Sham Regulation of Radioactive Waste in Canada

Briefing for Media and MP’s: Sham Regulation of Radioactive Waste in Canada. // Briefing pour les Média et les Députés: Simulacre de Règlement sur les Déchets Radioactifs au Canada

On June 18, 2020, Canada’s nuclear regulatory agency is expected to rubber-stamp a suite of controversial “regulatory documents” on radioactive waste. The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) has denied a request by leading public interest organizations to comment at the Commission’s virtual meeting.

This approval would pave the way for several controversial nuclear waste disposal projects to move forward, including a giant mound at Chalk River Ontario and two entombments of shut-down reactors which are all currently under review by the CNSC, and a proposed deep geological repository for the burial of high level nuclear fuel waste.

In advance of the CNSC meeting, leading public interest organizations provided a one-hour, bilingual briefing session for parliamentarians and the media on Tuesday, June 16th.

Speakers from the Canadian Environmental Law Association and three other Canadian NGOs provided a concise analysis of how the five “Regulatory Documents” fail to meet international standards for nuclear waste regulation and could create unacceptable risks for Canadians and the environment. The groups are asking that the Commission not approve the draft documents until the Government has completed its pending review of radioactive waste policy and strategy in consultation with the public and Indigenous peoples. With no Parliamentary oversight, these five documents will entrench weak rules for Canada’s future management of radioactive wastes.

The proposed regulatory documents are industry-friendly and largely leave decisions about risks in industry hands. The five documents deal with the management of radioactive wastes, the characterization of potential sites for a deep geological repository for (the burial of) radioactive wastes, safety assessments for the long term management of radioactive wastes, decommissioning of nuclear facilities, and financing for decommissioning.

The slideshow from the session is available here and the full recording is below:

Additional Resources:

Op Ed: Des déchets radioactifs de faible activité / It’s Only Low Level Radioactive Waste! – Gilles Provost, Le Devoir, le 13 juin, 2020 (in French and English versions)

Opinion:  Proposed radioactive waste disposal rules are weak and industry-friendly – Dr. Ole Hendrickson, The Hill Times, JUNE 12, 2020

Déchets nucléaires: des associations s’inquiètent de changements réglementaires – La Presse, June 15, 2020

French resources that summarizes the situation in Canada for nuclear waste
Situation des déchets nucléaires au Canada

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