Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Letter to the Editor Jackfish Journal

November 9, 2012

Letter to the editor,

This letter is in response to the article “CBC Fair and unbiased?” that was printed in the October 31st issue of the Jackfish Journal.

As someone who is opposed to the Nuclear Waste I found some of the claims in that article disturbing. According to Statistics Canada, there’s a total of 5600 Communities in our County. Out of all the communities only 21 chose to explore this idea. We are told the benefits will be amazing if we end up as the “Host” community, and yet 99.6% of Canada didn’t touch this “opportunity”.  

Mayor Morley and Willy, the Chairman of the CLC, are displeased with the negative slant that CBC took in their reporting. They claim CBC was unfair and biased against the process that Hornepayne is in. They are displeased that CBC didn’t ask any questions about the “potential economic development that could result from being the ‘Host’ community”. Mayor Morley had many “inspiring things to say about our community and our prospects for the future” but CBC was not interested and those comments were cut. I can say that for many of us, the “benefits” of this “opportunity” are not the focus.

The Chairman of the CLC states that “referring to this as a ‘dump’ is highly misleading.” What I think is misleading is the image that they want to portray to our Community: a “high end”, “prestige” place for the burial of Waste. It’s High Level Radioactive Garbage that the nuclear industry wants to plant in our clean land. It’s going to cost the industry 26 Billion dollars to bury it here. An expensive dump is still a dump.

When Willy was asked if the DGR project will be risky for the host community he immediately focuses the reader to the benefits that may come as a result. “Risk is what one perceives it to be” he says.  And he also states that we live with risk every day. But I don’t have to be an expert to conclude how bad this stuff is. They want to bury it 500 meters in the ground- that’s about CN Tower deep underground. What does that say about it? Nuclear Waste is solid therefore it can’t leak, but the waste contains High Level Radiation which is neither solid, liquid, or gas but it CAN leak and contaminate our environment. The DGR is going to be a man made barrier designed to keep the toxic poison from leaking into our land. This stuff will be active for 100,000 years. Have you known man to build anything that can withstand that amount of time? The risks are real and the benefits do not compare.

Mayor Morley was asked about public education to which he replied “That is the function of the LEARN MORE process…”. The CLC was created to help our town with the learning process. In their minutes dated May 3, 2012 it states:
"Committee voiced concerns that we are not keeping our committee activities public and visible enough. The question was asked what can the committee publicize, what will be the procedure and process to release information to the community? The CLC would like to be able to publish on a local level the activities of our committee. The publishing of upcoming events and information about our committee activities, which will continue to engage the community, reassure transparency and foster trust between the community and the CLC. The committee will publish only information and activities of the CLC staying away from factual information. The committee will continue to send all published material to NWMO."    

This reveals to me that NWMO is being permitted to filter the information that we receive in this learning process. I encourage you to get on the internet and do your own research. We need to learn more than what NWMO is releasing into our community. Do not rely on this one source. There are many different voices out there that have different things to say about this project.  (You can start your search and share your findings at

“In response to the question about the image of the community that will eventually host the repository Willy stated that; ‘The image of the host community will be something that all other communities will strive for. Keep in mind that the host community will be the only one of its kind in Canada.” This “opportunity” was extended to every municipality in Canada and again, 99.6% of Canada did not view this as something that would be good for their community.

Canada is adopting the same DGR model as Sweden. Sweden is further along than Canada. It was released last week that in their review of the plan, the Swedish review board has found some “Major Shortcomings”. Here’s a quote from the article:
The Swedish regulator has found that the Swedish industry’s nuclear waste burial plan is deficient in several key areas, and that it lacked the necessary information related to the long-term safety of the project and the protection of human health, and that further research may be required to address information gaps related to the long term integrity of the copper canisters that would be used to store the highly radioactive nuclear fuel waste.”
Yet we are continually reassured by our leaders that the proposed plan is “very safe” and the risks are minimal.

Willy states that “the nuclear industry is the safest most highly regulated industry in the world”. And this may be true but when there’s an accident, and there has been some, it’s considered a disaster. Three Mile Island in the United States, Chernobyl in the former Soviet Union, and most recently Fukushima in Japan are examples. The industry is run by humans who occasionally make errors and it’s done in a world that is not free of natural disasters. The facility that they want to build here is yet to exist anywhere in the world. Maybe Sweden will have their facility built before we do, but still we’re going to be the gunny pigs for this new technology. Have you known man to typically get everything right on the first try? Hornepayne’s future generations will be left with the consequences of our errors.  

The article concludes with, “According to our Mayor and the Community Liaison Committee chairman, all evidence indicates that that this is a very safe proposal and it will economically benefit the community of Hornepayne.” 

I think I’ll conclude with that statement too.

Bev Allen.

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