L-R: Julia Candlish, Regional Chief Beardy, Sally Hare
Charting Our Own Path: Education Symposium
Nuclear Waste Management
In 2009, nuclear energy and waste sessions were held to provide information on the nine-step process of the Nuclear Waste Management Organization (NWMO) to manage existing nuclear waste, as well as the continued production of nuclear energy. The NWMO is tasked with finding solutions to dispose of the nuclear waste that has accumulated within Canada and is searching for a community that will host a Deep Geological Repository, where nuclear waste will be stored within the rocks of the Canadian Shield.
In response to the feedback from the sessions, which included First Nations community leadership, Elders, youth and technical representatives, a “We are the Land” report was drafted and distributed with 10 recommendations:
• A moratorium be placed on site selection;
• A collective “no” to storing nuclear waste underground;
• To empower and support the leadership;
• To meet with governments, not organizations;
• That health, safety and relationship building become a priority;
• Resources be provided to research and study alternative solutions;
• Involve the youth;
• Reconciliation with Mother Earth be a key component;
• That a Resolution be drafted for consideration by the Chiefs and;
• That a Declaration be drafted outlining the positions taken by First Nations.
The “We are the Land” report and Declaration, provides the direction and guidance for future action on nuclear activities, and was affirmed in resolution 10/19 (“We are the Land” Declaration) by the Chiefs in Assembly in November, 2010.
The Chiefs of Ontario coordinated the development of internal capacity building for First Nations by facilitating the sharing of information regarding the nuclear waste cycle and NWMO’s current and proposed activities.
Transport of Nuclear Steam Generators
In February 2011, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission authorized Bruce Power to transport sixteen school-bus sized decommissioned steam generators to Sweden for recycling. Leaving by ship from Owen Sound, the expected route will take the generators through Georgian Bay, Lake Huron, Lake Erie, Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River.
In addition to holding nearly twenty percent of the world’s fresh water and providing drinking water for close to forty million people, there are106 First Nation communities along, or close to, the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River. First Nations are concerned that the initial shipment from Bruce Power will set a dangerous precedent in establishing the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River Seaway as a regular shipping route for hazardous materials, a prospect made all the more questionable considering BrucePower has yet to demonstrate any necessity for the shipment to occur.
Due in part to the high profile resistance to the plan from First Nations, Bruce Power announced in March 2011 to delay shipment pending meetings with First Nations to answer questions about the project. This was followed by the withdrawal of Bruce Power’s application to the US Department of Transportation for the transport of the generators to “allow for further consultation with First Nations.” To date, the project has merely been postponed and not cancelled.
Watch Our Promotional Video to learn more about the Nuclear Waste Shipment through the Great Lakes.
Water, Our Life Source: Environmental Video