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McGuinty's Environmental Negligence

by The Canadian Editorial Staff

 
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The McGuinty government should expect political fights across Ontario if it supports the continued production of nuclear waste and accepts the recommendation of a federal agency to possibly bury waste in Ontario, says Nuclear Waste Watch, a coalition of Canadian environmental groups.

"The mayors of all the major centres in Northern Ontario have said 'no' to nuclear waste dumping. And now the cities of North Bay and Temiskaming Shores have rejected the transport of nuclear waste through their communities. Opposition will only grow if northern Ontario is selected as a nuclear dump for Southern Ontario," said Brennain Lloyd, Coordinator of Northwatch, a coalition of environmental and social justice groups in northeastern Ontario.

The environmental groups released a report card and background paper on the Nuclear Waste Management Organization's (NWMO) recommendation to bury nuclear waste in deep rock formations. After being given a 2002 mandate by the federal government to recommend a Canadian option for the long term management of radioactive waste, the NWMO has released a draft plan spanning 300 years and costing $24 billion to bury Canada's high-level nuclear waste in either Quebec, Ontario or Saskatchewan.

"The NWMO gets a failing grade for refusing to support nuclear phase-out. If we don't shut our nuclear reactors down, Ontario communities are doomed to the perpetual production and transportation of radioactive waste. Nobody wants radioactive waste in their backyard or on their roads," said Dave Martin, Energy Coordinator for Greenpeace.

"Premier McGuinty said that Ontario 'would have its say' if it was selected for a radioactive waste dump. It's hypocritical for him to consider adding to the problem by building new nuclear plants."

Similarly, Ontario Northern Affairs Minister Bartollucci has said that northerners will 'raise hell' if the federal government tries to dump nuclear waste in Northern Ontario, and made it clear in a letter to the NWMO that he is opposed to any such scheme.

Dalton McGuinty  

"More nuclear waste means more nuclear transport, and means more nuclear fights in Ontario communities." said Dr. Gordon Edwards, President of the Canadian Coalition for Nuclear Responsibility. " Premier McGuinty can limit the damage only by investing in cleaner, cheaper and safer renewable energy."

Any socially acceptable nuclear waste strategy, environmentalists say, depends on stopping nuclear waste production by phasing out Canada's 20 nuclear reactors. Without $17 billion or more in subsidies, all of Ontario's 20 nuclear reactors will be forced to close by 2020. The environmental groups say that deadline should be adopted now to halt the production of nuclear waste.

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