Exposing the misinformation

Exposing the misinformation

A recent letter to the editor was submitted by Sandy Greer which named me personally at least 7 times. Why the letter attacked me directly, rather than simply the information I presented, will be addressed at the end of this letter, but there are some other points to be clarified.

I am proud of being a nuclear worker supporting my family, helping to get to a future with zero greenhouse gas emissions, vital medical isotopes and a better planet for everyone. I have said it loudly and proudly whenever I am able to. I have never tried to keep that aspect of my life disclosed from the public. Some people, including said anonymous writer, believe that makes me biased and a “promoter” of a deep geological repository in South Bruce; both of which are incorrect. I am proud that nuclear workers, like many residents of Bruce County, stand up in regards to false information being spread about the industry that we are employed in; much like farmers stand up for agriculture. We have vast amounts of knowledge and experience with the topics of discussion surrounding a DGR that most of the general public does not have. Does it make me biased because I want the public to understand what actually goes on within the industry? Am I biased because I don’t think our communities should be overridden by a few activists trying to scare residents who otherwise don’t know much about the inner workings of all things nuclear? Opposition is quick to attempt to anonymously discredit nuclear workers and I have to wonder why? Our real-life experiences can help people understand spent fuel, nuclear safety and radiation, yet some people would have our insight tossed out because of our place of employment. Who are the biased ones here?

Which leads back to why I cofounded the Willing to Listen group. Willing to Listen is about sharing and learning from factual information. It’s a large group of residents that believe science should lead the discussion. It’s a group of residents that are saddened by the way our elected officials, business owners and neighbours are treated; both publicly and privately. It’s a group of residents (Yes – with many nuclear workers) who are tired of seeing blatantly false or unproven information being represented as facts.

While individuals with anti-nuclear beliefs try to use fear mongering and false information (see the references to Wikipedia – which can be edited by anyone on the internet and most post-secondary institutions teach their students that it is not a reliable reference) against science and international best practices, the Swedish government has given the go ahead for a used fuel repository as the best possible solution after thorough scientific and regulatory review and comprehensive community engagement. Finland is awaiting an operations license for the used fuel repository. France has selected a host community. Every country that uses nuclear power is somewhere in the process of creating a geological repository; so yes, it is international best practice. Opinions to the contrary do not make this fact false.

The bigger question is, why was my previous letter about international best practice, responded to as a personal attack against myself? My guess is the writer knows that a significant amount of people in South Bruce and Bruce County are listening to us at Willing to Listen and trust our judgement and information. My guess is the writer of that letter feels vulnerable due to the support myself and the WTL group has obtained and continues to obtain. My guess is it is an attempt to publicly discredit me in hopes that I lose the support I have garnered from my fellow residents. Most of all, my guess is that the author of this letter, is hoping that I will back down from my position and stop countering misinformation if I am intimidated enough.

My response to you – you are wrong.

Sheila Whytock


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