Bartolucci says no to nuclear waste dump

Sudbury Northern Life: Bill Bradley - May 21, 2009

Sudbury MPP Rick Bartolucci has slammed any notion of burying nuclear waste in Greater Sudbury, in a release Thursday.

He is responding to a visit by the officials with the Nuclear Waste Management Committee (NWMO), who will be visiting the city Monday, May 25 at the Howard Johnson Hotel on Brady Street at 2 p.m..

Based in Toronto, the independent organization was established by the utilities of Ontario, Quebec and New Brunswick to assume responsibility for the long-term management of Canada's used nuclear fuel. According to Michael Krizanc, a media spokesperson for NWMO, the group is seeking to engage Canadians in a discussion on a fair process to determine how to site a major $16-to-$20 billion nuclear storage site for waste generated from Canada's nuclear reactors.

Bartolucci is urging city council to veto any plan by NWMO to site the nuclear waste facility in Greater Sudbury.

“Our community must be clear in our message to City council that we do not want this type of storage in our community,” said Bartolucci. “There is no dollar figure, no salary, and no number of jobs that would be worth risking the health of our children, our landscape and our future.”

But Krizanc said his group was in town because Greater Sudbury is considered a regional centre — not to eye the city as a possible disposal site.

He said NWMO officials will be visiting other regional centres, such as Thunder Bay, Brockton, Bathurst, New Brunswick and Trois-Rivieres, Que.

He also said at this point, a final site selection is a long way off.

“In 2009 we will be visiting communities to get their input on whether the site selection process is fair. Citizens have already told us they want to be involved in all levels of decision making,” he said.

When the federal government approved NWMO plan's for safe underground storage in 2007, the organization went back to Canadians asking for input.

“In 2008, we worked with a number of experts on siting facilities like this. Now we are asking citizens to comment on our implementation process to select a site. At every stage we need the social licence to proceed,” Krizanc said.

He added the facility is a large national infrastructure project worth an estimated $16 to $20 billion in development and operational expenditures.

“There will be thousands of jobs over many decades,” he said.

Most of the jobs would be in construction of the site, but there would still be a significant number of permanent jobs. The funding would come from money set aside for nuclear storage by all of Canada's existing nuclear plants.

Bartolucci said all Sudburians should be proactive and say “we are not the dumping ground for Canada's nuclear waste nor do we ever want to be.”

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