The CMM opposes the project for a nuclear waste storage facility

The CMM opposes the project for a nuclear waste storage facility

The Montreal Metropolitan Community (CMM) opposes the proposed construction of an above-ground nuclear waste management facility at the Chalk River site, which involves the construction of Canada‘s first permanent nuclear waste repository, near the Ottawa River.

According to the organization, the construction and operation of a nuclear waste management facility in this sector is likely to threaten the source of drinking water supply for a large proportion of the citizens of Greater Montreal as well as many communities. aquatic and humid. Risks of contamination are associated with these operations in the event of leakage from the deposit.

“Today, we need to find a solution for the safe storage of this waste for decades, even thousands of years. It is impossible for us to predict how the social, economic and climatic conditions will be during this period,” explains Maja Vodanovic, head of water infrastructure on the executive committee of the City of Montreal.

It was during a public hearing at the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission regarding the regulatory review of the Chalk River project that the CMM presented its main concerns in a brief. This was presented by Mrs Vodanovic. Even if the current formula is not suitable, the head of water infrastructure points out that since the presentation of the project in 2017, the project itself has been improved, because storage will now have to be restricted to “low-level radioactivity waste “.

Faced with these concerns, MWC commissioned a second expert report from the Association for Radioactivity Control in the West (ACRO), a group of specialists independently overseeing the environmental impacts of nuclear activities.

“If the commission approves the project despite the reservations of the CMM, the community recommends that it be revised so that it responds to the 23 recommendations of the brief,” said Ms. Vodanovic, pointing to the brief presented during the public hearing.

Water belongs to everyone. Neither the LNC [Laboratoires nucléaires canadiens] nor the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission can assume the right to risk contaminating the Ottawa River and wetlands.

Lucie Massé, spokesperson for Action Environnement Basses-Laurentides

Increased risks

Remember that if the project sees the light of day, the radioactive materials present on the Chalk River site will be stored there with other waste for 50 years. The deposit itself will have to be supervised for a period of 500 years. The problem is that the landfill in which they would be located could deteriorate in just a few hundred years.

Among the nuclear waste that would end up in the dump is cobalt-60, a highly radioactive isotope. The substance alone would be responsible for 98% of the site’s radioactivity. The substance’s gamma radiation is so intense that to contain it, a lead-shielded structure is required.

If the project is approved, the dump would be built in three years. A period of 30 years would then be used to cap and then close the dump.

The Canadian Nuclear Laboratories (CNL), which manages the Chalk River facilities, believe that the construction of a dump is necessary. Without this facility, they will no longer have the means to manage the volumes of waste they generate.

Remember that the CMM brings together 82 municipalities in the greater Montreal area where four million citizens live, or half of the population of Quebec. On its territory, the CMM is responsible for intervening in land use planning and the environment.

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