A petition calling on the provincial government to adopt a proximity principle for the management of high-level radioactive waste is to be presented in Ontario's Legislative Assembly on Tuesday.
The petition is being presented by three Members of Provincial Parliament, including Guelph MPP and Green Party Leader Mike Schreiner, and urges Ontario Power Generation (OPG) to advance the development of robust extended storage systems in close proximity to the waste's generation sites.
OPG holds over 90% of Canada's nuclear fuel waste and is a significant shareholder in the Nuclear Waste Management Organization (NWMO), which is currently seeking a suitable location for a deep geological repository to store the country's nuclear fuel waste. Two sites, the Revell Site between Ignace and Dryden and the South Bruce-Teeswater Site near Teeswater, are currently short-listed for consideration.
The petition, which has garnered 1,141 signatures, was initiated by members of We the Nuclear Free North in Northern Ontario and Protect Our Waterways – No Nuclear Waste in Southwestern Ontario. Advocates argue that transporting this hazardous waste over long distances within the province is an unacceptable proposition. They believe that managing the waste in close proximity to its generation points would enhance safety and allow for its transfer to more secure storage facilities at an earlier stage, rather than waiting decades for the establishment of a theoretical repository. The proponents suggest long-term management near the reactors, away from lake shores, as a logical solution that mitigates the risks associated with transportation.
Bill Noll of Protect Our Waterways – No Nuclear Waste stated that the rush to bury highly radioactive waste is a desperate measure by the nuclear industry, as represented by NWMO. The petition signers support a rolling stewardship approach, advocating for secure management of the radioactive waste near its origins, at or near the surface, allowing for easy access and ongoing monitoring.