From the time I saw Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth in 2006, I was convinced that climate change would be the defining issue of our generation, and I felt strongly that I, along with every other citizen, should consider what I should do to help.
Join Sheila Whytock and guests as they discuss a wide range of topics, including the science behind Deep Geological Repositories around the world, the Nuclear Waste Management Organization, nuclear energy, safety, local issues, and much more.
Here in South Bruce, as we consider the possibility of hosting Canada’s Deep Geological Repository (DGR) for spent nuclear fuel, it’s interesting to take some lessons from the Netherlands. COVRA, the Netherlands version of Canada’s Nuclear Waste Management Organization (NWMO) has made nuclear waste a symbol of national pride, and in some ways, elevated it to an art form.
As the prospect of a Deep Geological Repository (DGR) for Canada’s spent nuclear fuel continues to gain momentum, the potential project is already putting South Bruce on the map internationally. Earlier this year, South Bruce Council hosted executives and government officials from Finland, where the Finnish DGR is already nearing completion. Subsequently, two delegations from our area visited Finland, to see the project in action, and talk to local citizens and stakeholders.
Nearly four years ago, I wrote my first letter regarding the proposed Deep Geological Repository for spent nuclear fuel in South Bruce. At that point, launching a multi-billion-dollar DGR project seemed like an uphill battle for the NWMO, to say the least.
As we in South Bruce explore the opportunity to host Canada’s Deep Geological Repository (DGR) for spent nuclear fuel, I think we need to address an important issue. Many people have an unreasonably severe fear of radiation. We can’t see or feel radiation, and people are often naturally afraid of things they can’t sense. Many of us also grew up in the Cold War era, when our popular culture was preoccupied with the threat of atomic warfare, and our science fiction featured entire populations smitten with bizarre genetic mutations, supposedly from radioactive contamination. This is really the stuff of science fiction. Even in studies of the atomic bomb survivors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, no such inter-generational effects were ever observed. But these fears of radiation persist until today in some circles.
As we South Bruce ratepayers explore the opportunity to host Canada’s Deep Geological Repository for spent nuclear fuel, it’s interesting to see the widespread change in public opinion when it comes to nuclear energy. We as a society are grappling with the colossal challenge of reducing and eliminating greenhouse gas emissions, and it seems newsmakers and lawmakers worldwide are adopting a favourable attitude toward nuclear.
I recently had the privilege of attending the South Bruce Nuclear Exploration Forum, held in the Teeswater Community Centre. As a resident of South Bruce, I was very impressed by the attendance of some 170 people, including many local politicians and civil servants, foreign and domestic experts and dignitaries, and interested local citizens like myself.
As we prepare for Christmas and the holidays in South Bruce, I find myself encouraged and filled with hope for the future. It’s been, by all accounts, an excellent crop year, and our prosperous South Bruce farms have enjoyed a good harvest. Our community has celebrated some festive activities like the Hanging of the Green in Mildmay, the Formosa Country Christmas, and many family and community gatherings. And our new Council is settling in, with a strong mandate to continue the siting process, and determine whether our community will be host to Canada’s Deep Geological Repository for spent nuclear fuel.
Willing to Listen was formed by local citizens committed to learning about NWMO’s proposed deep geological repository (DGR) in South Bruce. We believed that to do our due diligence we shouldn’t just say ‘no’; rather we should learn as much as possible about the project and any potential impacts – positive or negative – on our community. We also wanted the people of South Bruce to make an informed decision based on facts and not fear and speculation.
The election results are in, and the people have spoken in South Bruce, with a whopping 59% voter turnout (nearly double the provincial average). What are we to take away from this election?