Bruce Hyer Nuclear Road Show – March 21, 2014 Nipigon Ontario: Part 1 of 3
The purpose of the meeting was to be a town hall meeting regarding the current discussions going on between communities in our region and the Nuclear Waste Management Organization (NWMO) who are looking for a willing community to host a long term nuclear waste storage repository in Canada. Currently Nipigon, Schreiber, Ignace, White River, Manitouwadge, Hornepayne and Wawa (with an additional three sites from Saskatchewan and eight communities south of Sault St. Marie).
Currently from our area; Nipigon, Schreiber, Hornepayne, White River, Ignace, Manitouwadge are still in early phases of the preliminary phases of determining a willing host community. The NWMO will not approach any community to enter the site selection process, they will only come if the community approaches them
The NWMO has mandated the formation of a volunteer Community Liaison Committee (CLC) in each town that asks to join the site selection process. These committees as local individuals whose sole purpose is to act as a link between the community and the NWMO and to facilitate getting answers from all appropriate sources.
As a whole, the meeting was good. It was well run, although the NWMO representative did over 90% of the talking (as it should be) through answering questions from the public and listening to the concerns. Out of the 45 attendees, possible a dozen were from the Nipigon area.
Although Bruce Hyer admitted during the meeting he was undecided on the Nuclear Waste options and was looking for more information, the information garnered from the constant radio messages and his website (as well as the Green party) indicates a different message. One of not wanting anything to do with nuclear waste in NW Ontario. This is the point I had assumed the meeting would take. I was wrong.
Questions in general were well thought out, with most just being a result of not understanding the site selection process or nuclear waste in general. The word nuclear waste and radiation provokes a strong emotional response from nearly everyone, not out of direct fear, but rather fear of something they don’t understand.
I have outlined some of the major questions and question themes brought up repeatedly at the meeting as well as summaries as to the answers given intermixed with my own research and even opinion (In italics).
The meeting opened with Bruce Hyer bringing his opinion that the NWMO is not doing enough consultation with all communities in Northwest Ontario as we will all be on a transportation route if the nuclear waste comes through this area. This was a major component from the 45 or so people that attended the meeting.
As it stands, the NWMO is at a preliminary phase and as such is not mandated to consult with all other communities in the region. As communities move through the multiple phases there are plans for consultation with all communities along transportation routes, however with so many communities at a preliminary stage, this consultation is not offered at this time. As the site selection narrows down the communities, the consultations will expand accordingly.
My opinion is that there should be expanded consultation along guaranteed routes as since waste would be coming from Manitoba and Southern Ontario, it is easy to identify NW Ontario transportation route will likely be even at this early stage. Maybe not widespread consultation, but at least information sessions.
In every town in the site selection process, there is currently a website and an office which is staffed by local individuals who are there for information and to get answered any questions from the community as a whole. These sites are easily found at clcinfo.ca. The CLC’s are not government bodies, nor are they deciding anything, their sole purpose is to make sure all information is made available to the communities as a whole as well as to maintain complete transparency on the different phases of the site selection process.
To date, the Nipigon CLC office has had less than a dozen people walk through its doors, with just as few phone calls. The office is located right beside the only grocery store in town and everyone should know of its existence. “In the information age ignorance is a choice”. The information is out there, use it, participate, make yourselves known. If you don’t find an acceptable answer – ask and push until you get one.
To be Continued….
How many jobs?
What about transportation?
Lots more questions and answers to com.
For More information:
www.nwmo.ca: All the technical information you could want
Visit the local community CLC offices (funded by NWMO, operated by the towns) and websites for more questions and answers.