TEESWATER, ONT. — A new poll says 64 per cent of South Bruce residents would vote against plans to bury Canada’s high-level nuclear waste under their municipality.
The poll, commissioned by a citizen’s group against the planned project, says 64 per cent of the 284 respondents feel somewhat or very informed about the project.
“As an organization, we feel South Bruce residents are informed, and it sounds like they’re not willing. So, it’s time for the council to listen to residents instead of the Nuclear Waste Management Organization. And maybe, it’s time for the NWMO to go home,” says Michelle Stein of Protect our Waterways-No Nuclear Waste.
But another citizen’s group in favour of the project to move forward isn’t putting a lot of stock in the numbers.
“Last council meeting our Willing to Listen group submitted a letter to council with 300 names of support for the project, which is more than they had respondents to their whole survey. So, I definitely don’t put a lot of weight into their statement of the community not being willing,” says Sheila Whytock, of the Willing to Listen citizens’ group.
The Nuclear Waste Management Organization (NWMO) is looking for a permanent for Canada’s used nuclear fuel. South Bruce and Ignace, Ont. are the final communities in the running to host the underground facility to house five million used nuclear fuel bundles.
On Monday, they were also selected to find solutions for over 200,000 cubic metres of Canada’s low- and intermediate-level nuclear waste. Plans to bury Ontario’s share of that waste near the shores of Lake Huron were scuttled by the Saugeen Ojibway Nation in January.
“The new work we’ve been tasked with by Enercan is not a siting exercise. We’ve been asked to engage with people on the long-term storage of low- and intermediate-level nuclear waste, and the process will focus on how this material should be stored, and not where,” says Becky Smith, of the NWMO.
Now that the NWMO is trying to find solutions for all of Canada’s nuclear waste, Michelle Stein is worried that, if South Bruce becomes home to Canada’s used nuclear fuel, it might end up with all of the country’s nuclear waste.
“If we say yes, what have we opened the door up to? At what point in time do we not have any say anymore,” she says.
The NWMO plans to pick between South Bruce and Ignace to house Canada’s high-level nuclear waste by 2023. No timetable has been given to find a solution to Canada’s low- and intermediate-level nuclear material.