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.
We all know by now that the DGR project, if it goes ahead, will bring significant economic development to our area, as the NWMO spends tens of billions of dollars over a number of decades, building and operating the facility. As a rising tide raises all ships, all the surrounding communities, including our local Indigenous communities, are likely to see economic benefit, flowing from the hundreds of good jobs and local investments the project will create.
But the thing I find the most hopeful about the DGR project is that it’s the right thing to do for our land and water. Here on the shores of Lake Huron, we are blessed with an abundance of clean, life-giving fresh water, and all of us have a sacred duty to protect it, not just for ourselves, our children and grandchildren, but for seven generations and beyond. That’s exactly what the DGR project is intended to accomplish. Nuclear spent fuel will be toxic for a very long time – essentially forever. The DGR project, if it proceeds, will take spent fuel out of the hands of fallible human beings, and our fragile industrial and societal structures, and entrust it back to the Earth, securely sealing it in the Earth’s crust, where it will remain to the end of time. This is an environmental protection project, with the sole purpose of ensuring that this nuclear waste never enters the biosphere, and never pollutes beautiful Lake Huron or the surrounding land and water systems.
Here in Bruce County, prior generations have accomplished great things, including the construction of the world’s largest nuclear power facility. Thanks to Bruce Nuclear, and its sister stations at Pickering and Darlington, Ontario enjoys a power grid that is considered “deeply decarbonized”, the standard to which all nations and regions in the developed world now aspire. We now have the opportunity to complete that mission, by safely and permanently storing the spent fuel, and we may just get the chance to do it right here, in South Bruce.
We are strong, capable, resilient people. We are intelligent people who learn from the errors of the past, learn new ways, adopt new technologies, start new businesses, and make new relationships. Despite our failings and conflicts, I believe we are sensitive, community-minded people, with a history of caring for one another when in need. Together we can do great things, and we can do them in a way that is good for all of our neighbours. This indeed is a season of hope.
Tony Zettel, RR5 Mildmay