, the mayor and councillors not only debated a motion about holding a referendum on hosting the Nuclear Waste Management Organization’s (NWMO) Deep Geological Repository (DGR), but also voted unanimously to postpone any community vote on the issue until well into 2023. POW had already been scheduled to present the results of its petition to Council at its first meeting of the New Year (January 11). The Council vote in December denies the opportunity for the over 1000 petition-signers – who want the referendum held alongside the 2022 municipal election - the right to be heard and present their case before a decision was made.

    “Town council continues to belittle, ignore, and undermine the efforts of the residents of South Bruce who may be opposed to hosting the DGR,” said Michelle Stein, Chair, Protect Our Waterways. “To make this important decision without inviting the representatives of over 1000 residents to speak at the debate is unfair. Council was well aware that we were scheduled for the first Council meeting in January but chose to vote ahead of our presentation.”

    At the December 14 council meeting, municipal staff presented a report on the implications of the NWMO-funded Willingness Study. Tony Zettel of the Willing to Listen Group also made a presentation, where he stated, ““We are optimistic that when the community benefits are clearly defined for us that more ratepayers in the municipality will wish to explore this partnership further.” The mayor thanked Zettel and his group “for their position”.

    Stein said, “The council meeting’s agenda was clearly orchestrated to push for the referendum decision that evening. Council had ample opportunity to request that POW present our case as well, but instead chose to listen only to pro-DGR voices.”

    Protect Our Waterways still intends to make its case to Council, as scheduled, on January 11. It will be holding a rally outside Council chambers prior to its presentation.

    Stein said, “It would be wrong to assume that everyone who signed our petition is against hosting the DGR. But they were concerned enough about the Council's decision-making process to sign it. By ignoring them, the Council has only confirmed their worst fears – our municipality intends to manufacture the consent of its residents rather than listen to them.”

    Michelle Stein
    Chair of Protect Our Waterways - No Nuclear Waste